Steps to Take If You Get a Notice to Appear in Court for Shoplifting or Theft
Shoplifting is a serious offense that can affect your career opportunities, academic opportunities, and even hurt relationship opportunities. Many people are unaware that if you receive a notice to appear in court, this will officially begin your criminal history if you did not have one previously. Although you might not have been arrested at the time of the incident, the date of the incident is referred to as your “arrest date” and can be seen online for anyone to look up. Friends, family, employers, and even potential dating interests can see the arrest.
However, it is also possible to receive this notice even if you were not arrested in the act. Contact a shoplifting defense attorney the moment you receive this notice.
Your Options After a Shoplifting Charge
Before you freak out, there are ways to either drop the charges or minimize the fallout. If this is your first offense, look up diversion programs available in the county you got caught in. If you are eligible and complete the program, the charge will be expunged. Classes, community service, and payment of a fine are required to complete the program. However, we recommend that you take this option, if eligible, to have the charge put behind you.
The second option is to sign up for an Impulse Control class, where you will learn more about your impulses and how to cope with them appropriately. You may be thinking that this is an admission of guilt. However, if they got you on record and can prove that you shoplifted, it may not be worth going to trial to dispute it. Taking this class is not an admission of guilt, but it does show the court that you are serious about putting the charge behind you.
The third option is to hire a qualified theft defense attorney to help ease the process. Sometimes, the attorney can get you out of your first, and even all, of your court dates. This may be your best option if you have a busy schedule and cannot take time off work, school, etc. Additionally, your lawyer can often get you into a program so you never even have to step foot into a courtroom.
You Have Numerous Options When You Get a Notice to Appear for Shoplifting or Theft
As you can see, there are a few options available. You can take these steps as soon as you receive a notice to appear in court for shoplifting or theft. However, it is important to prioritize hiring a quality defense attorney to help drop the charges or minimize the consequences. Call us immediately for guidance.