I was caught shoplifting a few days ago with some friends, they had the luck of being 17. I'm 18 so i got arrested and have a court date. This is my first time getting in any trouble. I hope to get this expunged. Any advice?
4 Answers from Attorneys
Depending upon which county you live in you may be eligible for diversion which means that the case will be dismissed after you do some community service. Otherwise, if you complete your period of probation without any violations you will be eligible for something similar to expungement and an employer will not be able to learn of the conviction.
As a criminal defense attorney and Former Deputy District Attorney for about 25 years, I advice you to seek a private attorney. Even a petty theft can have a huge negative impact on your future. We have had many thefts like yours reduces to trespassing or disturbing the peace. While no law firm can guarantee a future result, you should seek out a law firm you trust to fight for you. I wish you the best ..............David Wallin
Expungement only can be done after conviction, and after at least one year from that conviction.
You should be asking how to defend the charges.
You are always entitled to represent yourself in court. Whether you should is a different issue. The conventional wisdom is that an attorney will be able to do a better job and get a better outcome. Prosecutors and judges donít like dealing with ProPers, unless you are simply pleading guilty, not defending the case.
When charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or statement be used against you, can you be convicted, and what can you do? If you don't know how to represent yourself effectively against an experienced prosecutor intending to convict, then hire an attorney who does, who will try to get a dismissal, charge reduction, diversion, programs, or other decent outcome through motions, plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate.
Your attorney MAY be able to get you into a first offender program that would avoid a conviction on your record.
If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. Iíll be happy to help fight and get the best outcome possible, using whatever defenses and sympathies there may be.
Too bad you were over 18. You're now going to face charges in court that can have huge, lasting impact on you. Your best bet is not an "expungement". An expungement (more correctly a dismissal under Penal Code 1203.4) only happens AFTER a conviction. Instead, your goal, with the help if your lawyer, is to avoid a conviction in the first place if possible. There may be factual defenses, legal defenses or other alternatives.
You need a good criminal defense attorney. I'd strongly suggest you find someone who focuses on criminal law and who routinely practices in the court where this case will be heard.
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