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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27434
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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Today i got a misdemeanor charge degree theft. I am

Customer Question

Today i got a misdemeanor charge for 5th degree theft. I am very overwhelmed right now and play on not telling my parents, or anyone for that matter. Do i have to show up to court? What if i try and get it expunged? i have a court date of 5/19/15 but i dont think a court appearance is required. Would it be likely to get it expunged if this is my first offense? Should i look into contacting an actual lawyer?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.
My name is ***** ***** I am an experienced criminal lawyer.
I think your parents will be more upset if you get in the way of the help you need in order to come out of this case without a criminal record. Keep that in mind, because you should have a lawyer for best results. You're obviously a young person or you wouldn't be worried about your parents, and criminal cases can have lifetime consequences.
Yes, you'll have to show up in court. YOu're a defendant and you're charged with a crime. If you don't go to court, a warrant will issue for your arrest. Misdemeanor cases are almost always "must appears" so I suggest you call the clerk of the court tomorrow and ask him if you must show.
States all differ as to their expungement rules. Also expungement is discretionary rather than mandatory. By this I mean that some states do not allow convictions of any sort to be expunged, and those that do allow it don't grant an expungement to every applicant. If you reply with the law of your state, I will let you know whether your state will expunge a conviction or not.
If you are going to tell your folks and they will hire a lawyer for you, have him in court with you. If you are not you can show up on the 19th, plead not guilty and ask the judge to give you a free lawyer if you cannot afford to hire one yourself. On a first arrest, a lawyer can usually negotiate something that will keep this charge off of your record.