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  1. #1

    Default Texas Shoplifting, Class B Misdemeanor, First Offense

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: TX

    I am curious what exactly is going to happen in regards to a recent incident.

    I am over 18, and received a citation at the store for Shoplifting $170 worth of merchandise. I was not arrested, but I was given citation and a court date.

    What will happen on that court date? Who will be there? What is likely to happen? What are the likely outcomes? Is it necessary to go to court? Is it possible to get my record sealed or have it expunged?

    Any help or advice is welcomed.

    Thank you
    Bad Choice

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tx - Class B Misdemeanor - Shopliftng - First Offense

    If you did it in a major store (Walmart, etc.) you can expect a letter from their "lawyers" soon asking for you to pay a civil restitution. This is independent from your criminal trial.

    At the court date you'll be officially informed of the charge and asked to enter a plea. Most likely if you haven't done so already you will be photographed and fingerprinted. If you plead guilty you will be found guilty and sentenced. Sentence can be up to $2000 and/or 180 days in jail.

    If you don't go to court a warrant will be issued for your arrest and you will be arrested and jailed.

    You are well advised to have a lawyer. A lawyer can try to get the charges dropped to a class C which can get you into a deferred prosecution situation that means that you might eventually escape having a criminal record. If you are indigent, you should ask for a public defender. If you qualify one will be provided and your case is will be continued until you can see him. If you don't qualify, and you want time to obtain a lawyer you may ask for a continuance to get one. It would behoove you to have one when your return on your later court date.


    There is NO EXPUNGEMENT or SEALING of criminal convictions in Texas short of getting a pardon from the governor.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Tx - Class B Misdemeanor - Shopliftng - First Offense

    Thank you for your advice.

    I will absolutely show up for court. The question was whether it was something I could take care of before the court date via a lawyer. I've never been in this situation before and am mortified of my poor choice. I want to keep this under wraps as much as possible.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Tx - Class B Misdemeanor - Shopliftng - First Offense

    This isn't a traffic ticket that you can just pay the fine and go on. You'll have to appear in court. It's already not under wraps. I'd be surprised in your area that you don't get postcards from lawyers offering their services. They seem to troll the arrest records around here (even for things like traffic tickets).

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Tx - Class B Misdemeanor - Shopliftng - First Offense

    Quote Quoting flyingron
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    There is NO EXPUNGEMENT or SEALING of criminal convictions in Texas short of getting a pardon from the governor.
    That is true for convictions. However if you successfully complete a deferral you can expunge a Class C misdemeanor, and seal most more significant offenses following a statutory waiting period. A person charged with first offense shoplifting should be exploring whether any diversion programs are available to them, and if not whether they might qualify for deferral.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Tx - Class B Misdemeanor - Shopliftng - First Offense

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    That is true for convictions. However if you successfully complete a deferral you can expunge a Class C misdemeanor, and seal most more significant offenses following a statutory waiting period. A person charged with first offense shoplifting should be exploring whether any diversion programs are available to them, and if not whether they might qualify for deferral.
    Which is exactly what I told him. However, he's not currently charged with a class C misdemeanor. He's charged with a class B and his chances of getting it plead down and a deferral pro se is slim.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Tx - Class B Misdemeanor - Shopliftng - First Offense

    I missed the part where you talked about sealing a deferred Class B misdemeanor. Upon review, I'm still missing that part.

    I make no assumption about what the prosecutor might offer to him, should he attempt to negotiate, which isn't to say that it won't be easier for him to negotiate a deal with the help of a lawyer.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Tx - Class B Misdemeanor - Shopliftng - First Offense

    $170 worth of merchandise? Honey, please be aware that the Prosecutor and Judge will know this is not your first time shoplifting, just your first time being caught.

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