Hello, If your record is a clean one, which it seems to be, you should be able to come out of this without a criminal record
. There are diversion types of programs for which you would be eligible, whereby you would agree to be supervised by the department of probation. During that time you'd pay fines, do some community service, possibly take anti-shoplifting classes, and stay out of further difficulty with the law. If you accomplish all of that successfully, your case would be dismissed and you would not have to carry a conviction around on your record. There are easier and quicker ways to resolve this. You could plead guilty or no contest and pay a fine, for example. But then you would have a misdemeanor theft
conviction on your record, which can hinder you both personally and professionally. Future employers, for example, tend not to want to hire people who steal, even on a misdemeanor level. So it's worth the time and trouble to go through the supervision and special conditions to avoid a conviction in the first place. Although a diversion type of disposition is one for which you would be eligible, and although it is a typical solution for this type of a case, it may have to be negotiated for you. That's because if the prosecutor doesn't agree to it, you can't get it. Therefore it's best that if you can afford a lawyer, have him with you on your first court
date to help you dispose of the case in this or some other way that keeps your record clean. If you're unable to afford a lawyer, you can just plead not guilty to the charges and ask the court for a public defender.