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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27749
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Did you have a crimiinal law question or is this a mistake? Use the reply link if you have a question, and I can try to assist you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
yes, is there a difference in a citation for petty theft or a arrest for petty theft and what is the procedure/

Citations are given out to first offenders on low level criminal offenses. They have the same force and effect as an arrest. That is, even though you have not been and won't be physically taken into custody, you are made aware that you are the defendant on a criminal case, and you are mandated to show up in court on the date of the citation. Usually, but not always, the date is several weeks away.

When someone has previous convictions, or if someone is from out of town and the police feel he might warrant if not taken into custody, or if someone has failed to keep his court dates in the past, the police will physically make an arrest. That person will come before the judge quickly because he is incarcerated -- in most places within 48 hours. Then he will be arraigned and he will be either released on his own recognizance from there or bail will be set.

If both people here were facing petty larceny charges, they would be facing the same range of possible penalties, but the person who is incarcerated will probably not get as favorable of a deal. A first arrest who's been cited, on the other hand, should be able to get a diversion program or deferred adjudication -- special types of programs which will enable him to work off his conviction during the course of special probation, after which his matter will be dismissed.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
is it necessary to have an attoney rep. you?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
what procedure do you have to go thru? and is the fine very expensive.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
can you reccommend how to get any special program or a deferred adjudication?

Criminal cases can have lifetime consequences. It's always wise to have a lawyer. If you don't know all your rights and everything that could and/or should be available to you, you may end up making an unwise decision for yourself and end up with a criminal record.

This is a class 1 misdemeanor in North Carolina, the fine for which is in the discretion of the court. The fine for a class 2 NC misdemeanor maxes out at $1,000. But I don't see that it would be that high.

I've already referred to the procedures that could be possible. Best case scenario is a special form of probation called a diversion or deferral. You pay fines, do community service, take an anti theft class, comply with the rules that probation sets down for you and your case gets dismissed at the end.

Worst case would be a jail sentence, but that's highly unlikely. The actual worst case would probably be probation without any dismissal of the charge.

You should have a lawyer to negotiate something for you, because many prosecutors will not bargain with an unrepresented defendant. But generally, a diversion disposition could be arranged for at pre-trial by your lawyer. If you cannot afford an attorney you can plead not guilty when the judge first asks how you plead and then ask the court to appoint you a public defender.
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