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Is your case now over? How did it end?
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.
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.