How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Zoey_ JD Your Own Question
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.
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Zoey_ JD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

First time shoplifting offense in Tennessee..court

Customer Question

First time shoplifting offense in Tennessee..court today..not sure what to do..about to panic..accused of theft of a $5.44 item.would appreciate number is ***** ***-**** name is Deann..ty
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: Not talked to lawyer..
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: I have used my diversion on charge couple years ago and had it expunged...not a theft offense though..never had anything like this before..
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Criminal Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.


Typically, a first shoplifting offense results in a diversion disposition, but in my experience, pre-trial diversion isn't usually given out more than once in the same county. Nevertheless on a $5.44 item, you might be able to get deferred adjudication or to bargain this down to a civil shoplifting offense where you could simply pay a fine and not end up with a criminal conviction.

The best way to achieve that is typically to have a criminal attorney representing you. If you can afford one, have him or her with you on your court date. If you cannot, you must plead not guilty when you come before the judge and are arraigned on these charges. Then you can let the judge know you cannot afford representation and ask him to appoint you a public defender.

But if you are concerned whether you are going to wind up spending time in jail for this, the answer is that your chance of having to do jail time is practically zero.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.