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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26800
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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i was caught shoplifting at a jc penny in PG county MD i am

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i was caught shoplifting at a jc penny in PG county MD i am currently awaiting a court date, i've been advised to request a court diversion program since this is my first offense, i just want to know if requesting a diversion program involves pleading guilty or not guilty and if so how should i plea?
Hello Jacustomer,

Apparently diversion programs are not standardized in Maryland. In some types of diversion programs the case is never filed with the court -- it's diverted elsewhere. Instead of coming before the judge you just make an agreement with the prosecutor and no plea is taken. You do serve the sentence, and if you complete the conditions successfully, the case gets dismissed.

In other types of diversion programs, the case is filed with the court and you would generally plead no contest and again, at the end of the supervisory period your case is dismissed.

If you do come before the judge and are arraigned on the charge, you should always plead not guilty. From there, you can take back that plea if the court then agrees to let you have diversion. But you get the promised deal first before you plead anything other than not guilty, because you always should know what you're going to be sentenced to before you give up your presumption of innocence and admit guilt.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

how can i get a diversion program that is not filed in court that can lead to the case being dismissed?

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