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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23530
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I am 29 years old. I got arrested $50 worth of clothes from

Customer Question

I am 29 years old. I got arrested for stealing $50 worth of clothes from Macy's and got a ticket for petty larceny where I have to go to court. I got arrested 3 times in the past. Once 12 years ago for grand larceny. Once 10 years ago for second degree burglary and again 10 years ago for possession of marijuana. The first two arrests have been sealed due to youthful offender. I dont want to get anything on my record for this. How can I get this dismissed or get an ROR or do a STOPLIFT class or something so I don't need to be on probation or have a record
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. I'm reviewing your question now. Are you online at this time?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Yea
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 months ago.

Given the amount of time since your last encounter with the criminal justice system, the DA may be willing to reduce the charge from a petit larceny to a disorderly conduct or trespass as a violation. A lawyer could likely negotiate that for you.

In that way, you could plead guilty to a violation and not a crime, and it would be automatically sealed after the statutory period so that the violation would not appear on your RAP sheet.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Do you know what the statutory period is for this? And do you know the average cost of a lawyer to take care of something like this
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 months ago.

If you were sentenced to a fine, you can ask the judge if he'd seal it upon payment. Otherwise, it would seal after a year. During that year, it would show as a conviction, but it would still be to a violation and not a crime.

It shouldn't be too expensive to have a lawyer negotiate a deal because he or she wouldn't have to come back more than two or three times to do it. Figure less than $1,500.

What you might want to do is to show up to court without a lawyer and just plead not guilty and see what the People's offer is. In my experience, if this were a first arrest, you'd be offered a violation and a conditional discharge. Given how long ago you were last in trouble, the DA may offer you the violation anyway.

Then you could take the deal if you wanted, without having to hire a lawyer. If the DA won't go below a misdemeanor, you can turn it down and just ask the court for a continuance to come back with a lawyer.

You can get a better ballpark estimate by contacting the NY State Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
If I show up without a lawyer and she doesn't go less than a misdemeanor, I'm allowed to say I'm gonna come back with a lawyer?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 months ago.

Yes. You are never required to take a plea you don't want. And as a criminal defendant you have the right to be represented by counsel. So if it doesn't go your way if you try to get the violation yourself, you can ask for an adjournment to come back with a lawyer. The judge will grant it.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Is that going to look bad or have an affect on the outcome? Or is that the same as just going with a lawyer to begin with
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 months ago.

If you can afford a lawyer it's best to retain him early. He may be cut this deal for you and have it in the bag before your court date, so that all you do is show up and resolve your case.

If you are indigent, you can go in without a lawyer, plead not guilty and ask for a public defender to be appointed. The case will be put over to a new date for you to meet your lawyer who can negotiate a deal.

It does not look bad that you show up the first time without a lawyer and then ask to bring one when you can't negotiate what you want for yourself.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 5 months ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.