If I got caught shoplifting, would it be on my record forever or after how long before I can have it expunged? 11 Answers as of April 25, 2014

I got caught shoplifting on April 23,2014. The item was worth less then $50 dollars. They sent me to the closest police station to get my fingerprint to check if my record was clean. Which it was because it was my first time ever doing something like that. I never got any trouble with police, no tickets, no nothing. I have court on May 14, 2014. The police officer said that it was a misdemeanor and that I should go to court so they could clean everything up. Should I take a lawyer with me? Also would it be forever in my record? Or will it be removed after a period of time? Or can I do anything to remove it? Please have as many suggestions. Thank you.

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Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
Yes it would be on your record FOREVER. Yes, you should take a lawyer and see if something can be worked out so that you end up with no conviction for theft on your record. This is huge. What employer wants to hire a thief?
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 4/25/2014
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
You will have a criminal record, which will follow you forever until you expunge your record. You may petition for an expungment after you completed the terms of your sentence.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 4/24/2014
Law Office of Jared C. Winter
Law Office of Jared C. Winter | Jared C. Winter
You should hire a local criminal defense attorney to represent you in court. A petty theft might not seem like a big deal, but it is a "crime of moral turpitude" and can have lasting effects on your employment prospects. They are even more problematic for non-citizens. An attorney can ensure that you are treated fairly. In fact, for a first time offender, an attorney might be able to help you avoid a conviction. Don't rely on the cop saying the court will "clean it up". That doesn't make any sense at all.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/24/2014
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
Shoplifting items of a value of less than $950.00 is petty theft. Petty theft can be charged as an infraction if the amount stolen is worth $50.00 or less. If over $50.00 but less than $950.00 it is charged as a misdemeanor. However If you have three or more priors for petty theft, the next one can be a felony or a misdemeanor. Infractions are punished by a fine. Misdemeanors are punished by up to one year in the county jail and/or up to a $1,000.00 fine. Felonies are punished by sixteen months, two years, or three years in state prison. The normal punishment for first time petty theft is three years summary probation, a fine, community service, theft classes, and restitution to the victim. Second or third convictions for petty theft normally are the same as for a first conviction. However, it is not unlikely to receive up to 90 days in county jail for the additional convictions. This all depends on the facts of the case. Expungement under California State Penal Code Section 1203.4 is not an eraser of one's criminal record. The plea of guilty or no contest is being withdrawn and a plea of not guilty is being entered, or, if there was a trial, the verdict of guilty is being set aside. In either case, the court is thereafter dismissing the charging document. As noted in the statute, the probationer is, thereafter, "released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted," with certain exceptions. Since the statute says "released from all penalties and disabilities," subject only to those exceptions specifically set forth in the statute. Once an order for relief pursuant to California State Penal Code Section 1203.4 has been granted, the former-probationer can lawfully state that they have not been convicted of the crime when asked on a job application from a private (non-law enforcement) employer. The exceptions, where disclosure is required, are set out in the statute: "the order does not relieve him or she of the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery." This means that if applying for public office, seeking any license from the state (real estate, stockbroker, doctor, lawyer, etc.) , or contracting with the California State Lottery, the conviction must be disclosed (although it can be disclosed as an expunged conviction) . There are certain crimes that are "priorable" , meaning that if arrested for a similar crime in the future, the punishment may be enhanced. For example, petty theft is a misdemeanor. However, petty theft with a three prior theft conviction is a wobbler, meaning it may be punished as a felony or misdemeanor. If someone is arrested for petty theft with three priors, and the prior was expunged, the fact of the expungement will not save the person from being charged as a felony. California Penal Code 1203.4 specifically states that expungement will not have any impact on the use of a DUI conviction as a prior. This means that if DUI conviction number 1 is expunged, and the person is arrested for DUI number 2 (within ten years) , it will be prosecuted as a second-offense DUI, with all the enhanced punishments and penalties, regardless of the expungement of DUI number 1. There are certain offenses for which probation may be granted that prevent that person from lawful gun ownership for a specified period. An expungement will not restore those gun ownership privileges.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/24/2014
LeadfootSpeedingTicket.com | Andrea Storey Rogers
If you plead guilty, you will have a conviction for shoplifting on your permanent criminal record and you can never get it expunged from your record. If you go to court on your own without a lawyer, you will be at the mercy of the judge and prosecutor. If you plead not guilty, the judge will set your case for trial. If you plead guilty, the judge will sentence you. The maximum penalty for misdemeanor shoplifting in Missouri is 1 year in jail and $1,000 fine. If this is in municipal court, the maximum is 6 months in jail and $500 fine. If you hire a lawyer to represent you, the lawyer can probably get the shoplifting charge dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense, such as "Littering." You will have to pay a fine and court costs, but you probably won't have to appear in court. Every court is slightly different in how they deal with shoplifting charges, so you will just have to contact a few lawyers to get price quotes and an estimate of what type of deal they can negotiate for you.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 4/24/2014
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    Yes, if possible take an attorney with you. You need to explore every available avenue to keep this off your record. A misdemeanor theft will remain on your record unless you do something to keep it from going on the record. It is always advisable to try now rather than asking the court to expunge the conviction later.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 4/24/2014
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Retain a lawyer to represent you. Look for one that makes Criminal Defense a substantial part of his practice and has experience in defending shoplifting or retail fraud charges. If you cannot afford an attorney, ask the judge at your arraignment to appoint you one. Most jurisdictions offer diversion programs or other sentencing options that can keep the matter off your public record.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/24/2014
    Barton Barton & Plotkin
    Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
    If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you will have a permanent criminal record. You absolutely must try to avoid this. You need to retain legal counsel to represent you in this matter. Without legal counsel this could turn out badly for you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 4/24/2014
    The Law Office of Greg Hagopian | Greg Hagopian
    Convictions of any sort, be they misdemeanors or felonies, last forever unless you get them expunged. You will be placed on probation for either 3 or 5 years. Once you have competed probation you can file a request with the court to expunge the the conviction under penal code 1203.4. You can apply for early termination of probation once you are more than halfway through if you have a good reason like needing to get a job.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/24/2014
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Best to get a lawyer before court so you can have the charge dismissed. Just contact our office at 402-455-1711 to talk with a lawyer and receive a free, friendly consultation to discuss your matter. We offer this service to help assist you, your needs and help you with your questions or legal problems. Just call now to speak with us and allow us to serve you.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 4/24/2014
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Who is going to clean everything up according to the police officer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 4/24/2014
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