Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
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Good morning. I certainly understand your concern. If convicted of this, you could face informal probation, up to six months in a county jail, and/or a maximum $1,000 fine. These are the maximum penalties which can be imposed and as a first time offender, it is highly unlikely that you would be sent to jail. Probation, is anything, is a greater possibility but since it is your first offense, you are likely to be eligible to enter into a diversion program, offered by the court. If you are interested in having the charges dismissed and keeping your record clean, you can ask for this when you appear on Monday. It often requires you staying out of trouble for 3-6 months, paying a fine/costs, community service and possible taking a shoplifters awareness class. If you do everything that is required, the State normally dismissed the charges. Of course, you have every legal right to fight this and take the case to trial, making the State prove the charges against you, beyond a reasonable doubt. You can also work out a plea deal with the State, if you think that would be in your best interest and avoid having to go through the diversion program, but this would result in it appearing on your record.
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