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I got a shoplifting misdameanor and am facing a court date soon, will I need a lawyer? I faced no jail time. Can I get this expunged? How so?

1 Answers. Asked on Apr 08th, 2012 on Criminal Law - California
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Hello, I recently got a shoplifting misdameanor. I did no jail time but have a court date in may. I want to plead guilty and just get probation or whatever, should I hire a lawyer for that? I can''t really afford a lawyer so should I get the free one appointed to me? Also, after the court date and say I get probation/community service, how can I get this misdameanor expunged? That''s the most important part for me. If and how can I get it expunged and how long will it take? Will I need a lawyer?
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Answered on Apr 17th, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Generally, for a first time petty theft or shoplifting charge, you will pay a fine and most likely receive 3 years informal probation. After probation has successfully been completed, you can file documents to expunge your record. Once that is done, you can lawfully state you have not been convicted of a crime. However, even if expunged, if you get another theft charge, the first one (even though expunged) will still count as a first time conviction which would make the next one a second conviction with more severe penalties. You can ask the Judge to give you an indicated sentence, which means he/she will tell you what he will do if you plead guilty at your first court appearance.

This response is general in nature and should not be considered legal advice.

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