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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27425
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Hi. I must appear in court in a few hours. I was unable to

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I must appear in court in a few hours. I was unable to get an attorney due to nit having money.
I was charged with petty theft of $100 cash from a retail store I worked at. I confessed and signed it giving it to store lp agents. They called the cops and I signed a paper saying that I would have to go to court. I was told for this type of case an arraignment I would be unable to get a public defender. So I will jave to go in myself. I have no prior offenses. And would like the opportunity to get this expunged after the hearing because it is affecting my chances of getting a job already and will continue to haunt me I am only 26. I am unsure what to say when they ask what do you plea? What are my options and what should I do?

You cannot have a case expunged until the case has been totally resolved. And then, it would depend on whether you were eligible for the expungement. You can see a good overview of the Florida expungement law here, and the state does not expunge convictions. (see link)

For a first arrest shoplifting you are probably going to be able to get a deferral or diversion type of sentence if you want one. These are special forms of probation whereby you pay fines, do some community service, take anti-theft classes and stay out of trouble and compliant with the terms of your supervision. Do everything right and the case will be dismissed at the end of your supervisory period.

So you should plead not guilty at your arraignment and work out a deal with the prosecutor to get diversion or deferral on your case. You can even try to talk to the DA assigned to your case before the court date to see if he will work this out with you. Once you get the deal you want, then you can plead guilty to take the deal.

Our law says that ALL defendants start off as innocent until proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That gives you the right to plead not guilty and work out something good for yourself and you would not be lying to the court. All defendants start off by pleading Not Guilty, because it is the only plea that keeps their rights open.

Even though you can't get a public defender for the case, you can still call or stop by the public defender's office to get "how-to" type help for them. They will know your particular j.udge and be familiar with the court procedure, so it's a good idea to give that a try before calling the DA.

Good luck!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Okay. Thankyou. One last inquiry, according to store records in was in the range of 500 but the officer cut me a break seeing as how it was a first offense and only put down 100 on the paper I signed for him. I did sign an agreement to pay back the company which I also have a copy of. Will that or can it also come up in the arraignment or will they only go based on what the officer documented?


You'll be expected to pay back the store as part of any agreement, but the store is not entitled to collect money from you twice..

So if resittution to the store comes up in court, you can mention that you've already signed an agreement to pay the store back and offer to show them the signed paper. If they want you to pay it to a court agency to be sent to the store or will be happy if you just mail the store a check, they will let you know.

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