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Barrister, Criminal Defense Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 37853
Experience:  16 years practicing criminal defense.
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Dear Legal Counsel, Our daughter a sophomore in college

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Dear Legal Counsel,

Our daughter a sophomore in college was caught shoplifting in Bellingham, WA at a Kohls department store. Too embarrassed to consult with us she attended court pleaded guilty (the public defender advised her to plead guilty) and was given a $400 fine, one year probation and 8 hours of community service. The Kohls department store send a bill for $225 which was paid. She was told the case would be dismissed after one year if she did not get in trouble. This is her first offense, she's a top student. She made a foolish mistake. Our main concern is a permanent criminal record. She's planning to attend graduate school, we're worried about background checks for future employment. What are the best steps to deal with this situation. Appreciate your advise.



It sounds like she was granted "diversion" which is a program that allows the person to plead guilty initially, pay and court costs/fees/fines and then do some community service while being on probation. After succesful completion of the CS, probation and if she has no further criminal incidents within that probation period, she goes back to court and they withdraw her guilty plea and dismiss the charge.


Once the charge is dismissed, she can file a petition for expungement after 2 years. This is an action that will erase the charge as if it never happened. She needs to do this because the charge will still show up as dismissed on a criminal records check until it is expunged.





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