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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default What to Do After a Shoplifting Incident

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Washington

    I feel horrible by this incident. I have no previous criminal record and don't want it to go on my record.

    My question: how can I get my charges dismissed before my court date? I have heard about pre-trial diversion -- is it available in WA? Any other option? I have no clue what to do.

    Thank you for any advice with this!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Default Re: What to Do After a Shoplifting Incident

    You need to get a consultation with a Criminal Defense lawyer in your area. Most offer free initial consults.

    Laws vary by state to state, and can even vary by county, so you really need to talk to someone local. And even go to the court and watch what is happening ahead of time, so you know what to expect.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Default Re: What to Do After a Shoplifting Incident

    I am an attorney licensed to practice in Washington state. Do not take this as creating an attorney-client relationship. Here is my opinion.

    Yes, diversion programs are permitted under Washington law and many counties have them. This is an option you should explore as soon as possible. If a diversion program is available in your county and you qualify for it you can avoid a criminal record. You would have to pay program fees, probably attend some sort of anti-shoplifting class and/or counseling, and perhaps do community service, so there is a type of punishment involved, but you can get out without have a criminal conviction on your record.

    Diversion is not automatic. What you need to do is what Pandoras Box said: consult a criminal defense attorney in your local area. The lawyer can advise you if diversion is available and, if so, help you get admitted into a diversion program. If you cannot afford one then you should tell the court that and ask that a public defender be appointed for you. That is not free either. There is usually a payback obligation, but that is the least of your worries. If you have to enter a plea, plead “not guilty”. Do not expect to get good advice from the prosecutor, court staff, or the judge. You need a lawyer who has been hired by you or appointed by the court to represent your interests.

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