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, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 24946
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
18321761
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Zoey, JD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I was arrested. It's my first offense and I really just want

Customer Question

I was arrested for shoplifting. It's my first offense and I really just want to get it expunged from my record. I can't afford an attorney but I just want this entire situation to go away as if it never happened. I'm not the type of person to do this and I messed up. Is there any way to get this done without an attorney
JA: The Lawyer will need to help you with this. Have you consulted a lawyer yet?
Customer: No
JA: Please tell me everything you can about this issue so the Lawyer can help you best. Is there anything else the Lawyer should be aware of?
Customer: Its my first offense and the items were about $130. I don't want this on my record. I also have a low income and cannot afford a lawyer
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer where you can place your fully refundable $5 deposit (plus $31 after the Lawyer responds). While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Lawyer about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

Is your case now over? How did it end?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was arrested just yesterday the court date is next month and I just want to be prepared for this. I've never done this before and am definately never going to again. I need to know how to get this removed permanently from my record. The officer told me I would most likely have to take a class or do community service which is more then okay with me but I just don't want this on my record
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the reply.

You cannot get anything removed from your record while your case is still pending. However, the officer is correct. With a first arrest misdemeanor shoplifting charge, you will almost certainly be given a special non-incarceratory program which will give you the opportunity to get your case dismissed. You would agree to be supervised -- usually for 6 months -- during which time you must avoid other problems with the law. You will be expected to do some community service, pay fines and attend an anti-shoplifting program. Once all that is behind you, the case will be dismissed and you will not have a conviction on your record.

In some states, that's as good as it gets. That is, the conviction goes away but the arrest and the dismissal would still show on your record. In other states, you would be able to expunge the record of your arrest. If you tell me the state in which you were charged with this offense, I can see what further options you have.

But one way or the other, you should be able to come out of this without a conviction and the conviction would not appear on your record. So when you go to court next month, when you come before the judge and get arraigned on your charges, you can plead NOT GUILTY and ask the judge to appoint you a public defender. The odds are almost 100% that he or she would be able to get you a deal like I described above.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
in IL and when you say supervised...supervised by whom? Will they have to supervise me while I'm at work when I'm home? Is there a way to get out of that because I don't need to be supervised or is that a requirement for these types of cases
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 1 year ago.

Illinois calls this program "court supervision." Nobody follows you around at work. Generally, the department of probation handles such supervision and you may have to report to court or to a probation officer occasionally during the term of your supervisory period.

There are other types of programs that don't involve supervision. I'm sure if you just wanted to pay a fine with a plea to the charge, you could. But then you'd have a conviction on your record. Illinois will not expunge your conviction, so you're better off with the supervision.

You don't, of course, have to take any plea at all. If your lawyer thinks you have a good case, you can fight this all the way to trial and verdict. But if you actually did shoplift, the odds are pretty good that the state would be able to prove it. And if they meet their burden of proof and you are convicted, not only will you have a criminal record, but you can expect to be sentenced to at least some jail time.

Related Legal Questions