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CrimDefense, CriminalDefenseAtty
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23417
Experience:  9+ years defending Misdemeanor and Felony cases.
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i was caught shoplifting today at a JC penny in PG county MD,

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i was caught shoplifting today at a JC penny in PG county MD, i just want to do and what to expect please, this is my first offense and the total of the shoplifted item was $60

Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.

Good evening. I certainly understand your concern. As a first time offender, you could inquire from the court, at your first appearance, about entering into the diversion program. It normally requires you to stay out of trouble for a period of time, perform community service, pay fines/costs and possible enroll of a shoplifters prevention class. If you do everything that is asked of you, the case will be dismissed and your record will be clean. You have to wait until your court date and enroll in it then, so right now, you just want to stay out of trouble and not pick up any new charges.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Do i need to hire a defense lawyer? i am a student and really can't afford it, can i trust a public defense attorney on this?

No, it is not required that you retain a private attorney and if you are going to enter into the diversion program, do not necessarily need one. You can always ask to be appointed the public defender, if needed. This would also be something which you ask about, at your first appearance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

so you're saying i can request a diversion program on my own without the aid of an attorney?

Yes, that is correct. When you appear in court, wait for your case to be called. It would be at that time, that you can ask about the diversion program, unless it is something that is offered and spoken about by the prosecutor, prior to the Judge taking the bench.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

please what is the proper way to ask for this?

When you appear in court, you will wait for your case to be called. When it is, you will walk up and advise the Judge and State that you would like to enter into the courts diversion program, as you would like a chance to get the case dismissed and keep it off your record.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

is there any chance that i might be denied the diversion program?

It is at the discretion of the State but for a first time offender, in your position, there should really be no reason that they are unwilling to offer it.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Does requesting for a diversion program require me to plead guilty or not guilty, if yes, how should i plead?

That is something which the State will advise you on. Sometimes, you do not enter any plea, since they defer prosecution, until the end of the program. Other times, they will require a guilty plea and stay the imposition of the sentence, until they know you completed the program. You will be informed in court, about this.

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