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Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1805
Experience:  California lawyer since 1976.
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I did a petty theft crime worth $68, but got booked with burglary/

Customer Question

I did a petty theft crime worth $68, but got booked with burglary/ felony, because i admitted to going inside the store with the intent to steal. My record is clean otherwise, will this charge get dropped to a misdemeanor? if not, how can i get it dropped?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 7 years ago.
Hello no62g8qo and welcome to JustAnswer.

Your situation is exactly the reason that anyone suspected of a crime should never speak with police officers. Got a simple misdemeanor bumped up to a felony. That said, if you have no record, it is quite likely that the DA will actually file this as a misdemeanor petty theft/shoplifting (Penal Code sectrion 484).

If so, you should be eligible for misdemeanor diversion under Penal Code section 1001-1001.9. If you take diversion and finish the program, the charge is dismissed and you can say that you were never convicted. When you go to arraignment, ask the DA or the court about diversion and if they say okay, you can probably finish this without a lawyer.

If you let me know what county and specific court your case is in, I can probably give you more specific information about diversion there.

Thanks for asking your question here on JustAnswer. If you have any other questions about this situation, please let me know.
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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
It is in Los angeles county, in whittier court.
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 7 years ago.
Hello again and thanks for the additional information.

All Los Angeles County courts offer misdemeanor diversion programs. In fact, because of the heavy case loads there, compared to smaller counties, you are more likely to be diverted than if the case was in another county. With no previous criminal history, you are a good candidate for diversion. The program would likely include attendance at a theft awareness program, perhaps some community service, payment of diversion fees and 6-12 months of not getting in any further trouble.

As I said, ask the DA or the court about it at your arraignment. If diversion is not offered, you can ask for time to consult with an attorney (or if you cannot afford private counsel, request appointment of the public defender).

Good luck with this -- if you have any other questions as you go forward, please let me know.