How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Zoey_ JD Your Own Question

Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 16832
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Zoey_ JD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I just got charged with concealment of an item under $50. I

Customer Question

I just got charged with concealment of an item under $50. I had the money to pay and told detective I had put it in my purse which was in the shopping cart to keep item from breaking and had intended to pay for item. I have no criminal background - only a charge for serving to a minor during a ABC Sting. What are the consequences?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.
Hello Jacustomer,

This charge is a misdemeanor. I don't know what state you live in (I'm guessing from the name of the offense, North Carolina) but as a general rule, with a first shoplitting charge there are special programs available which will allow a defendant to dispose of his case and come out of it without a criminal record These are special forms of probation that generally include a fine, some community service, an anti-theft class and a period of supervision by the Department of Probation. Comply with all of your sentence requirements, and the judge will then dismiss all of your charges. So essentially, it's an opportunity to work off the conviction to keep your record clean.

They do not have to offer you a diversion or a deferral option. (the names of such programs) and because of the fact that you have a previous charge, it or some other disposition such as a reduction to a civil offense if possible, may have to be negotiated for. Your worst case scenario is probably going to be a plea to the charge and a fine.

You can, of course, choose not to take any plea at all, although the defense that you put the item in your purse for safekeeping is one that the judge likely hears a dozen times or more per week. Even if it is true, unfortunately it may be hard for the trier of fact to believe it.

Jail time is possible on a misdemeanor and while it is completely unlikely, you have rights you need to protect. If you can afford a lawyer, you should have one with you on your first date to see if he can get you out of this mess without a record if at all possible. Otherwise, if you cannot afford to retain one, you should plead NOT guilty when the court reads out your charges and asks you how you plead.. That's what all defendants are supposed to do the first time they are asked, because it's the only plea that keeps all of their rights open. Anything else results in a conviction. After you plead not guilty, you can tell the judge that you are unable to afford to retain a private attorney and ask him for a public defender.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I should have told you I am in the state of Virginia. Also am concerned if my employer will find out as I do not want to loose my job.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.
Hi Jacustomer,

Thanks for the additional information. It really doesn't change the picture. This would be a misdemeanor but Virginia does offer several types of diversion programs. These are agreements that you will get a dismissal if you hold up your end of the bargain your lawyer strikes with the prosecutor. Usually these programs involve what I have already explained above. In some forms of diversion, you would not even have to plead guilty to the offense. There's also an SIS in Virginia (Suspended Imposition of Sentence) in which you do have to take a plea to the charge but the conviction would never be filed if you complete the program successfully, so you would not have a conviction on your record.

I would see no reason for the court to notify your employer of your charges. It's not generally done. And obviously if one of the diversion programs could be negotiated for you, then you would not have a conviction on your background history. And of course, sometimes a lawyer can manage to get a case dismissed outright or reduced to a civil infraction and a fine. It all depends on the facts and circumstances and how strongly the prosecutor feels about the case.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you so much you really eased my mind

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.
Very pleased that I could help.

Good luck with your case.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • Your Expert advise has provided insight on a difficult situation. Thank you so much for the prompt response. I will definitely recommend your website to my friends. Norma Pensacola, FL
< Last | Next >
  • Your Expert advise has provided insight on a difficult situation. Thank you so much for the prompt response. I will definitely recommend your website to my friends. Norma Pensacola, FL
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL

Meet The Experts:

  • Fran L.

    JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor

    Satisfied Customers:

    18 yrs of NYC public defense. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
< Last | Next >
  • Fran L.'s Avatar

    Fran L.

    JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor

    Satisfied Customers:

    18 yrs of NYC public defense. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
  • Ely's Avatar


    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • Nate's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Over 10 years of criminal defense practice.
  • LawTalk's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    30 years legal experience
  • P. Simmons's Avatar

    P. Simmons


    Satisfied Customers:

    16 yrs. of experience including criminal law.
  • Marsha411JD's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Licensed attorney with 27 yrs. exp. in criminal law
  • RobertJDFL's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Experienced in multiple areas of the law.