What are the chances of getting shoplifting expunged from a record? 51 Answers as of July 09, 2013

Does a 19 year old with no record need a lawyer for a shoplifting charge of less than $70.00? What are the chances of expungement? Do we need a lawyer so it wont stay on his record?

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Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
He may be able to get an ACOD - adjournment in contemplation of dismissal- which means the case is adjourned, usually for 6 months and if no trouble in that time the case will be dismissed. Since he is under 20 he may qualify for youthful offender treatment which means even if he got convicted instead of an acod the conviction would be vacated and the record sealed.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/31/2011
Anderson Law Office
Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
A lawyer is certainly needed. You may be able to keep it off of his record from the beginning which would make the expungement case moot.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 9/28/2011
Law Offices of John Carney
Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
Your summary states that you stole a $70 item and it is your first offense. I can get the charge dismissed most of the time if it is your first offense.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 9/2/2011
Michael J. Gardiner, Attorney at Law | Michael Gardiner
You should have a lawyer. Is it possible you can get through on your won?
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 7/9/2013
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
Thank you for your inquiry From your description, if this is the only matter on your record and there have been 5 years since the incident, then you may qualify for an expungement. You should consider hiring an attorney to get you through the process. It needs to be conducted in the court where the original case was heard. In District Court, the entire process should be completed for less than $1,000. If your original case was in Macomb, Wayne or Oakland Counties, you may contact this office for an appointment. I hope that this was helpful.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/1/2011
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    My first advice would be to obtain an attorney to assist you with this matter. You may be eligible to expunge that prior conviction. However, you'll probably have to wait a few years first. Expunging a crime in Michigan is complicated. This response does not contain specific legal advice. If you need specific legal advice for your own circumstances, I recommend consulting with an attorney experienced with these types of matters. Most attorneys provide free initial consultations. Speaking in general terms, there are several significant obstacles to getting offenses expunged in Michigan. Expunging a criminal charge is great way of clearing up past mistakes. However, there are a series of obstacles. First, an applicant must only have one, single, count or charge, whether it's a misdemeanor or felony. If a person has more than one conviction on their record, whether it was multiple counts from the original case, or separate convictions, they are not eligible. Second, certain offenses cannot be expunged. Traffic offenses for example, even something as simple as driving on a suspended license, a lot of high level or capital felonies, and other offenses as listed in the applicable statutes, cannot be expunged. It depends on which offense is currently on the person's record. Additionally, even if a person only had one offense, if they had issues with probation, i.e., probation violations or other infractions while serving their sentence, that may be obstacle as well. There is also a time limitation. Any effort to expunge an offense cannot commence until five years after the date of conviction. Lastly, expunging an offense from a criminal record takes time, requires a lot of paperwork, carries some notable costs, and eventually, applicants need to appear before a judge and convince the judge that they are worthy of having the offense expunged in order to complete the process.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    The case can only be expunged if it was dismissed or result in a not guilty after a trial (or if the person was charged with a Class C & got deferred disposition or deferred prosecution - the equivalent of a reset.) If so, the person does need to hire a lawyer because the process is complicated and involves filing a lawsuit in civil district court. If the person got a deferred adjudication probation for a Class B (which would be the proper charge based on the amount) and successfully served it out, then they are eligible to apply for nondisclosure (sealing of the record.) It is best to use a lawyer for this effort because it is not guaranteed.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/31/2011
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC | Jeffery A. Cojocar
    Yes you need a lawyer and we can keep it off of his record.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/9/2013
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law
    Kevin Smith, Attorney at Law | Kevin Smith
    If the charges are still pending, then yes you should hire an attorney as he or she may be able to get the charges disposed of without it resulting in any sort of criminal record. On the other hand, if the case has already been disposed of and the person has a conviction for the shoplifting (likely a larceny 6th degree), then he or she would need to wait three years before applying for a full pardon, although a provisional pardon could be applied for now. It would be best to hire an attorney to handle the pardon process.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    If it was a misdemeanor and all the probation requirements an expungement should be available. You can do this yourself. However, an attorney would greatly help.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    There must be a conviction in order for there to be a record to be expunged. Based on your question and this response to your question, it seems obvious that you need a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    You should get a lawyer. If he just pleads guilty, the charge will be on his record forever. Many jurisdictions have pre-trial diversion programs that could lead to a dismissal and expungement, but you must know how to get into these programs.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Office of Hieu Vu
    Law Office of Hieu Vu | Hieu N Vu
    It is possible to get that dismissed pursuant to 1203.4 which some people call expungement. I'd like to know which stage of the process the 19 year old in? Has the case been disposed yet? He/She may be eligible for some kind of diversion program. Where they will dismiss the case if he/she is on good behavior. I'd have to know more facts to advise. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Whether or not the person is convicted will depend on whether the prosecutor can prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, after 5 years a motion could be made to expunge it from the record provided there are no other charges on the person's record.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    In Nebraska you cannot get an expungment on a criminal conviction. You need a lawyer to get the matter into diversion to avoid the conviction.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    Each county has a different procedure and it can be done with or without an attorney. Unless you have violated your probation at some point, it appears that you are entitled to an expungement. Going through an attorney is not necessary in your case. An attorney would likely seek the route of a formal motion before the court which also could be done much sooner than the administrative way. Costs vary with attorney to attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    Alabama does not have an expungement statute.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Yes get a lawyer. They often can work out something where if the person does everything the court wants and stays out of further trouble the matter ends up not being on the record. DO NOT PLEAD GUILTY RIGHT AWAY you lose all bargaining power.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    A misdemeanor can be expunged three years after completion of all conditions of the sentence. You do not need a lawyer to do this, but it may be easier to do so with one. j
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers
    Expert Bronx Criminal Lawyers | Alexander Sanchez
    You should defintely get a lawyer to protect your interests. Since you are 19 years of age, you missed being treated as a youthful offender (18 years and under), which would have sealed your record. However, since the amount stolen was worth $70.00 you still have a chance to have the charges reduced to a non-criminal offense (violation), and have the records sealed after one year. Advice; Hire a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Benari Law Firm
    Benari Law Firm | Arik T. Benari
    If you want to have the best chance of the case going the right way and keeping it off his record, then you better believe a good criminal defense lawyer can help.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    He will probably just get a fine - assuming this is charged as a misdemeanor. But expungement does NOT wipe his record clean. It just allows him to say he was never convicted. However, any employer can get his police record. Most employers today ask you to sign a waiver to let them get the record. A kid with a record of theft will have trouble getting a job. In this cse you might justconsider hiring a lawyer in the hope that he can get the DA to drop the charges.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    August 29, 2011 At the present time there is no expungement law in the State of Alabama. A conviction for theft of property third is a permanent record and could be with your son for the rest of his life. The fact that he is under the age of 21 means that he may qualify for youthful offender status. If granted YO there would be no misdemeanor conviction only a YO adjudication and his record would remain clean.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Offices of David L. Smith
    Law Offices of David L. Smith | David Lee Smith
    Shplifting $70.00 should be a misdemeanor.In either case, after successful completion of the probation period you can get the expungement form from the clerk's office and pay the fee.The court will grant the 1203.4 expungement.READ THE ORDER CAREFULLY for the rules of when you have to disclose the crime and when you don't.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Fabian & Associates, Inc.
    Fabian & Associates, Inc. | Stephen G. Fabian, Jr.
    Unless you are a lawyer, I would always suggest that you hire a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Law Offices of Karen Kilpatrick
    Law Offices of Karen Kilpatrick | Karen Kilpatrick
    Chances are he will be offered a pre-trial diversion program. If that's the case, upon completion of the program, charges will be dismissed and he would be able to have the record expunged.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/30/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    It is always advisable for your son to be represented before entering a plea in this criminal case. There are several possible dispositions which will enable your son to expunge this arrest later on in life, so it does not follow him the rest of his life. Worry about the criminal case first, and think about the expungement later.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Yes. You must have a lawyer. There is no expungement in New York State. Depending on the plea bargaining guidelines of the local prosecutor you may indeed end up with no criminal record. Yes, you will need a lawyer to get that disposition.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    In Colorado only a case that has been completely dismissed can be sealed, and some drug related offenses. So if you had a 'deferred judgment and sentence' in the shoplifting case, successfully completed it and the case was dismissed then you can likely petition to seal it. If you were not placed on a deferred sentence, but just straight probation, you likely cannot seal it.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Expungements are only allowed by statute where there has been a determination in your favor. That means, ultimately, the charges must have been dismissed. If that occurred, you may erase any and all court or administrative records. If not, you would not qualify for a statutory expungement.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    You do not say whether or not you have already been convicted. When you use the word "expunged" it implies that you have already been convicted, otherwise there would be no reason to have it removed from your record because until conviction, it is not a part of your criminal record. Assuming that you are in the early stages prior to conviction, a couple of points you need to carefully consider. First is age. At 19, you are an adult. Then you attempt to minimize the crime by saying that the amount stolen was less than $70.00. This is relevant only to the extent that it is not to the level to make it a felony. Shoplifting is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. Will you get jail time? It depends upon the facts of the case and your record. Can you keep this off your record by not hiring an attorney? Probably not, as there are many different scenarios and plea agreements that might be had, but you need an attorney to help you through this. You should also consider using an attorney for other, probably more far reaching reasons. You say you are 19. Assuming you are going to college, a conviction could prevent you from attending many colleges and eliminate you from scholarships and grants. If you are already in college, and receiving scholarship money, you could loose your scholarship. A theft conviction (shoplift) could also disqualify you from many job opportunities, especially any job where you might be handling money. Theft/shoplifting is a crime of dishonesty. Think about it. Representing yourself in court is like operating on your self. If you want any chance of getting through this, hire an attorney. 19 is a little young to have a theft conviction on your record.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    First of all, expungement is what happens "after" a conviction, and only after you have completed probation (which could be many years from now). Secondly, you definitely need a lawyer to try to reduce or dismiss the charge. Remember, petty theft is a crime of moral turpitude, so you if you have it on your record you can say goodbye to any kind of meaningful employment for the next 10 plus years of your life.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Gigstad Law Office LLC
    Gigstad Law Office LLC | Robert Gigstad
    On a charge like this if you are convicted it could be expunged from your record after 3 years. Most misdemeanors can be expunged from your record after 3 years. I would recommend hiring an attorney if you have not been to court yet. Your goal should be to keep this off your record if at all possible, which would mean not getting convicted of the charge of shoplifting to start out with. You have options besides just pleading guilty, I would recommend you talk to an attorney in your area as soon as you can.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    First let's get some terms straight. An "expungement" (California doesn't have a true expungement law, but a dismissal that everybody calls an expungement) happens only after a conviction and successfully completing probation. Your goal should be to avoid a conviction if at all possible. Will that be possible without an attorney? Probably not. Either look for a local criminal defense attorney or apply for the public defender when you go to court. Because the dollar amount is over $50, it's over the infraction level and you're looking at a misdemeanor petty theft charge. I'm sure you're aware that it's nothing to mess around with. It's time for a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    John Segelbaum, P.S.
    John Segelbaum, P.S. | John Segelbaum
    You definitely need an attorney. You must avoid a criminal conviction in order to get your record expunged. Shoplifting charges can often be dismissed pursuant to the compromise of misdemeanor statute. Then once it is dismissed, you can have it expunged from your record after going three years without any new arrest or charges. You will need an attorney to do all of this.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Office of Robert L Keates, PLLC
    Law Office of Robert L Keates, PLLC | Robert Keates
    The first step to ensure an Expunction is to secure a dismissal on the actual case. Over $50 for a theft is typically a Class B, so I would suggest hiring an attorney to ensure there is a dismissal on the Theft case and to then work on the Expunction after the waiting period (SOL).
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    There are two things going on here. One is the charge itself, the other is the CORI (Criminal Offender's Record Information). The charge itself is minor and the maximum sentence for a 1st offense shoplifting charge is no more than a fine. However, even though it is minor, it will create a record for him/her. There is no guarantee that an attorney will be able to get the charge dealt with without creating a record, but there is a far better chance with an attorney involved than without one. Personally, I would never go to court without an attorney nor would I advise a close relative or friend to allow their child to go to court without an attorney. The money that you save today will be long forgotten while that record stays with the defendant for life. Lawyer's aren't cheap, but they are usually worth it.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    You are eligible to apply for an expungement as long as five years has passed since either the date of the conviction or the day you were released from incarceration (whichever is latter) and you have no other convictions of any kind on your record including misdemeanors and juvenile adjudications. You can do the expungement on your own and many people have. It is mostly a lot of paperwork, getting fingerprinted, getting the proper documents and the proper amount of copies sent off to the correct agencies, etc. If you can follow directions and don't mind doing a lot of paperwork and mailing, then you should be able to do it. However, the one incident where I do tell people they should hire an attorney is if/when the prosecutor objects to your expungement. They can do this although it is rare but not unheard of. If that happens, you definitely need to hire an attorney. A lot of people retain an attorney simply because they don't want to mess with all the work and it gives them the satisfaction that it will be done properly. If the peace of mind is worth the extra cost of hiring a lawyer, then by all means do so.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Office of Barry Melton
    Law Office of Barry Melton | Barry Melton
    I'm not sure whether or not you're asking if you need a lawyer to defend the charge, or if you need a lawyer to handle an expungement matter. The fact is what is commonly known as "expungement" (relief pursuant to California Penal Code section 1203.4 or section 1203.4a) is never a complete remedy in the Internet age. For example, data mining companies maintain records of criminal charges even after they have been dismissed, and the charge remains on the record kept within the criminal justice system (it can be used as a "prior" to elevate a subsequent theft charge to a felony, even if dismissed). If the charge is still outstanding, get a lawyer to defend it! Maybe the lawyer can have the charge dismissed or diverted. Having a theft charge even an "expunged" theft charge can have terrible consequences; and it can have a particularly adverse consequence on future employment prospects. If the conviction has already been entered and "expungement" is sought, there is a mandatory one-year waiting period from the date of conviction.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Grant & Grant
    Grant & Grant | Richard L. Grant, Esq.
    I have handle a significant number of petty theft cases, similar to this matter, where I have had each and every first offender theft dismissed upon taking a human behavioral class. However, every case is different, and at this time I can not guarantee a dismissal. A further evaluation of this matter would be required. It is highly recommend that you hire an attorney to proceed to have the Misdemeanor case dismissed and thereafter file a motion for expungement.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Expungement happens 5 years after a conviction and is not the way to go. Yes, having a lawyer can certainly help to keep the conviction off his record.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    New York does not expunge records. However, a good lawyer can get something that will lead to dismissal and sealing. In addition, if its just shoplifting, it's a misdemeanor, not a felony. If it's a felony, that means force was used and the charge is robbery.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    The best way for a person to avoid a conviction on their record is to try to have the case put into a Diversion program if the County where the charge occurred offers such a program. Then if the program is completed successfully, the charge can be expunged. Otherwise, a disposition as a petty misdemeanor or if it is sentenced as a Stay of Adjudication also allow the person to avoid a conviction. However, dispostions in this manner do not qualify automatically or expungement. One could still be obtained, but current caselaw provides limited circumstances where a judge may grant it. As for having an attorney, while some people choose to represent themselves on similar matters, the best way to protect your rights and interests is to be represented by a competent attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    A lawyer can help. The key is to get a disposition called a "deferred judgment." After the period of deferment is over, his record can be sealed.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Mark C. Cogan Law Offices | Mark Cogan
    Anyone facing a criminal charge would be smart to have a criminal defense attorney on board. There is much that a savvy attorney can do.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    In theory, if the individual qualifies to have the conviction vacated and dismissed he or she can accomplish this if he or she is reasonably intelligent, persistent and can follow directions. Directions can be downloaded from the Washington Courts website as can all the necessary forms.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/2/2011
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
    Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
    You may get an offer to plead guilty which may include a theft class. If the attendance of the class dismisses your case, there is no need for an expungement. If not, you will be eligible for an expungement after you have successfully completed the terms of your probation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/29/2011
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