What will happen if I got caught shoplifting $23 worth of stuff? 8 Answers as of September 24, 2013

I'm 17 years old and I got caught shoplifting. I have to go to civil court and criminal court. Will it be on my record?

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Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
Depending on the amount allegedly stolen and the jurisdiction where the event occurred, shoplifting can be met with a mere citation (infraction), or charged as a misdemeanor or even a felony, with possible jail sentences of 6 months to 3 years. It will be up to the D.A. to determine how the crime will be charged.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/24/2013
The Law Office of Carlos H. Davalos
The Law Office of Carlos H. Davalos | Carlos H. Davalos
Yes. Hire an attorney to help keep it off your record.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 9/23/2013
Barton Barton & Plotkin
Barton Barton & Plotkin | Maurice Ross
Hard to predict what will happen. The judge may give you a break if it is a first offense. On the other hand, you could be convicted of a misdemeanor which would leave you with a criminal record. It is vital for you to get a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 9/23/2013
Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
You will likely be looking at a fine, probation and possible jail. Normally, you also have to pay a civil fee. The conviction remains on your record for life. We can help avoid the conviction.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 9/23/2013
Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
It will be on your record. In Washington, you committed a gross misdemeanor with a sentencing range of 364 days in jail and $5,000 fine. As a first offense, you can expect to be sentenced to attend a consumer awareness class, do community service, pay a fine, stay away from the store, pay restitution and be on probation for one year. You will also have to pay a civil fine to the store.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/23/2013
    Ascheman & Smith | Landon Ascheman
    Best thing to do is contact a criminal defense attorney in your area. Often, these charges can be kept off your record, and an attorney can ensure that's the case. Theft is a serious offense that carries consequences of severe jail time and fines. But beyond that, having a Theft on your record can affect you for the rest of your life. Criminal records are viewable by the public. Therefore, any potential employer, landlord, or loan officer can see it and typically it will cause you to be rejected.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/23/2013
    The Rogers Law Firm
    The Rogers Law Firm | Andrea Storey Rogers
    Yes, if you plead guilty to shoplifting, you will have a conviction on your permanent criminal record, which will prevent you from getting a job, renting an apartment, getting federal student loans, etc. At age 17, you are considered an adult in the eyes of the law, so you can't get the shoplifting conviction sealed or expunged (removed) later. You will need to hire an attorney to represent you for this charge. Your attorney can probably get the shoplifting charge dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense, such as Littering. The outcome of your case depends on which court this is being prosecuted in, your criminal history, the details of your case, and whether you hire an experienced attorney. Regarding the civil case against you, if you received a civil demand letter asking for $250, you should ignore that. At this point, you should only deal with the criminal charge in criminal court. If the store actually sues you in civil court, then you can deal with that later, but most stores don't actually follow through and sue shoplifters they just send out threatening letters demanding that you pay money to the store. Right now you don't owe the store anything. If they sue you in civil court and win a judgment against you, then you will owe them money, but the maximum they can win is $250.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 9/23/2013
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    There are a couple of options to keep it off your public record. You may qualify for a diversion program which consists of community service, classes, etc. which is typical for first-time shoplifters. If not, you would qualify for HYTA which upon successful completion of probation, you would not have a public record. Speak with an experienced attorney in your area for more information and for a thorough review of your case and options.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/23/2013
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