• What does “diversion” mean?

    Date: 08.22.10 | by Judge Tom.

    If you have been charged with a minor crime, usually a low misdemeanor or petty offense, you may be eligible for what is called “diversion” or a “deferred judgment.” This opportunity is common nationwide in both adult and juvenile court. Diversion is not available for felonies.

    Diversion means the case is diverted away from the criminal or juvenile justice system because of the way the charge is handled. Instead of going before a judge, you have a chance to avoid trial and a record if you complete the terms of a diversion program.

    Photo by Dennis Vu

    If you are a first-time offender and the crime is considered a minor infraction, you may be eligible for diversion. Every jurisdiction is different as to what qualifies for participation in diversion. Shoplifting clothes worth $250 may qualify for diversion in one state but not another.

    At the first hearing on the charge, you will meet with a probation officer who will explain the process to you. He or she will tell you about diversion and whether it’s available to you. If it is and you admit the charge, then you can participate in the program. It usually calls for a number of community service hours, a fine, restitution to the victim, attending an educational class or possibly drug or personal counseling if appropriate.

    Once you finish all of the terms the case is closed. You don’t have to appear before a judge and you don’t have a public criminal record. This is because you were ‘diverted’ away from the formal process that results in a record. The court will maintain its own record showing that you completed diversion in the event you return on another offense. Diversion is rarely available a second time.

    Some jurisdictions refer to this process as “deferred judgment” or “deferred prosecution”. That means when you complete the diversion terms, a judgment is not entered into the court’s record. Instead a dismissal of the charge is entered.

    If you maintain your innocence, which is your right, the case will be set for trial. You will not be participating in diversion since it calls for an admission of the crime.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    474 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Eric
      Mon, 15 Nov 2010 at 03:51

      What happens if you dont finish you diversion agreement?
      Dear Eric: In most jurisdictions, the probation officer monitoring the case will report the failure to complete diversion to the local prosecutor. Then the decision is made whether to file formal charges or not. If charges are filed you’ll be notified of a court date where you’ll be expected to appear. The legal process will then be explained to you and you’ll be able to plead guilty and proceed to sentencing or not guilty and proceed to trial. All around it’s better to successfully complete diversion since an additional benefit is the absence of a record. If you need more time to complete the terms, ask for it. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • lauren
      Tue, 14 Dec 2010 at 10:20

      what if you stole something that was under 20.00 dollars .And you paid your fine on time ? and this is my first crime?
      Dear Lauren: If the police weren’t involved this may be the end of it. If the police did come to the store and took down your information, you might receive a summons in the mail to appear in court. Don’t miss the hearing or a warrant may be issued for your arrest. Once at court the legal process will be explained to you. Since this is your first offense, you may be offered “diversion.” That means when you complete some community service, attend a class or pay a fine the case is closed and you don’t have a record. If you were banned from the store, don’t return. Oherwise you could be charged with trespassing. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not leghal advice].

    • Jan
      Fri, 24 Dec 2010 at 02:46

      I am over 18 years old and got caught stealing something that was $13. The police were called and I was arrested and got my finger prints and photo taken. When I left the police station they gave me a paper with a court date on it. What should I expect at the court appearance? What should I expect my fine to be? I am in New York state.
      Dear Jan: If this is your first offense you can expect to be offered what is called “diversion.” When you complete the terms of diversion the case is closed and you don’t have a record. Don’t miss your court date or an arrest warrant may be issued. Once at court the legal process will be explained to you. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Victoria
      Tue, 04 Jan 2011 at 08:23

      Dear Judge Tom,
      On December 30, 2010 I was caught by the Rite Aid loss prevention man for shoplifting false eyelashes (5.49$) and the police officer was contacted. This is my first time and first time being caught. I feel absolutely disgusted and guilty because I am 21, just finished my bachelors and now applying to grad school here in California. I am very sorry and have done extensive research to see what my options are. Does this go on my record and will I have to explain it in my grad applications? Should I get a Public Defender? Will I be offered a diversion program? Should I expect anything in the mail; can I ask for an expungement? Thank you Judge Tom.
      Dear Victoria: When you go to court, the legal process will be explained to you. You may be appointed a public defender if you qualify. As far as college applications, read the questions carefully and answer truthfully. If you complete a diversion program, for example, for this incident then you haven’t been “convicted” of a crime. You may also receive a letter from the store requiring payment of a fine. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Victoria
      Tue, 04 Jan 2011 at 10:17

      I greatly appreciate your kind advice Judge Tom. Happy New Years as well.

    • Tahsin
      Wed, 05 Jan 2011 at 10:22

      Im 16 and i got caught shoplifting a lipgloss worth $50. police came and now i have a court date. do they have diversion in new jersey? and how much do you think the fine will be. also will this go on my record. like if i apply for a job or apply to colleges will they see this ?
      Also i already payed a fine to the store i stole from
      Dear Tahsin: When you go to court the legal process will be explained to you. Most states offer diversion for first-time offenders. In paying the fine to the store, you’ve taken care of the civil side of this incident. In going to court, you’re involved with the criminal aspect of shoplifting. So, you’ll probably be offered diversion and when you finish the program, the case will be closed and you won’t have a record to worry about. That’s the point of diversion. Good luck and we hope you’ve learned something from this.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Tahsin
      Fri, 07 Jan 2011 at 06:04

      When i go to court will they fine me again? And if i get offered the diversion program will insurance cover the fees for the program? if not how much is the program?
      Dear Tahsin: The court may issue a fine but you can explain your financial situation and ask for community service work in place of the fine. We can’t tell you the cost of the diversion program. In many jurisdictions,ther is no fee and in some there is a low fee to pay. Courts will often waive the fee if appropriate.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • Maria
      Sat, 05 Feb 2011 at 01:27

      I have been charged with theft under $5000. i took $500 worth of merchandise from a beauty store.
      This is my very first offence and l never had any contact with police before.
      My question is what can expect on my first day appearance in court?I have heard about a diversion program, do i qualify for that program? what punishment of this offence.?i’m a good person not a thief..i slipped once..and don’t intend to have that happen..ever again.l m very upset i have no money for lawyer?? what i do plz help me out give me some advice ,l am very thanksful to u ?
      Dear Maria: You may not qualify for diversion since the amount stolen was relatively high at $500. When you go to court, the process will be explained to you and you may be appointed a public defender. Since this is your first offense, you are likely facing community service, a fine and classes or counseling. You also may be placed on probation. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice.]

    • Victoria
      Mon, 07 Feb 2011 at 09:45

      Dear Judge Tom and others, I want to update you all from my experience. 3 weeks after my incident, I confessed to my family about the incident. After the disappointment and grief, my mother decided to help me hire a lawyer, the best choice I made though it cost my mom 2000$. The lawyer had me compile a folder of all the positives I have done in the community (my high school awards, my college degree and transcripts, places I’ve volunteered, etc…). On my arraignment Feb 3, I did not have to speak with the Judge because my lawyer had already talked to the DA and striked a deal: 60 hours of community service and an anti-theft awareness program (300$) all to be completed by June 3. My advice to all of you is hire a lawyer if you can, even if you have to use a credit card! Once again, thank you Judge Tom. I qualified because the dollar amount of the stolen merchandise was low (as the lawyer explained to me).
      Thank you, Victoria for sharing your story and opinion with our readers. We’re glad to hear that it worked out for you.

    • jessica
      Tue, 15 Feb 2011 at 01:31

      i am 17 , 16 when i was caught shoplifting . i qualified for the diversion prgram in the state of Virginia. Even though i was not charged with alcohol or drugs like some of the other teens in the program , will i be drug tested?
      Dear Jessica: That depends on the terms of the program. Ordinarily you wouldn’t be drug tested for a non-drug/alcohol offense. You can ask your contact at the court or the orogram supervisor if random testing applies to you. Make sure you’re clean at all times and don’t test positive if required to test. Good luck.
      [This is information only - not legal advice].

    • olga
      Mon, 21 Feb 2011 at 08:44

      My daughter was cought writing her name on one of a train staion’s wall with a marker. She was arrested and taken to a police station. What should we expect from this?
      Dear Olga: You didn’t mention your daughter’s age but we’ll assume she’s a minor. If she received a ticket or notice from the police to appear in court, make sure she doesn’t miss the hearing. The legal process will be explained to both of you when you go. If this is her first offense she may be offered “diversion.” When she finishes the terms of diversion (community service, a fine or attending a class) the case will be closed and she won’t have a record. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jim
      Sat, 05 Mar 2011 at 08:35

      I was caught tresspassing and may need to go before juvinile court and possibly have a po will he drug test me?
      Dear Jim: If you are placed on probation and there’s a reason to believe that you’re involved with drugs, your probation officer will have the authority to require you to randomly drug test. Make sure you always test clean or you’ll be in violation of probation which may mean time in detention and additional charges. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • jessica
      Tue, 08 Mar 2011 at 09:52

      I was caught shoplifting from walmart in Virginia. I tried to take $40.06 worth of food. The cop came and I have a arriagment date coming up. This is my first time offense. I have already signed up for an adult education shoplifters class on my own. At the aggiament court date, can I ask for a diverison program then? Not sure what I need to do when I go? Also, my edcaution class should be completed before the courtdate. Thank you.
      Dear Jessica: When you go to court the legal process will be explained to you by a court or probation officer. Let them know you’ve completed the shoplifting class and show them documentation of it. Since this is your first offense you’ll probably be offered diversion. You may only have to complete some community service. We hope you’ve learned from this incident. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Andrea Sidey
      Wed, 09 Mar 2011 at 10:56

      In the summer I took diversion and finsihed for shoplifting and theft of services. Just tonight I was prosecuted again for shoplifting from a grocery store. I have a court date set for March 31st. Will this be considered my second offense? I know with diversion it doesn’t go on your criminal record but if the judge asks if this is my first offense do I say yes or does it still count as my second offense? I am confused?
      I know how stupid what I did was. $10 is not worth a criminal record. I also graduated and am in the process of getting my teaching certificate. Will this affect it? Thankyou.
      Dear Andrea: Since you completed a diversion program for the first offense, it’s not officially on your record. However, if the judge asks about prior offenses or however the question is phrased, answer truthfully. The judge will know that you had a prior shoplifting charge since you’re now before the court on the same charge regarding a $10 item. Since it would ordinarily be handled through diversion, the judge will know why you’re before the court on this charge. You may have a chance to discuss this with a probation officer before you see the judge. Ask about the consequences and any effect this may have on your pursuit of a teaching certificate. You can also ask about clearing (expunging) your record if you end up with one. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Alex
      Wed, 09 Mar 2011 at 11:40

      What does it mean to have a First Offence? I was caught stealing when I was 19 and was let off with a warning which shows up on my record as a minor infraction but isn’t a criminal charge. I am now 22, and was caught stealing something worth $8, but am being charged with theft under $5000… Does this mean I do not qualify for the Diversion Program because of the minor infraction?
      Dear Alex: Jurisdictions around the country handle first and second offenses, for minor violations, differently. The diversion program where you live may permit you to participate again considering the amount involved in this incident. When you go to court you can ask about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Thomas
      Wed, 09 Mar 2011 at 11:46

      I was busted for underage drinking (possession of alcohol as a minor) in the state of Kentucky. I was offered a diversion, and can pay fees just fine but have not been able to find time to do my community service hours. Fact is, I work 55 hours a week just to make ends meet. If I don’t finish my diversion agreement, I realize that I will be given a formal court date where I would be sentenced to my charge and it would go on my public record. But what kind of penalty would I be looking at if I don’t finish my diversion?
      Dear Thomas: The penalty may be additional work hours, probation for a period of time and/or a class about substance use and abuse. You may resolve this by contacting the probation officer or supervisor for the diversion program and ask for additional time to get the work hours done. Explain your current schedule and intention to do the hours but need more time. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Putri
      Tue, 15 Mar 2011 at 11:53

      I got caught shoplifting at CVS. I dont know how much did I steal. I was too panicked to even hear what was the police and the manager of CVS were talking about. This was my first offense. I feel really traumatized that I swear I will never do this again. I was actually going to buy some school stuff, such as binder and eraser. I saw many pretty things that made me wanted to take it. I know I should not have and I feel really ashamed and hate myself for that. Plus, I have been worried sick because I just got married last year on September and I was going to apply for green card with my husband’s help, which means I’m still an illegal alien at this point. I don’t know why I did that and I’m really terrified right now. I dont want to be deported because I have been doing research and many of them said that I can get deported. I’m too afraid to face the judge and my court date is on May 11. Neither of us working, so we don’t have any money to hire a lawyer. What should I do? I am a 4.0 student at college and planning to transfer to university. I made the stupidest mistake and now im really scared. I realized that I deserved it, but I just wished that they would give me a chance. I promise with my life I will never do this anymore. Please, give me an advice on what I should do? Would I be able to get a diversion? And for information, on the arrest aplication paper that the police gave me, under “special instruction and mandatory information”, right under his signature, it says “amount of money” and he put $9.00. Is that how much the items were?Please, help me.
      Dear Putri: Since this is your first offense, you will probably be offered diversion. When you finish the community work hours, pay the fine or restitution to the store the case will be closed. The $9.00 is probably the value of the items taken. You should know if that is the right amount based on what you took. Don’t miss the hearing in May. When you get to court, the legal process will be explained to you. You don’t need a lawyer unless you want to hire one. If you decide to plead not guilty, you may be appointed a public defender to represent you.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Putri
      Wed, 16 Mar 2011 at 03:33

      Thank you so much. Your advice makes me feel calmer. And I hope everything will go well. I might need to ask you more later on after the hearing. Please don’t get tired of me. Thank you very much for your help.
      We’re glad to be of assistance. Let us know what happens.

    • cara
      Fri, 18 Mar 2011 at 05:45

      if I shoplift for around $350, am I qualified for a diversion?! also, I’m trying help my husband for a greendcard, he is nonresident, and I’m a US citizen. Does my criminal charge affecting him? What if my case got dismissed? Should I contact my immigration lawyer?
      Dear Cara: Every jurisdiction handles shoplifting differently. Depending on your record and the laws in your state that apply to this incident, you may be offered diversion. Once you finish the program the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Whether you report this to your immigration lawyer is up to you. We can’t give you legal advice or tell you what to do. On the other hand, because the amount involved is high, you may not qualify for diversion. For example, in Arizona, shoplifting over $250.00 is a felony, not a misdemeanor. When you go to court the legal process will be explained to you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • cara
      Fri, 18 Mar 2011 at 05:50

      thanks for your reply. yes, this is my first offense and I’m in new York city. All I worry about is that if I got the criminal record, how is it going to affect my husband’s application for the greencard. Also, I heard that there might be an ACD offered when I appear tothe court, am I qualify for it, or should I plead guilty instead.
      Dear Cara: You’ll have to ask your immigration lawyer about any effect this may have on his status. Hopefully, none. Usually when diversion is offered, it requires an admission to the charge. So, if you decide to accept diversion, you’ll have to admit the shoplifting, but it won’t go on your record.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Earl
      Wed, 23 Mar 2011 at 04:55

      What if you pleaded not guilty to a DUI being unaware of the Diversion program offered and you trail date has not been set yet? Can you change your plea to guilty and request to be part of the Diversion program, or can you plead not guilty but willing to attend the Diversion program rather than proceeding with the trail? Reason is that because you feel that you innocent but you don’t want the lengthy trail period that could go on for months.
      Dear Earl: You still might be able to participate in the diversion program depending on the rules in the court you’re in and their process. Check with either a probation officer or the person you met with at your first hearing. You could also call the court and ask. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Earl
      Wed, 23 Mar 2011 at 08:37

      How long does a diversion reflect on your court record? Will it appear in a background checks like if you want to apply for a job or credit? E.g. applying for a job as a policeman. Can you Does the offense get expunged after a while, were there’s totally no record what so ever in court that you participated in the Diversion process at all… in other words you have a clean slate? And if so after how long does the entire process last? Does the expungement process happen automatically or do you have to request or appeal for it to be expunged?
      Dear Earl: Record keeping and diversion are governed by laws and rules of individual states, counties, etc. There is no standard answer that would apply to every jurisdiction in the U.S. The best source for details that would apply to your situation is from the court you were in for the diversion program. Contact them and ask about a clear record. The purpose of diversion is to keep the case out of the justice system where a formal record is created. Expungement isn’t automatic in many courts – you need to request that a record be expunged. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Yesenia
      Wed, 23 Mar 2011 at 11:09

      Last year I got caught shoplifting from JCPenney. A couple of months later a letter came in and it said to appear for a program to prevent further juvenile offenses I’m guessing its diversion. I was really scared and didn’t dare to go. A month later another later came but I did not see it until after the date passed. My mom was not aware of this until today and now we have to go to a PO. What should I expect? Am i still eligible for diversion?
      Dear Yesenia: Depending on your court and its policies, you may still be eligible for the diversion program. When you meet with the probation officer, explain what happened and why you missed the court dates. If this is your first offense, it’s likely you’ll be able to do diversion and have this behind you. Whatever you do, don’t miss the meeting coming up – otherwise, the court can issue a warrant for your arrest. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • zeke rooney
      Thu, 24 Mar 2011 at 02:20

      I was recently caught and charged with shoplifting, the items valued $7.00. this is my first offence and have court in a couple weeks. I dont have enough money for lawyer and dont know if one will help my chances of getting into a diversion program. I also dont know what to expect when i get to court. Also would the fact that i have good grades in college help me any and would it be wise to take a transcript with me to court?
      Dear Zeke: Since this is your first offense, your chances are good that diversion will be offered. When you go to court, the legal process will be explained to you. At this point, a lawyer isn’t necessary – it’s your decision. If you decide to plead not guilty and go to trial on the shoplifting charge, then a lawyer would be useful. Don’t miss your court date, otherwise a warrant for your arrest can be issued. It wouldn’t hurt to take a transcript of your grades with you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • cilla and selena
      Mon, 28 Mar 2011 at 04:37

      Ok,i shoplift clothes worth $300 at the state of Indiana at the store J.C Penny in the mall at Merveille a couple months ago along with my sister who was caught stealing $99 dollars worth of stuff and my friend who stole $57 dollars worth of stuff and recieved a letter today about probation department to make a preliminary inquiry.Is that something like diversion or is it different?What do you think is going to happen?
      Dear Cilla & Selena: If this is your first offense, it could be an offer to complete a diversion program. Once you finish the program, the shoplifting charge will be dismissed. Otherwise, formal charges could be filed against each of you requiring a court appearance. Don’t miss the scheduled dates – if you don’t appear the court can issue a warrant for your arrest. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • KC
      Tue, 29 Mar 2011 at 08:52

      I was cited for Theft under $500 in TN. I have a court appearance on the 20th of April. I’m 21, and its my first offense. Do I have to be offered diversion or can I ask the judge about it. I’m a dance teacher so having a clean record is important. Is there anything I can do before the court appearance to help my case?
      Dear KC: Generally, you would be offered diversion if it’s an option in your case, but you can always ask either the court officer, prosecutor or judge about it. You probably will meet with either a court officer or prosecutor when you go to court. First-time offenders are ofter offered diversion in shoplifting cases, so the fact that you don’t have a record should help. When you go to court, you’ll find out more and whether diversion is an option. You’ll have the chance to ask questions and can ask if there is anything you can do to help your case like begin your community service now. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Melissa
      Fri, 01 Apr 2011 at 09:58

      I was caught shoplighting $70 worth of makeup at a grocery store. I was arresting and had to go to court. I was ordered to do 2 days of community service and 3 days of behavioral therapy. I also had to pay $140 to the courts. Since then, I had finished a day of community service and finished two days of therapy. Today, I did not attend community service and that was my third reschedule. I was told that I’m going to be audited by the court and would have to reappear infront of the judge. What does this all mean? Should I continue to try to finish my therapy? I only owe 1 day of community service and I’m afraid that I’m going to be sent to jail. Please tell me your experience with people in this sort of situation
      Dear Melissa: You need to finish the therapy and community service asap. Then when you go to court you can can explain why you were late, but at least you finished what you were required to do instead of blowing it off. It’s not likely you’d be locked up for this, but anything is possible. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Damien
      Sat, 02 Apr 2011 at 04:40

      To whom can help me:

      I was at a store and a friend got caught stealing I had to part in it and I no way assisted, this is a first offense, no prior record, I paid the civil fine that their attorneys offered to not take it to court, what should I expect in the judiciar side of it! I’m truely not guilty of anything, also I don’t live in that state so its costing me a fortune to go back and if diversion is offered can I do it in another state, caught in CO from CA now I’m In PA?
      Dear Damien: It sounds like you paid the store’s “civil demand”, which may mean that you will hear nothing more about the incident. However, if charges are filed, you can call the court and explain where you live and ask if you can appear telephonically. Many courts allow this type of appearance. If diversion is offered, it is likely that you can complete the program even though you live in a different state. You would have to provide verification that you completed the terms of the program in your home state. Finally, if you want to fight the charges and not plead guilty, then you may want to talk to a criminal attorney about your case. Best of luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Kim
      Sun, 03 Apr 2011 at 04:59

      I am 16 years old in NC and I was caught shoplifting yesterday at a Target. They have on camera everything I did. I stole 3 sports bras, totaling up to $50.00. When I walked out the door 4 cops were waiting for me and they took me to the LP room. I have my court date in about 3 weeks. This is my very FIRST offense. I am a straight A student and do year around sports and school sports. What will happen to me? Will this stay on my record or can I get it dropped? And should I get a lawyer?
      Dear Kim: Since this is your first offense, you may be offered a diversion program. If you successfully complete the terms of such a program, then the charges would be dismissed and you would not have a record of any criminal conviction. When you go to your first court date, you will talk to a court or probation officer who will explain more and what your options are. You could wait until after your first court date when to decide whether to hire an attorney. Remember, that the consequences will increase for additional offenses, so we hope you learned from this incident. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Elizabetrh
      Sat, 09 Apr 2011 at 09:59

      My husband passed away and left me penny less. He was a veteran and the VA hospital said he was cancer free but not he was released and on thanksgiving last year we rushed him to the VA in PA to make the story short. My husband was a Vietnam Veteran died from war wounds and the doctor picked up the wrong chart said he was cancer free took him off the transplant list the VA sent a appology letter that they pick up the wrong chart. Well, the VA froze all my money, lost my house, cars everything. This Christmas I wanted to buy my daughters a gift had no money caught shoplifting under $40 paid a fine. The month later this January got caught again shoplifting at Krogers for 2 pounds of coffee. My hearing is this month. I found a job, alreading did comunity service over 100 hours. I am also Biopolar since the VA took all my medical away I just got my meds. I have a good attory I hope. WILL I GO TO JAIL…My mother died Monday in Colorado could not go to the funeral because of the bond. My grandson is fighting for his life in PICU. I am scare. I dont think I would of done this but without my husband for 30 years, the VA and all funds frozen I snapped. PLEASE HELP…Grandma from West virginia
      Dear Elizabeth: We’re sorry to hear about your circumstances. It is extremely unlikely that you will go to jail for your recent shoplifting offense. Even thought it is your second offense, the value of the items stolen is low, so you are likely facing a fine and community service. When you go to court, bring documentation showing that you’ve already completed the 100 hours of community service. Remember that the consequences will increase for additional offenses, so we’re glad to hear that you have a job now and are trying to get back on your feet. Take care of yourself.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jay
      Mon, 11 Apr 2011 at 09:52

      Hello there, I was caught shoplifting at the mall,(Sears from Tx)on 2009, a week after I turned 17. I was caught with my cousin(16yrs.) He took a $10 perfume and was caught on camera then we left the store and placed the merchandise in the car. He decided to come back but I didn’t have a good feeling about this one. I had 2 bags with me and he took 2 colons worth $50 each and in the dressing room he removed the metal things. He placed the colons in my bag and before walking out of the store I tried handing them to him but he didnt take them. The security caught me with the stuff and they have a video. After paying the sear’s fine I find out I have a warrant and was taken to jail not juvi. will i be offered the diversion program in the state of TX? But the thing is that Sears is already satisfied with the fine except the state picked it up. can the state pick it up?
      Dear Jay: Yes, the state can choose to file charges even though you paid Sears the civil fine. If this is your first offense, then there is a good chance that diversion will be offered to you. Stay out of trouble and perhaps don’t go shopping with your cousin as the penalties will increase for additional offenses and if you get into trouble while on diversion, you may loose the opportunity to complete the program. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jalen
      Tue, 12 Apr 2011 at 10:30

      Dear Judge,

      I was caught smoking marijuana. I was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of pariphinalia. I recently got put on the diversion program here in the state of Indiana. I’ve been told I will have to take a drug class of some sort. However, does this mean I will be on probation? What else should I expect by getting put on the diversion.
      Dear Jalen: You probably will not be on probation as diversion programs mean that they are being diverted away from the court system. As part of your diversion, you may have to complete some community service and/or pay a fine. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jos
      Thu, 14 Apr 2011 at 03:34

      Dear Judge,

      Yesterday my wife was shopping in JCPenney and she kept some stuff (1 T-Shirt and 1 Jeans for kids) in her purse, which was in the stroller basket. She bought another T-Shirt and paid for it on the cash counter thinking that she will pay for the other shirt n jeans kept in the purse later with some more things, which she was planning to buy. Also our son was sleeping so it was difficult to open the stroller basket at that time. While checking some more shirts, a LP lady came and took her to a small room where she checked her purse and accused her of shoplifting. My wife tried to tell her that she was not intending to go without paying for it but the LP officer did not listen and called the cops.
      They took down her details, had her sign a form (which the LP lady didn’t even let her read) and let her go saying she will receive further communication by mail.
      We are worried as what will happen next.
      We haven’t received anything but if we do then shall she plead guilty (to avoid lengthy trial) or not guilty or is the diversion program available in new jersey and shall we o for it?
      Is going back to the store and speaking with the manager help?
      Can you please guide us?
      thanks
      Dear Jos: If this is your wife’s first offense, she may be offered diversion. Upon completion of the terms required by diversion, the case will be closed and she won’t have a record of this incident. There is also a chance, because the items were returned, that no action will be taken by either the store or the police. On the other hand, you may receive letters in the mail notifying her of a court date and one from the store requiring payment of a civil fine. We can’t advise her what to do or how to plead – that is her decision. She can always speak with a lawyer or wait until she goes to court and talk with a public defender. Speaking with the store manager may smooth things over but it won’t necessarily help her avoid a shoplifting charge if the prosecutor decides to file formal charges. One more thing. Depending on the size of your community, it could take several weeks or even months before you hear anything. Be patient and good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jennifer Stevens
      Fri, 15 Apr 2011 at 02:31

      Hi my names Jenn, I was caught smoking marijuana, I had less that an ounce, what will the process be to get this taken off my record, and will future employers see this charge?
      Dear Jenn: If this is your first offense, you may be offered diversion. When you complete the terms of the diversion program, the case will be closed and you won’t have a record. If you aren’t eligible for diversion or the court doesn’t offer it, you may be placed on probation for a short period of time. If that happens, ask your probation officer about the process to get your record expunged. Once you do that, future employers shouldn’t be able to learn about this incident. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kat
      Fri, 15 Apr 2011 at 04:30

      I got a ticket for illegal possesion of alcohol 2 years ago (I was 20) when I was in USA, VA, for an exchange student program. I went to court 3 days before a had to go back home in Moldova, so I didn’t have time to pay my fine. Now I got married, my husband wins green card and we are about to go to the interview at the U.S.ambasy, how this will affect our visas?
      Dear Kat: It is hard to say if this will affect your immigration status. It depends on what the court did, if anything, about the unpaid ticket. You can contact the court you were in and ask about it and consider paying off the ticket to clear this up. You can also ask an immigration attorney who would know how to advise you in this matter. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Allie
      Fri, 15 Apr 2011 at 06:32

      I was put on diversion for a marijuana offense. In the agreement I signed it said that I am not allowed to use drugs but did not say anything about being tested. If I am going to be tested are they required to say so in the contract?
      Dear Allie: It’s not necessary that random drug testing be spelled out in a diversion agreement. Common sense tells you that if the use of drugs is prohibited, then testing is included as the only means of checking your compliance. Ask your probation officer or whoever is supervising your diversion program about this. They’ll be able to explain the basis of testing and authority under the laws of your state. Good luck & stay clean.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Dante
      Mon, 18 Apr 2011 at 01:42

      I was put on diversion in the state of Colorado, the city of Denver, a year and a half ago for an MIP. I was basically within twenty feet of some kids that were drinking on homecoming night. I completed diversion and had the charge expunged from my record. Anyways, I recently was caught with a very minimal amount of marijuana on my person in Louisiana, since I cooperated the police said I would most likely be offered diversion. My question is, I am moving back to Colorado to relieve my mother’s financial stress of having to pay for me to go to school out-of-state, and was curious if I could do the diversion program for Louisiana here in CO. My only concern is that I have done it here before. Please respond quickly in kind thank you so much.
      Dear Dante: You could try to complete the diversion program in Louisiana before you leave. Call the court and ask about speeding up the process and explain why you like to do this. Otherwise, since you already completed the program in Colorado, it may not be available to second-time offenders. Make a few phone calls to find out the best way to proceed. Call the probation office in Colorado and the court in Louisiana. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Colin
      Mon, 18 Apr 2011 at 01:53

      I was arrested in Missouri for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. This is my second offense, but the first took place in kansas and i successfully completed diversion. Im an active member in my community; i volunteer at local pet shelters and have donated blood, plasma and hair. Would I be able to file for diversion again?
      Dear Colin: Since your first diversion was in another state, there’s a good chance you could complete diversion again for these offenses. That will depend on the quantity of marijuana involved, your age and the laws that apply to you in Missouri. If you’re eligible for diversion, don’t push your luck by going for a third.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • jACOB
      Tue, 19 Apr 2011 at 11:09

      I’M 18 AND IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA. i WAS IN THE MALL AND A STORE CALLED INDUSTRIAL. WAS CAUGHT FOR SHOPLIFTING.i DID NOT HAVE ANYTHING IN MY POSSESSION BECAUSE I PUT THE ITEM BACK, BEFORE THE STORE EMPLOYEES PUT ME IN A HEADLOCK AND TOOK ME TO THE LITTLE ROOM IN BACK OF THE STORE AND THE COPS WERE CALLED. i WAS GIVEN A TICKET FOR SHOPLIFTING (CONCEALMENT). FIRST OFFENSE AND I’M SCARED. PLEASE TELL ME WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN COURT? THANK YOU
      Dear Jacob: Since this is your first offense, you may be offered what is called “diversion.” Once you finish the terms of diversion (community service, a class, restitution, etc.) the case will be closed and you won’t have a record. The legal process will be explained to you when you go to court. You may not see a judge this time. You may meet with a probation officer who will go over this with you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • sybilla dixson
      Wed, 20 Apr 2011 at 07:52

      Ibrought a stolen phone from someone know I beng charge for cause th police found out and came to my home and retiver the phone form me the chargers are 350dollars and this my first time I have lawyer what I should expect
      Dear Sybilla: You need to discuss this with your lawyer. He or she knows the laws that apply to this situation and can advise you about possible consequences and how to proceed. You may be placed in a diversion program, short term probation or, if you go to trial, you may be found not guilty. These are all matters that you should go over with your lawyer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Allison
      Sat, 23 Apr 2011 at 09:22

      Hello,
      I completed a diversion program for a domestic violence arrest. It was simply an argument that got out of hand and since the police were called I was made to serve a night in jail due to the state law. I finished the program, paid all the fees and had the record sealed. My concern is that I am looking to become a public school teacher and have heard conflicting answers about this coming up on a background check for that reason. I also have always thought about adopting a baby down the road……would my record come up in those circumstances?? Or is it really sealed to everyone??? I do not want to risk being embarrassed or completing lots of schooling or spend money if it’s not going to work out due to my arrest.
      Dear Allison: We understand your concerns. Depending on a state’s laws and how the state deals with criminal records, a record showing an arrest and the original charges could appear on a background check even though a person completed a diversion program and the charges were dismissed. Your record should show that you do not have any convictions, but again, it could show the arrest and original charges. First, you could call the court where the charges were filed or your local police department and ask for a copy of your record so you can see exactly what appears on it. You also could try contacting your state’s licensing board for teachers to find out how this incident and a successful completion of diversion would affect the process for becoming a teacher. It may mean that you will have to appear before the board and explain the circumstances and what happened, but every state deals with certain offenses and records differently. If this is your only record and you completed the program, then it is unlikely that it would prevent you from adopting, but you could run it by an attorney who handles adoptions when you get to that point. Best of luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Melissa
      Tue, 26 Apr 2011 at 11:22

      Thank you so much for your help on my last question! You saved me a bunch of worry. Since then, my diversion has been completed and I don’t have to go back. I had another quick question to ask you… Some how I found my case online through Yavapai County, it was a docet? or something… I just want to know i they are going to take this off the internet since my diversion was completed. I’m afraid to apply for jobs because of this.
      Dear Melissa: Your case is apparently listed on the court’s docket which is a way to keep track of everything that’s filed with the court. There should be a notation in your file that diversion has been successfully completed. You can contact the court or the person who supervised the diversion and ask about removing any reference to this from the court’s website. However, it may be a court policy to maintain a reference to the incident but not disclose it to the public. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Lisa
      Wed, 27 Apr 2011 at 03:27

      hello, im 18 and i was caught stealing a pair of $10 dollar earrings. i have never done this before. since i was a first offender i was able to take a class that cost $150 about shop lifting but im not sure if my record was clean since i took this class. do you think i still have a record??
      Dear Lisa: If the class you took was part of a “diversion” program, then you shouldn’t have a record. The purpose of diversion is to keep you from getting a formal juvenile record. You can contact the person who supervised your case and ask or call the court to see if you have an official record. If you do, ask about applying to have the record expunged. Expungement (destruction) of a record is a common procedure and simple to apply for. The court may have a form for you to complete and file, or it may be online at the court’s website. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Lisa Taylor
      Thu, 28 Apr 2011 at 11:04

      My daughter who is 18, but is still in High School has been working at Walmart. She was recently fired for stealing (3) 20 oz Cokes while working three different dates over the course of a one month period. I was so disappointed, but thought they would fire her, make her pay for the cokes and possibly fine her or something. I couldn’t believe however they got the police involved, and she was charged for such a small amount. She appeared in court as the summons stated yesterday. We talked with the DA’s office about a diversion. She is a good student, no history of any wrong doing, she had never given me any trouble and is very responsible. She had worked and bought her own car ( 3K) as a Junior in HS, while maintaining a GPA of 3.3. She knows what she did was wrong, I know she was wrong, but we were told yesterday evening that she does not qualify for a diversion because she worked for Walmart when she stole from them. Why does the fact that she worked for them not allow her to be elig for a diversion? We are really confused, and so disappointed, because now she loses her scholarship that she has to go to college. She has a 4 year full paid scholarship that she loses if there is any type of arrest/charges brought against her legally. I am heartsick and really don’t know where to go from here.
      Dear Lisa: The availability of a diversion program is at the discretion of the prosecutor’s office. They are authorized to determine the eligibility requirements and specific terms of the program. Your daughter has a lot at stake here considering the scholarship opportunity and her future. It may be worth discussing this situation with a defense attorney in your area. He or she would be able to approach the prosecutor and reach an agreement where your daughter takes responsibility for the offense without losing her scholarship. Many lawyers offer free consultations for the first 30 minutes or so. Ask about this when you call. Let us know what happens. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Rachel
      Fri, 29 Apr 2011 at 07:16

      Two years ago while living in Ga I was charged with an MIP, minor in possession of alcohol by consumption. I then completed the diversion program. I now live in Kentucky and received another MIP (by consumption) and was wondering if the diversion program would still be available to me (in Kentucky).
      Dear Rachel: It is possible that diversion would be available to you again since you’re in a different jurisdiction. Very few states exchange diversion program information meaning Georgia hasn’t shared your history with Kentucky. Keep in mind, though, that a second shot at diversion in Kentucky for another alcohol offense may not be offered. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • deep
      Sat, 30 Apr 2011 at 12:34

      me in toronto canada i was charged under 5000 theft and got date for diversion programe it has been done succesfully and now nothing show up on my record i just want to know if someone asked me hv u even been srrested or charged wt should i tell ?
      and m gonna apply for citizen also. do i need to explain them everything whatever happenned?
      Dear Deep: Always be sure to read the language on an application very carefully. If you were in fact arrested for this offense and/or charged in court before you went through diversion, then you would have to answer “yes” to that question. However, most applications ask about prior “convictions” in which case you could answer “no”. As for applying for citizenship, you need to contact an immigration attorney who will be able to answer your question. You may be required to disclose this incident as a prior arrest and/or charge depending on the circumstances of your case, but you should also be given the opportunity to explain how the case was resolved and that the charges were ultimately dismissed. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • ALICIA
      Tue, 03 May 2011 at 02:39

      I’M 19 AND IN THE STATE OF TEXAS. I WAS IN WALMART WITH MY FRIEND AND WE WERE CAUGHT FOR SHOPLIFTING. I ONLY TOOK $30.00 WORTH OF JEWELRY BUT MY FRIEND TOOK $100 WORTH OF JEWELRY AND THE STORE EMPLOYEES TOLD US TO COME WITH THEM AND TOOK US TO THE LITTLE ROOM IN THE BACK OF THE STORE AND THE COPS WERE CALLED. I WAS GIVEN A CITATION FOR SHOPLIFTING AND I GOT BANNED FROM THE STORE THIS IS MY FIRST OFFENSE AND I’M SCARED. PLEASE TELL ME WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN COURT?
      PS. I WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN I REGRET EVER STEALING ESPECIALLY IF I WANT TO GO TO THE ARMY THANKS.
      Dear Alicia: Since this is your first offense, you’ll probably be offered a chance to participate in a “diversion” program. Once you complete the terms of diversion, the case will be closed and you won’t have a record. The legal process will be explained to you when you go to court. Don’t return to the store or trespassing charges may be filed against you. If diversion isn’t available, you may be placed on probation for a period of time. If that happens, you can apply for expungement of your record after you successfully complete probation. Ask your probation officer about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jan
      Wed, 04 May 2011 at 05:14

      Hi there.
      I am located in Ontario, Canada.
      I was recently given the diversion program for a theft under $5000 charge, first offense. Someone already asked a similar question, but just to clarify, if anyone ever asks me if I have ever been arrested I have to say yes? I was not formally arrested. I just followed the loss prevention officer to his work room. And if so, who would as me if I have been arrested? An employer, customs? Also, I have heard that I can no longer travel to the USA as my fingerprinting number would show up on their system until I get it destroyed by the RCMP. I am not sure if this is correct. If you have any information on this I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for your time.
      Dear Jan: An “arrest” usually involves a law enforcement official who has taken you into custody. If your incident only involved the loss prevention person in his office, then you weren’t arrested and you can answer accordingly. As far as your fingerprints affecting your travel status out of the country, you’ll have to check with your immigration authorities or the RCMP. Since you completed a diversion program, it’s unlikely that any restrictions on your travel are in place. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Zack
      Sat, 07 May 2011 at 07:51

      HI I was arrested for a DUI a couple months back and recently I was citied for possesion of a alcoholic beverage. I am 19 and was wondering if I could get diversion for the citaiton still, even though I have the DUI
      Dear Zack: Yes, it’s possible that diversion is an option, but depends on the rules and policies of the court as well as the laws of your state. When you go to your first court appearance, you will have an opportunity to speak with a court or probation officer. Ask him/her about the possibility of being placed in a diversion program. Remember that if you get another minor in possession citation, diversion would probably not be an option. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • tl
      Mon, 09 May 2011 at 11:17

      i was arrested for possession of marijuana and it was my first offense so i completed the diversion program. i am just wondering if the charge will show on my record when i apply for a job or if i have to say anything about it on my application for the job? basically do i have a criminal record since i have completed diversion?
      Dear TL: Since you completed the diversion program, you shouldn’t have a record regarding this incident. If asked on an application if you’ve been convicted of a crime, you can answer “no” since the intent of diversion is to keep you from having a record. Read any question you’re required to answer carefully and answer truthfully. You can check with the court you were in and ask about any record that might exist. If you’re told that you do have one, ask about the process to destroy or expunge the record. It’s a simple process and you don’t necessarily need a lawyer. The court may have a form that you complete and file. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Melody
      Sun, 15 May 2011 at 01:01

      I am 20 yrs old and was caught shoplifting in Raleigh, NC. This is my very FIRST time ever to get in trouble with the law. The lady who caught me called the mall cops and told them that I stole from her store. She handed them my I.D. and the item I stole. They took me to their office and gave me a citation or ticket…not sure what it was. It was a pink sheet of paper with my court date and a detail of what I stole. The item cost was about $14. I am currently a rising senior in college and all of my tuition is paid by financial aid. I have never been to court and I am really scared that this will show up on my record. I have not been able to sleep because this incident has been on my mind everyday. I feel really bad for making such a bad decision and I will never do it again. I want to know if this will affect my financial aid and will this stay permanently on my record? I was told to ask for the First Offenders Program, but I don’t even know what that is and I am really scared because I don’t have a job right now and I can’t afford to pay for these things. Will I also have to pay for any fees that the store may charge me because I am not from Raleigh, and I have a different address than the one I gave to the officers. Please let me know what I should do to get this off my record. I will never never never do it again. I didn’t know all the consequences that I would have to face and now that I have done my research, I am really scared that this stupid mistake will ruin my life forever.
      Dear Melody: Since you are going to court for the incident, you probably will not receive a “civil demand” or fine from the store. It sounds like the first offenders program is like diversion which is usually offered to people like you with no criminal record. Diversion gives you the opportunity to avoid having a record as long as you successfully complete the terms of the program which may include community service, a fine and/or classes or counseling. You should be allowed to set up a payment plan to pay for any fine so you don’t have to come up with the total amount at once. It’s very unlikely that this will affect your financial aid since you are likely to be placed in a diversion program and therefore, avoid any record. You could ask a financial aid counselor for confirmation, but typically a person’s financial aid is affected by felony or drug related charges. Finally, click here for the eligibility requirements for federal student aid. We’re glad to hear you learned from this incident. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jane
      Mon, 16 May 2011 at 08:47

      Hello, I was caught shoplifting for food in a nearby store in my house. I am not a citizen, and I am applying for a permanent residency since I just got married last february. I am under student visa, and I was really struggling financially to feed my daughter and my husband. My husband has a full time job, but he has a lot of debt. I was desperate and stole some food for the day. The total amount that I took is less than $100. I am so scared right now because I am not a citizen. Will I be deported? I am legally here, and I have been studying for almost 3 years now. I have a 4.0 GPA in a local community college. This is my first offense, and it is only out of desperation. The police said, I will receive a letter in the mail. I am not so sure if I can get a diversion, since I am not a citizen. Please help me. I just need an advice. Thank you
      Dear Jane: The store may choose to send you a “civil demand” letter requesting payment of a civil fine. If this occurs, be sure to pay the fine on time and that may be the end of the matter and you will not have to go to court or have anything on your record. However, if charges end up being filed, you will receive a notice in the mail to appear in court. Since this is your first offense, it is likely that you will be offered some type of diversion program. It may not matter that you are not a citizen as far as being offered diversion, but you need to speak with a local immigration attorney to find out how this incident could affect your residency status. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • kristin simms
      Mon, 16 May 2011 at 09:54

      I am on a 6 year diversion program. I have completed 6 months and I have been on phone reporting for 4 of those months. I have paid my court costs and also completed my 100 hours of community service. I cannot complete my teaching degree while on the diversion program so i was wondering what the chances of getting an early termination might be.
      Dear Kristin: You can contact the person who is supervising your diversion and ask about an early termination. Since you’ve completed the terms except for the full period of time, the court may take into consideration your education goals and future. You could also contact a local lawyer who practices either criminal law or juvenile law for assistance. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jane
      Thu, 19 May 2011 at 08:38

      Hello again, I committed a petty theft in California just recently. I am already an adult, and I just stole some food for 2 different stores worth $120 (both stores). The first store didn’t caught me, but the second store did. The police gave me two tickets, which means probably 2 different cases for petty theft. My question are: (1) Since it happened only in 1 day, in the matter of an hour will it be considered as 1st offense in 2 accounts or will it be considered as 2 offenses? (2) What is the possible punishment in this crimes? (3) Is there a bearing if I only stole food for my family versus if it’s luxury or clothing? (4) Will I be in jail? This is the first time I did this. :( (5) and is there a possibility for the first store to lower their charges to trespassing, since they really didn’t caught me.
      Please help me! I hired a lawyer 2 days ago, but she was pretty mean to me and didn’t answer all of my questions. Thank you
      Dear Jane: Since the police gave you two tickets, there are two different charges. Your lawyer should explain to you what will happen when you go to court and what the possible consequences are. You may be eligible for a diversion program. If you’re not happy with your present lawyer, consider hiring a new one. That’s your decision. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Mike
      Mon, 23 May 2011 at 01:38

      So, I stole 3 Jooses (alcohol) from a 711 like a few months back and my court date is on July 21st. I had a Diversion meeting but I thought it was scheduled for this Thursday not last Thursday so obviously I missed it. What do I do? PLEASE help me. D;
      Dear Mike: Contact the probation department or whoever is in charge of supervising the diversion program and explain that you got the dates mixed up. They will probably reschedule a time for you to go in the office and get started on the program. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • mo
      Tue, 24 May 2011 at 09:16

      My friend got caught stealing something and he isn’t legally allowed to tell me what he stole or he could get in more trouble. Any idea of what it is???
      Dear Mo: We do not know what it could be as the possibilities are endless. It sounds like your friend is fearful of getting into more trouble, so respecting his wishes and not asking more about the incident probably would make him feel better.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Mat Gill
      Thu, 26 May 2011 at 03:21

      Hey I was busted for Possession of Marijuana 2nd which is the misdemeanor charge of possession in the state of Alabama. I live in Georgia but am going to the court date on June 2nd. My friend claimed the marijuana however all 3 of us received the charge. I plan to ask for diversion but I am wondering if I should plead guilty to the charge. If I do choose diversion, how will it work with me living out of state?
      Dear Mat: Diversion programs may vary slightly from state to state. While some divert the case altogether from the justice system and therefore, charges may not even be filed, others may require that you plead guilty and the judge defers acceptance of the plea so you can complete the program. Then the case is dismissed. When you go to your court date, you should have the opportunity to speak with a court or probation officer who can answer your questions and explain what is being offered to you and what that entails. Usually diversion can be done out of state, but you may have to find the agencies that either offer the classes or the substance abuse evaluations/treatment. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Mila
      Sun, 29 May 2011 at 11:07

      California. When I was 13 (I am now 20) I was caught with shoplifting. They told me it was a misdemeanor and I never had to appear in court. They arrested me, took my picture, and took my fingerprints. My parents came to pick me up. I had to pay a fine and attend a one day program but still to this day I don’t know if I have a criminal record or not. I’m applying for accounting internships soon and I’m scared and worried it will show up on my background check. My question to you is will this show up on a background check even if 3rd party tries to access this information? And, do I have a criminal record since I was never convicted?
      Dear Mila: It sounds like you most likely completed a diversion program. Since you never went to court, you do not have any record of conviction and therefore, it’s very unlikely that the incident would show up on a background check. To find out whether there is any record of the arrest, you could call the court or the police department that handled your case, explain the circumstances and request a copy of your record. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Mila
      Mon, 30 May 2011 at 01:59

      Will my arrest show up on a background check since I was a minor at the time? Since I never went to court and was never convicted, you’re saying that I do not have a criminal record and that it’s clean so employers won’t find anything?
      Dear Mila: You should not have a record and your arrest will most likely not show up on a background check for this incident since you were a minor at the time. However, to confirm this and make sure you do not have a record, you may want to request a copy of your record from the police department or the court. Best of luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Peggy
      Mon, 30 May 2011 at 10:34

      My friend and I were caught shoplifting from Walmart. The value of the items was about $39. We were arrested and charged with 6th degree larceny and released with a citation with a scheduled court appearance in a week. Although we were photographed by the store security for their own purposes (we are obviously not allowed in the store again), we were never fingerprinted or handcuffed by the police officer. This is a first offense for both of us. What sort of restitution should we expect?
      Dear Peggy: The fines/restitution vary from state to state and court to court, but generally they are somewhere between $100 to several hundred dollars. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • James
      Tue, 31 May 2011 at 12:27

      How long does it usually take a judge to make his decision on a request for early dismissal of diversion? My probation officer told me I completed everything I was suppose to do.
      Dear James: If you successfully completed a diversion program, and all the paperwork, motions, etc. have been filed with the court showing your compliance, it usually will take somewhere between a week to several weeks for the judge to sign the dismissal. However, this depends on the volume of cases before the court, size of the county, etc. If it’s already been several weeks, you may want to ask your P.O. how long it usually takes in cases similar to yours. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Peggy
      Tue, 31 May 2011 at 03:12

      Because it is a first offense for both of us, should we expect community service? We have also considered registering for a class with the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention. If we do that before our court date, will it make a difference to the judge? We want this removed from our records as soon as we have completed whatever punishment we receive. If it does not stay on our record, will it impact our ability to apply for jobs?
      Dear Peggy: Yes, usually a first offense merits some community service. Once completed, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Taking a shoplifting course, as you suggest, is a good idea. Bring verification of completion of the class with you to court and show the judge or probation officer. It can’t hurt. This first incident should not have any effect on future job or education plans. Learn from this experience. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • James
      Tue, 31 May 2011 at 07:07

      I have a motion hour set on june the 3rd. Do I have to appear, will my lawyer be there or just the request letter i wrote to the judge and evidence showing that I completed my diversion? Should I go or will i just get a letter in the mail stating on what I do?
      Dear James: Contact the court by telephone, give them the case number and ask if you need to appear. You may not have to if you’ve completed all of the diversion terms. But, if the court requires your appearance before dismissing the case, you don’t want to miss the hearing. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Tina
      Wed, 01 Jun 2011 at 06:55

      Can employers see your arrest record when you were a minor on a background check? I’m in Califonia.
      Dear Tina: Generally, juvenile records are not public or available to employers on background checks. Take a look at this government website in California for information about juvenile records, expungement, etc.
      http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/other/crimlawclean.html
      Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Fili
      Wed, 01 Jun 2011 at 07:19

      Is there an option to “buy out” of the community service hours in a diversion case?
      Dear Fili: You usually don’t have “options” when participating in a diversion program. The terms are set and the court expects full compliance. If you are unable to do the community service hours, explain the situation to the judge or probation officer. They may substitute another consequence so that you can finish the program. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jerry
      Thu, 02 Jun 2011 at 01:34

      Im set to be in the Diversion program for unlawful consumption of a minor, and was told that if the state so choses, they can ask me to take an alcohol test. I want to know how do they administer the test and also how they’ll inform me that I am to take the test?
      Dear Jerry: If you’re required to submit a test sample to see if you’re using alcohol or smoking marijuana, it will be a urine test. You’ll be told where to go in your area. Once there, you’re given a cup to urinate in and it’s analyzed to see if you’re staying clean. Remember that marijuana stays in your system for about 30 days. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • man
      Thu, 02 Jun 2011 at 05:18

      lives ontario canada. diversion progreme has been done 6 month ago. i went to police station to get police record nothing show up on it now I m going to apply citizen.in the application they asks me have u been convicted in last 4 years whats my answer should be ? yes or no and do i need to distroy my fingerprits and pictures before applying citizen it would affect ? once diverson programe done succesfully and if i goes to cross US border they knows that i been fingerprinted or charged ?
      Dear Man: The purpose of completing a diversion program is to avoid having a record or conviction. So, if you finished the program six months ago, as you say, there shouldn’t be a criminal record since you weren’t “convicted” of a crime. Pay close attention to all questions on applications and answer truthfully. As far as having any affect on immigration documents, we can’t say. You need to speak with an immigration counselor or lawyer about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Sally
      Fri, 03 Jun 2011 at 10:59

      I am 20 years old living in New York and was caught shoplifting around 160 dollars worth of merchandise from a retail store last night. I was handcuffed and brought in to the station, where they took my information and fingerprints. I also admitted to shoplifting once before in that store, thinking they would take my honesty into consideration but it seems that just screwed me. I was let go after the questions and not put in prison. I received a court appearance date for a few weeks from today and am being charged with petty larceny. I have already signed and admitted to taking the merchandise so I have to, and am going to plead guilty, but I would like a public defender there with me. Reading up though, it sounds like to get the public defender you must plead not guilty at your first court date. I am very scared and do not want to go to jail/prison. It was wrong what I did and not in character of me at all. I am sorry not just for getting caught but for committing the crime itself. I am going to be a senior at college in the fall. Would I be eligible for the diversion plan? and do I ask about it on the first appearance? I just would like to know what to expect on the court date, I don’t want to do anything that will risk receiving jail time.
      Dear Sally: Depending on the policies of the court, you may be eligible for diversion. Once you complete the diversion program (community service, a class, etc.) the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. When you go to court, you’ll meet with a probation officer who will explain the process to you. If you admit the shoplifting, as you stated you want to do, then diversion will be discussed. If you plead not guilty, then you may be eligible for appointment of a public defender to represent you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Brett K.
      Sun, 05 Jun 2011 at 11:00

      Hello I am currently on diversion in Wa state for assault 2 and theft. One year into the program I was charged w a DUI. I have a good lawyer who somehow got this case into diversion as well even though Im already in the program. I thought this was going to result in revocation of my felony diversion when I showed up for the DUI arraignment but somehow my lawyer got me into the program twice. He is highly regarded in local court and was able to do this somehow as the county has new prosecutors who wish to gain repoire with him so they did him a favor they wouldnt normally do. Plus I have turned my life around and am doing all neccesary things they told me to do. He assured me everything would work out if I just stayed out of trouble. Needless to say I was relieved. Upon reporting to the div office last week I was informed that I was currently failing to comply on my first diversion agreement due to the new charges. Why would they knowingly do this if they wer just going to violate me anyways? Im beginning to think my lawyer may have done this knowing fully what would happen. I feel entrapped and would have takin it to trial or stipend to continue till after my completion of the first months away. I dont know whAt to do! Help!
      Dear Brett: First of all, depending on the terms of your diversion program, you could be in violation of the program regardless of whether the second case was continued or eventually went to trial. Often, these programs require no additional contact with law enforcement meaning that even if you are charged with a new crime and not even convicted, you could be in violation. It sounds like your attorney is very experienced and has a good reputation if the prosecutors were wanting to do him a favor. Talk to him and let him know your concerns. See what he has to say. If you still feel uncertain about his actions and not letting you know how your first case would be affected by the new charges, you could consult with another local attorney and get a second opinion. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Victoria
      Mon, 06 Jun 2011 at 09:30

      Just an update on my case that I explained months back. My case has been vacated! So word of advice, get a lawyer and listen to them well and do not do it again. I learned my lesson but it took time and money, two of the most important things needed in my life to advance to the next step right now. Regardless, because this issue is resolved, I can continue applying to grad school and confidently check “NO” in the convicted of a crime section. Thank you again Judge for the info and good luck to everyone else!
      You’re welcome – glad things worked out for you. Good luck with your education.

    • man
      Tue, 07 Jun 2011 at 09:48

      hello sir
      i was handcuffed and took me to the car back seat.while they were searching my background i was sitting in back .they didnt take me to the police station they gave me court appears and fingerprints dates,so it means i was arrested?????
      Dear Man: Under the law, there is such a thing as detaining you for a brief period for investigative purposes: checking to see if there’s an outstanding warrant, past tickets, etc. Under the laws in your state, you may not have been officially arrested since you were released with a ticket and court date. If you decide to hire a lawyer or the public defender is appointed to represent you, explain what happened and he or she will know how to proceed. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • sami
      Thu, 09 Jun 2011 at 07:32

      Hello sir, a few years ago I was arrested for shoplifting. It was a first time offense and I received diversion as a result. I was recently offered a great summer job but am expected to take a FBI background check. Will this shoplifting incident show up on that if I successfully completed the diversion program? I worry because its through my stepmothers agency and she isn’t even aware of the incident. I don’t want to risk embarassing or giving her a bad name. This is an amazing opportunity for me that I need so bad but worry the past is going to come back and bite me. Any advice?
      Dear Sami: As long as you successfully completed the diversion program, then you do not have any record of a conviction. However, sometimes a person’s arrest record will show up on a background check, so if you were placed under arrest it’s possible that it could show up. Try contacting either the court where the charges were originally filed or the police department that handled the incident and ask for a copy of your record so you can see exactly what, if anything, appears on it. It’s not likely that this incident will show up as the purpose of diversion is to give offenders a second chance by allowing them to avoid obtaining a record for minor offenses, but glitches in the system occur, which is why it’s a good idea to get a copy of your record. Best of luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • MJ
      Sat, 11 Jun 2011 at 05:58

      My daughter is in a diversion program. Is a law enforcement agency able to find this in her record someday if she applies to become a Federal Agent like her dad is.
      Dear MJ: Since the purpose of diversion programs is to divert the case away from the justice system and give the person an opportunity to avoid having a record for the incident, it most likely will not appear on her record. However, every court and every state handles diversion differently. Sometimes charges are actually filed and then dismissed upon completion of the program and sometimes charges are not filed at all so long as the person completes diversion. If she is a minor, it is less likely that the incident will show up. Once she completes diversion, request a copy of her record through the court or the law enforcement agency that handled the incident so you can see whether or not anything appears on it. Good luck to your daughter.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Erica
      Sat, 11 Jun 2011 at 12:48

      So I am 15 and was caught shoplifting for $56.00 in the state of WA and I am eligible for diversion..I am supposed to be moving by August, and was wondering how long am I supposed to stay in the community? will this affect my plans of moving? If so, how long?
      Dear Erica: Moving out of your community most likely will not be a problem. You will just have to complete the community service and any other terms of diversion in your new community. Let the person in charge of supervising diversion know as soon as you start the program your plans to move so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Dany
      Tue, 14 Jun 2011 at 11:14

      I got cought shoplifting I took about 300$ worth of stuff I am 18 and have never committed a crime before. I have an athletic scholarship and am afraid that I could loose it? also is there any way of just getting off with a warning or JUST community servise?
      Dear Dany: Depending on the laws in your state, you may be eligible for diversion. That means when you complete some community service, pay a fine, attend a class or counseling, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. So, your scholarship shouldn’t be in jeopardy. When you go to court, everything will be explained to you by a court or probation officer. Don’t miss the hearing and be honest in discussing this incident. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Leslie
      Wed, 15 Jun 2011 at 04:46

      If I was never convicted, can employers still see your juvenile records because I went to the juvenile county jail and they said that my records will show up whether or not I was convicted or not. I am scared because I thought juvenile records are not public information and will not show up on background checks. I am wondering if I should seal my record.
      Dear Leslie: We suggest you Google the name of your state and “juvenile records” for detailed information. Every state has its own laws regarding privacy, juvenile records and disclosure. Generally, employers don’t require or search juvenile records. Sealing or expunging your juvenile record, if one exists, is a good idea if you’re eligible. It’s relatively easy to do and doesn’t require a lawyer. Take a look at the court’s website and see if they explain the process for expungement. There may be an online form that you can complete and file. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Connor
      Wed, 15 Jun 2011 at 04:56

      I am 18 and have no criminal record. I recently got a $1000 ticket for marijuana possession in Oregon for having less than an ounce (it was around a gram.) I plan to accept the charge, as it is only a violation and not a crime. I also plan to sign up for a diversion program to have the charge taken off my record. I was wondering, will insurance companies be able to raise my insurance if I have the charge removed? And if I cannot for some reason complete the diversion will insurance companies be able to see the ticket and raise my rates? thank you for your time
      Dear Connor: That’s a good question and the answer depends on the policies of the insurance company read together with your state’s laws on the subject. If you successfully complete diversion, you won’t have a record to be concerned about. However, if you aren’t eligible for diversion or don’t complete it and formal charges are filed, it’s a different situation. Any record that results from formal charges may be available to your insurance company. You might want to run this by a criminal defense attorney or contact your insurance company, anonymously, and ask about their policy regarding criminal records. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Dean
      Thu, 16 Jun 2011 at 09:36

      Hi,
      I was arrested for vandalism when I was 18 (I am 25 now) and I completed a diversion program. My question is will the diversion show up on a criminal background check in the state of California? I am looking to get a job in the California school system and want to know if anything will show up on my record that can hurt me.
      Dear Dean: The purpose of a diversion program is to keep you out of the official criminal system and to avoid having a record. So, if you successfully completed the program, there shouldn’t be a record that would appear on a background check. You can contact the court you were involved with and ask about any record that might exist. If they tell you that there is a record that would be available to the public, ask about the process to expunge (destroy) your record. It’s a simple process and doesn’t require a lawyer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Amanda
      Tue, 21 Jun 2011 at 10:08

      Dear Judge,

      I was charged shoplifting in IL. Last Friday I went to the court and my attorney told me to attend the class offered by diversion program(I scheduled it on tomorrow). However until now I realize this program is footprints program, which is for women involved in sex trade. I’m not sure if my attorney striked a deal with anyone, does it matter which program I am in? I’m really worried about the reputation. Thank you for your time.
      Dear Amanda: It sounds as if you’re signed up for the wrong class. Courts often have a variety of programs specific to the offenses charged. You may wanrt to call the lawyer and ask about this, or the court and explain the situation. You should be able to enroll in the shoplifting class. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Amanda
      Tue, 21 Jun 2011 at 12:15

      My attorney asked me for another $500 attorney fee to change the program, but I can’t afford more. Will the judge dismiss the case without inspecting which program I am in? What I really worried is that if I attend this program, is there anyone think I really get involved in sex trade?
      Dear Amanda: Since everyone has the right to represent themselves, you might consider contacting the court on your own (by letter). Explain what has happened and that you can’t afford the additional legal fees. Your request to simply change the class to the appropriate one should not be a problem for the court. Keep copies of any correspondence you send. You could also call the probation officer, if one was involved in this, and see if you can make the change. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • female
      Tue, 21 Jun 2011 at 03:17

      I recently got caught shoplifting $8.50 earrings from icing by claire’s. I am 19 years old and have never committed a crime before. Cops were not called and I was not arrested and the manager did not file the complaint with the police but he filed it with the corporate company. I go to college and plan on going to medical school. Unfortunately this occurred in CA and I live in NY. Will i have to go to court? If i do where will my court be, which state? If i get fined should i pay it or is it an admission of guilt? Can I be offered a diversion in Los Angeles if my court is there and can I get offered a diversion in New York? When will my court date be since i was ticketed then and there?
      Since the police weren’t called and you don’t live in California, you’re not likely to be charged with shoplifting. You may receive a letter from the store or their attorneys requiring payment of a fine. This is called a “civil demand” that, once paid, usually ends the case. These civil fines can run several hundred dollars, so don’t be surprised when you get the letter. Also, it can take a few months before you hear anything. This shouldn’t have any affect on your future education plans, but another brush with the law could. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • female
      Wed, 22 Jun 2011 at 01:45

      If i pay a civil demand will i have a record if the cops weren’t called? If it does go to court can i be offered a diversion program since I am 19 and it was my first offense and I stole an item for $8.50? Since I am out of state could I opt for a court appearance in the state i live in, New York, rather than the state i committed the crime in, California?
      Dear Female: If a civil demand is the only consequence of this incident, you won’t have a “record.” The only record that might exist is with the store for their purposes (in the event you return, etc). As an adult and this being your first offense, yes, diversion may be available where you live. But a court in NY wouldn’t have jurisdiction over the shoplifting. You could seek approval from the California court to complete the community service work in NY and send proof of completion to them. It’s unlikely, however, that CA will pursue this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • TS
      Wed, 22 Jun 2011 at 07:36

      If I pay the civil demand, will i have a record of shoplifting? Also If a Medical School runs a background on me, will it show that I have shoplifted and payed a civil demand for it? I also heard there is a website that lists shoplifters, could potential employers find me on that even if i am not charged with the crime?
      Dear TS: There won’t be an official court record if you’re not formally charged with shoplifting. If the only thing that happens is the civil demand from the store, the only record that will exist is the one kept by the store for their own purposes. Schools don’t do background checks with retail establishments. There are private organizations that keep reports of shoplifting incidents. If a store, for example, is a member of the organization, they can check with them about a future employee before hiring them. The names on the list are submitted by member stores. You don’t need to worry about anything showing up on a background check if this is your only offense. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Rae
      Wed, 22 Jun 2011 at 07:55

      Dear Judge
      A few months ago I was drunk and smashed a window and broke my hand. I went to A & E and the police were called because I said I was assaulted. I said this because I was scared and embarrassed and drunk. I lost my phone and wallet and the police called me to say they found them. They found them near the broken window. Nobody pressed charges. About a month later they came and charged with with criminal damage and lying to the police. I want to pay for the window but the police said that the owner already did and didn’t worry about it. Now I have to go to court in 2 weeks. The police told me that they have applied for a diversion for me. I have never been in trouble before with the police, and I have stopped drinking since then. I have to go to court on my mother’s birthday :( What will happen? I am 25 years male. Should I get a lawyer? What will this diversion be for me? Thank you for listening.
      Dear Rae: You don’t necessarily need a lawyer at this point unless you decide to speak with one. That is your decision. When you go to court, the legal process will be explained to you. Since this is your first offense, you may be offered “diversion” as you mentioned. Once you complete the diversion program, the charge will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Britt
      Sat, 25 Jun 2011 at 06:34

      Hi, thank you for taking your time to help out everyone! I went through and read the comments and was not able to come to a conclusion on what my options may be. Earlier this week I was caught shoplifting from Walmart (Pinal County, AZ), the amount was around $140. I cooperated and gave back the merchandise. The police were called and I was given a citation and told to appear in court next month. The police officer mentioned that if I had the same attitude with the judge that was a good thing (not quite sure what that meant). The security guard that stopped me asked if I had been caught steeling from a Walmart, Lowes or Sams club before and if I had been convicted of shoplifting in the state of Arizona. I answered “no” to both since they did not apply. The truth of the matter is that about 4 years ago I had been caught shoplifting in the state of California, I completed the community service and was not required to pay any fines. Before moving to Arizona I went through the process of having my record expunged, I had never heard of a diversion program before then. I was able to have my record expunged but sadly made the stupid mistake again now. I am wondering if this would affect my chances of taking the diversion program, since it was another state? Also a few months ago I received a misdemeanor speeding citation, I pled guilty not know my options with that. Is that something that will affect the option for the diversion program as well? I know that when applying for a job I can safely mark no to previous convictions because of my precipice conviction being expunged, but if I am asked by the judge if this has happened before I assume he can see my record, or do they not see out of state information? I also was reading that people were getting letters in the mail about the diversion program, since this just happened I do not know if I will receive a letter or not, but is there someone I can reach out to before my court date regarding this to see if I can complete diversion instead? I do not have the funds for a lawyer, unfortunately. I appreciate any help or advice you can give! Thank you again
      Dear Britt: You most likely will have to wait until your court date to get some answers and to find out whether diversion is an option in your case. The speeding ticket should not affect whether diversion is an option for you. It’s possible that the court and prosecutor will find out about your prior offense in CA, but since you got it expunged, it may not appear on your record. Even if the court/prosecutor see that you had a prior offense which was ultimately expunged, you may still be offered diversion depending on the policies of that court and prosecutor’s office. Although diversion is much more common for first-time offenders, it can be offered for a second offense depending on the policies and facts and circumstances of the case. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • female/TS
      Tue, 28 Jun 2011 at 03:27

      Thank you for taking the time to answer all of my questions. I just have one more question. If you remember my incident happened in CA but I live in NY and I just recently came back to NY. Is that ok or did I have to stay in CA?
      Dear TS: You’re welcome. Unless you were told by a court or the police not to leave the state, your return home shouldn’t be a problem. If you didn’t have a date to appear in court, you haven’t put yourself in the position where a warrant would be issued.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Sasha
      Thu, 30 Jun 2011 at 10:30

      Hi I have a question since I didn’t see the answer to my concerns in previous questions that was asked.I wanted to know in the process of completing the diversion program if an employer conduct a FBI background check will it show on my record that I’m in a diversion program since the program is not completed as yet or would anything show on my record.is cdp program the same as the diversion program?
      Dear Sasha: The purpose of a diversion program is to keep you out of the formal juvenile justice system and avoid having a record. So, in your situation, there shouldn’t be a record that would show up in a background check if you successfully complete the program. We don’t know what “cdp” stands for in your community since we hear from teens around the world. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • chris samayo
      Sat, 02 Jul 2011 at 06:34

      i am 13,i live in texas and I shoplifted earphones that cost 49 bucks.Do.i get a diversion.Because this is my first time
      Dear Chris: Since this is your first time, you will probably be offered diversion. So when you finish some community service or attend a class about shoplifting, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. You may not be offered diversion a second time, so make this the last time you steal. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Dona
      Sun, 03 Jul 2011 at 04:33

      My wife and I were (age around 35) caught shoplifting from Real canadian superstart on july 02 in toronto. The value of the items was about $89. We were taken to security room and charged with shop lifting. The security took sign from us on the printed paper (we did not really understand what was in there). Police was also informed and showed up after an hour. Upon watching the survielance ploce officer excused my wife and charged me for theft. The dates to court appearnace is in first week of August. I was also given a date for finger printing the day before the court appearance. Although we signed the papers as demanded by the store security (we are obviously not allowed in the store again), I am not sure what elese they will do? This is a first time offense for me and I am very concerned with my job and family. I consulted one of the lawyers and he said that diversion may be possible without criminal record. What If I plead guilty by myself without lawyer (as I can not afford)on the court date? What sort of restitution should I expect?
      Dear Dona: When you go to court the legal process will be explained to you. You don’t necessarily need a lawyer at that point. If you decide to plead not guilty, the court may appoint a lawyer (public defender) to represent you. If you’re going to admit the shoplifting, then diversion may be available. Once you finish the diversion program (community service, a class, restitution or a fine), the case is dismissed and you won’t have a record. Restitution and a fine may run into several hundred dollars. It differs in each jurisdiction, state or province. Take a look at this Canadian website for information/statistics on shoplifting. Good luck.
      http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/doczone/2009/shoplifting/factsheet.html
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Tim Reichert
      Sun, 03 Jul 2011 at 04:44

      Question: My wife did something extremely stupid (1st time) and stold candy of all things worth $20. She paid the store $250 civil demand but the police gave her a pink slip with a court date. Does she have to go to court since she paid the $250? If yes, should she contact them ahead of time to see about a diversion program? We cannot afford a lawyer. We are under enough financial stress. I am so mad at her.
      What is the best way to handle this? Thanks..If we wait until the court date, aren’t you going in front of a judge? That is why I am wondering if going early and trying to arrange something is better? Thanks!
      Dear Tim: There are two sides to a shoplifting incident: civil and criminal. Your wife has taken care of the civil side which usually includes paying the civil demand to the store. The citation she received is her court date to respond to the shoplifting charge filed against her. That’s the criminal side of this incident. When she goes to court, the legal process will be explained to her. She’ll meet with a court or probation officer and likely, since this is her first offense, be offered diversion. Once the terms of diversion are met, the case will be dismissed. She doesn’t need a lawyer for this first court appearance – it’s her decision whether to hire one in advance or not. If she admits the charge at court, then she’ll be expected to finish diversion. If she decides to plead not guilty, the court may appoint a public defender to represent her at trial. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • McKala
      Sun, 03 Jul 2011 at 10:53

      Ok so I supposedly stole under 100 dollars worth of stuff from walmart, which I didnt. I was offered a diversion program and completed it. The court said I was done, gave me paper work saying I done the diversion program but they never gave me a paper saying I didnt have to pay the fine but my court designated worker said I didnt have to, now walmart tells me I still have to pay the fine even though the court says im done with the case, do I still have to pay?
      Dear McKala: In most states, there are two sides to a shoplifting case: criminal and civil. If you completed the diversion program and the court has closed its file, you have reached the end of the criminal side. On the civil side, which has nothing to do with the court, stores are authorized under the law to impose a fine on shoplifters. It usually runs several hundred dollars regardless of the value of the item(s) taken. Once the civil fine is paid the store closes its file on you. They’ll keep their own record of the incident in the event you return and steal again. When the fine is paid, the store will send you a receipt for your records. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • female/TS
      Tue, 05 Jul 2011 at 12:51

      Hello again, I just want to thank you for helping me get through this tough time. I received the civil demand letter from a law firm representing Icing. Upon receiving the letter I called their offices and asked if criminal charges would be made against me. He said that since cops were not called and the report was filed with corporate that I will not be having any criminal action taken against me. I was wondering if that is correct if their law offices said so. I will be paying the civil demand and I will never do anything like this ever again.
      Dear TS: Yes, that is a fairly common way shoplifting incidents are handled. Once you pay the civil fine, the case should be closed. The store apparently has chosen to handle this out of court by way of a fine. So, they’re not likely to press formal charges. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice)

    • Dona
      Wed, 06 Jul 2011 at 08:56

      Thanks for your help. I have a finger printing in the first week of august for the theft charge. I am thinking to start community services ahead of court appearance date as advised by my atorney. Can I do in advance? If I get a diversion that saves my job and also, these hours will definitely help to close the case. Will my finger printing will also be removed in addition to the criminal record after completing the community services? If only, record is removed and not the fingerprinting should that be an issue if I cross the border later? and also, to find the job in US?
      Please advice
      Dear Dona: Since you have a lawyer, run these questions by him or her. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens. Your questions are good and need to be answered by someone familiar with the specific laws of your state. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jade
      Sat, 09 Jul 2011 at 03:33

      Hi , Me &’ MY Friend Was Caught Shoplifting At Target. It Was $50 We Stole All Together. We Are Minors *14 & 15 . We Only Took Socks &’ Panties. But We Had Pliers On Us . But I Didn’t Have Pliers For Anything Wrong. I Had Them For MY qrandfather. So What Will Happen To Us? And Neither One Of Us Has Been Arrested Or Anything.
      Dear Jade: Since this is your first offense, it is likely that you will be offered diversion. Once you successfully complete the terms of the program, the charges would be dismissed and you would not have any conviction on your record. Remember that the penalties will increase for a second or additional offense, so we hope you and your friend learned from this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Alexandra
      Tue, 12 Jul 2011 at 09:53

      This will be my first, and last offense. I was caught shoplifting at Fred Meyers in Alaska. I was wondering if you could tell me what I should expect? What’s the best way for asking for a diversion? I know I’ve done wrong and did not like doing it at all. But I was taking things to sell so I can feed me and my kids ( we are under very hard finical times). The total amount came to be, rounded up,$91. Any information and/or advice that you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
      Thank you,
      Alexandra
      Dear Alexandra: AsktheJudge.info is an educational website for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens. We can tell you that if this is your first offense, the court may offer a “diversion” program that, once completed, will result in the dismissal of the charge. When you go to court for this incident, the legal process will be explained to you. The court or probation officer will ask if you are going to admit the shoplifting or deny it. If you decide to plead not guilty, a trial will be set. If you admit it, then diversion may be discussed. Make sure this is the last time you steal from anyone. A jail sentence will take you away from your kids and make matters worse for all of you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Korina
      Fri, 15 Jul 2011 at 01:18

      Dear Judge(s),
      I turned 18 last October in 2010, still living with my mommy, in March of 2011, I started working at a bank as a teller. I DIDN’T MEAN TO , but with so many things running in my mind about my financial situation, I took the money home and regretted it right away, I didn’t use the money, but a week later, when investigators caught me, I admitted, and I was arrested (uncuffed) & charged with felony theft. I was taken to a police station, but they let me call my mom to come get me. I got called for a court date, and quickly hired a lawyer. After the court date, my lawyer negotiated and agreed with the prosecutor that I will be doing a “diversion program”. My question is, will I get the diversion program since I have a felony? && while doing the “diversion program”, can i still find a decent job with employers doing a background check and will it show up as “charged/ in process of diversion” ?

      I have goals and dreams I still want to achieve, and i regret taking the money home.. I’m not a bad person, I’ve never even once turned in my libaray book late. I’m going to a good university next fall and i don’t want this to effect my life goal. I live in MN btw.
      Dear Korina: The purpose of a “diversion” program is to keep you from getting a formal “record” that would show up on a background check. So, once you finish the program the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Each state has their own laws regarding lesser crimes and diversion opportunities. Ask your lawyer about this – he/she will be able to tell you the consequences of completing diversion and any future effect on your education and employment pursuits. Good luck – we hope you’ve learned from this experience.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Johan
      Fri, 15 Jul 2011 at 11:48

      I was recently arrested with an underage drinking offense as I am 19 and decided to go with the diversion program.I am also on a hockey scholarship to a division 1 college. Will this be on my record for schools and coaches to view? Also I have the kind of parents that would literally kill me if they found out their golden child got in this sort of trouble.I have to complete community service, take an online course and attend a few counseling sessions. I am trying to do this without having to tell them and learn my lesson and set things straight on my own. If I sign up for local counseling and use my insurance will my parents get some sort of statement in the mail saying the insurance was used for counseling? Answers to both questions would help me out more than you can imagine. Also is there a time limit on the completiion of the program?
      Dear Johan: It’s very unlikely that your school or coaches will find out about this incident as long as you complete the terms of the diversion program. Diversion programs usually work one of two ways. Either charges are filed, but upon successful completion of the program, they are dismissed. Otherwise, charges are not filed at all and will not be so long as you complete the program. If you fail to complete the program, then charges would be filed. Therefore, you do not necessarily have a clean record just because you signed up for the program. You could ask either a probation officer or whoever you report to for the program about how it works in your county, so you know whether charges are currently pending against you. As for the counseling, you could try contacting the insurance company to see whether a statement will be sent to your parents. There is certainly a chance that your counseling services would be noted in a statement though. You could look into whether counseling services are offered through your university as they often are and are either free or very reasonable for students. Finally, most diversion programs do have time requirements to complete the program which may be around 6 months. Again, ask the probation officer or the person in charge of diversion about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • betty
      Sat, 16 Jul 2011 at 02:03

      Dear Judge Tom,
      i was shopplifting at kohl’s..im 17 years old, i regret it because it wasn’t even worth it..it was just a ring and a couple of errings..i want to know waht will happen to me?will it go on my permanent record or my mom’s ?how much will the ticket cost me?im so sorry and i’m worried…thank you so much i appreciate your help!
      Dear Betty: If this is your first offense, there is a good chance that you will be offered diversion. This means that upon successful completion of the program which often includes community service, a fine (usually between $100 to a few hundred dollars), a class and/or counseling, the charges would be dismissed and you would not have any record of a conviction. This will not affect your mom’s record. Remember that if you get in trouble again, the penalties will probably be more harsh, so we hope you learned from this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • cadie
      Mon, 18 Jul 2011 at 11:38

      I got caught shoplifting and now i received a court date in the mail. this is my first offense. in oregon law, 200 dollars is considered a misdemeanor, theft II. how can i get a diversion? do i have to see the judge on my first court date? please help!
      Dear Cadie: On your first court date, you may meet with a court or probation officer. You may be offered diversion if you’re eligible and the court has a diversion program in place. This will be explained to you at the time of the hearing. You may not see a judge unless you decide to plead not guilty and then the case will be set for trial before a judge. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Brandon
      Tue, 19 Jul 2011 at 12:06

      Hey, so since its my first offense shoplifting. on my court date from the mail, i should talk to the officer and ask for a diversion right? if he says no, and i have to see a judge… does that mean i screwed? like, i have to go to jail if i plea guilty?
      Yes, when you meet with the probation officer, if your area has a diversion program, he/she will tell you about it if you’re eligible. It doesn’t mean you’ll be sent to jail if there isn’t one – the court may have other options for first-time offenders. Just don’t steal again or you may be facing some lock-up time. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Female 17
      Tue, 19 Jul 2011 at 10:11

      Ok so i done a diversion program cause i supposedly shoplifted under 70 dollars worth of stuff from walmart. my court worker said since the crimminal case was closed they couldnt do anything about the civil suit. I didnt shoplift and I cant even afford my electric bill this month yet alone pay a fine for something i didnt do but i know walmart is a big company and would win even if I had proof i didnt do it. Is it true i dont have to pay the civil demand because the case is closed with the court? my court worker said “Dont pay it because the criminal case is solved and theres nothing else they can do with you”
      im in KY btw judge
      Dear 17: Askthejudge.info does not provide legal advice to teens or adults. We can tell you that shoplifting involves both a civil and criminal consequence. The store has the option to press charges in court and ask for restitution, or it can impose a civil fine up to several hundred dollars. If you finished the diversion program with the court, it may not necessarily mean you don’t have to pay the civil fine from the store. Take a look at this site for information: http://www.shopliftingprevention.org/shoplifting-laws/kentucky-shoplifting-laws.html
      You may want to run this by a criminal defense lawyer in your area for advice. Many attorneys provide a free consultations for the first 30 minutes or so. Ask about this when you call. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Nancy
      Mon, 25 Jul 2011 at 06:48

      So I was busted with less than 2 grams of pot and I am 21 years old. The charges were made againsy me in the state of idaho. The judge suggeated that I have a pre trial meeting with the prosecuting attorney regarding the diversion program and if I can get into it. This is my very firat offense and I have no previous criminal history. I dont even have as litte as little as a speeding ticket. Do u think I have a good chance of getting in if I take full responsibility and show them that I truly am sorry and that I want to make this right?
      Dear Nancy: If the judge suggested this, your chances are good for getting into the diversion program. Diversion is meant for individuals as yourself: first-time offenders, lesser crimes and the right attitude. Once you finish diversion, the charge will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Cullen
      Wed, 27 Jul 2011 at 12:27

      Hello,

      I was recently arrested in Alabama on a lake for possession of marijuana 2nd. I went to jail and stayed the night. I had no bail, but what they gave me the next morning was an appearance bond stating my offense, which also included a citation for not having my stern light on in my boat, and an over all fine of $1500. I was told to show up and pay the fine, but I do not know what to expect in court and what the judge will sentence me. What happens by paying the fine? I plead guilty? I am guilty of it. It was a tiny amount and I was completely compliant with the police. Any information will be useful. Thank.
      Dear Cullen: Your questions can’t be answered without referring to the specific laws of your state and the policies of the court. If you’re a minor, one of your parents should go with you to court. A court information or probation officer will meet with you and explain the legal process. If you deny the charge, the court may appoint a public defender to represent you. Or your parents may hire a lawyer for you. If you’re an adult, it’s basically the same. You can plead not guilty and ask for a trial and a lawyer. Or plead guilty and leave it up to the court regarding the sentence. We can’t tell you what to do since we don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens. You can also contact a criminal defense lawyer in your area for advice. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • caleb
      Sat, 30 Jul 2011 at 11:21

      Hey, I’m waiting for my background check to clear at Sam’s club and it is taking longer because my deferred (dropped) charges are showing up. Since I completed my pti (pre-trial intervention) my charges were dropped.
      Dear Caleb: Perhaps you could try calling the court where the charges were originally filed and ask for a copy of your record, so you can see exactly what appears on it. You may want to explain to the clerk at the court what your situation is and ask why the charges would be showing up when you completed PTI. Whether the company can refuse to hire you based on your “record” will depend on the employment laws in your state. They may need an explanation from you as to what you were originally charged with and how the case was resolved. Best of luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Shabnam
      Tue, 02 Aug 2011 at 01:41

      I’m 20 years old and got shoplifting at the mall with stuff worth 315$. Police was called got my finger print and all that stuff taken. I missed 2 court dates since I was out of the country due to my mothers illness. Am I going to get arrested? I do have a public defender but I didn’t meet him yet. PLS HELP!
      Dear Shabnam: Call your public defender as soon as possible. He or she needs to hear from you and why you missed your court dates. You may have a new hearing coming up and if a warrant has been issued by the court for your arrest, it needs to be taken care of immediately. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Nala
      Wed, 03 Aug 2011 at 03:17

      Im 25 years old and i got caught stealing 1 year ago in a store, i went to jail and then had a court date, my verdict was 1 year probation,40hours community services, NASP diversion program, fees and fines after a year of completing all of this I went back to court and the charges were dismiss. My question is when employers complete a background check for employment with there company… will the background state i was arrested for shoplifiting and the disposition is dimiss, or will it not list what i was arrested for and just say arrested, the date and dismiss?
      Dear Nala: Every state has its own laws regarding criminal records and disclosure. Ask your probation officer about this. He or she will know the local laws and if you need to go back to court and apply for expungement. You can also Google the name of your state and “expungement of records” for information about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • jenny
      Mon, 08 Aug 2011 at 02:35

      I am sixteen years old in spokane wa. I was caught shoplifting at khols and I paid a fine and completed a diversions class. In the class they informed us that we would have a record and it would be removed when we turned eighteen. Is that true? What will it show up as on my record?
      Dear Jenny: The purpose of completing a diversion program is to avoid having a criminal record. However, every state has its own laws and policies about sealing and destroying a juvenile record. Take a look at this website for information about Washington’s laws: http://www.courts.wa.gov/forms/index.cfm?fa=forms.contribute&formID=45
      You may be eligible to apply to the court to have your record sealed until you turn 18. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Alejandro
      Mon, 08 Aug 2011 at 04:07

      I got caught shoplifting at sports authority in the mall for a 34.99 dollar hat. The police were called and i was arrested and i received a civil citation and a court date. I called the department of juveniles in miami, fl and i talked to a counselor and she said that shes putting me in the diversion program and i have to be drug tested. If i came out positive for doing drugs she will cancel my diversion program and put me into a drug program and i will have to proceed with court. i am 16 years old. what do i do ?
      Dear Alejandro: Completing a diversion program is the best option for you because once you successfully complete it, the charge will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Make sure you’re clean when you’re asked to drug test. Don’t miss your court date – once there everything will be explained to you. You also have the option of pleading not guilty and going to trial on the shoplifting charge. Discuss this with your parents for advice on how to proceed. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Nance
      Mon, 08 Aug 2011 at 07:17

      I’m 18 years old and got caught shoplifting at walmart in Florida. It was all worth $54. The police came, took fingerprints, photo, etc. I did this due to peer pressure from hanging out with the wrong crowd and yes, I understand now that what I did was wrong and I accept it, but that doesn’t mean I want to live with this for the rest of my life. This is my first offense. This happened aug 3rd and my court date is the 31st of this month. I am a good girl, did many hours of community service in high school, have a job, high GPA in college- hell I even want to work for the government. I am scared and traumatized and I swear this is my first and last time, but I do not know what to do, to expect…should I hire a lawyer? Will the diversion program be available for me? What about my record, should I ask for it to be expunged? Should I bring any documents to the court? Thank you for your time.
      Dear Nance: Since this is your first offense, you’ll probably be offered “diversion.” Once you complete the terms of the program (community service, etc.) the charge will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. When you go to court the legal process will be explained to you. You don’t necessarily need a lawyer at this point but that’s entirely up to you to decide. If you plead not guilty the court may appoint a public defender to represent you. Ask about expungement when you’re in court. You may have to wait a year or so before applying. Every state has it’s own laws and rules about the expungement process. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Shayan
      Mon, 08 Aug 2011 at 10:56

      Hey there Judge. So I ran into a little problem and got charged with trespassing and drug paraphernalia. I have already attended my Parol Officer, I’m 15 by the way. The first time I went in to see my Parol Officer we talked about the incident and she said she would contact me in 30-45 to tell me my punishment, about 2 weeks prior to my meeting the first time I received a letter from my Parol Officer telling me I have to come back in to agree to Diversion. When I got back in, (tomorrow) do you think they will Drug test me? And most likley what will my Diversion Punishment be? Thank you man.
      Dear Shayan: The penalty for these recent incidents will depend on your history with the court and the reasons you’re already on probation or parole. You may be facing jail or detention time, continued drug testing, additional community service, etc. Sounds like it’s time to wake up and realize there are increasing consequences for breaking the law and thumbing your nose at authority. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ramona
      Wed, 10 Aug 2011 at 09:21

      Hi, I came upon your site while searching to find out how the juvenile system works since as a parent I have never experienced this before. My 17 year old daughter,1st offense,good kid,plays high sdchool sports, 3.5 GPA, class secretary, was talked into using her older sister’s ID to pawn her friend’s ipod because her friend needed money. Police came to our home a few days later and arrested her because the ipod was stolen and they have video of her pawning it. Plus she forged her sister’s info. Police said she could be charged with 3 felonies but if she cooperates to find the thief which she did, the charges could be dropped to 1 felony or even a misdemeaner. She has a court date. My questions are: Does this sound to serious to get a diversion program? Do we need an attorney before the court hearing date? I have made phone calls to juvenile /court system but no one will tell me anything. We don’t even know what she is formally charged with. Any help from you would be greatly appreciated.
      Thanks
      Dear Ramona: Whether diversion is available for these charges depends on your state laws and local policies of the prosecutor and court. Diversion isn’t usually available for felonies but if the charges are reduced to misdemeanors, then she may be eligible for a diversion program. When you call the court for specific information about your daughter’s case, they don’t know you or who you are in relation to the person you’re asking about. In most states, releasing specific information about a juvenile to a caller or the public is illegal. If you went to the court with your identification and her birth certificate, for example, you might be able to speak with someone. Or you can wait until her court date. Once there, the legal process will be explained to both of you. It is your decision about speaking with a lawyer now or waiting until her hearing. If she pleads not guilty, she may be appointed a public defender to represent her. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ramona
      Wed, 10 Aug 2011 at 12:13

      Thank you for answering so promptly. At least I now know what to expect. Please though one more question. She is in the process of college applications. Do you know how this will effect her chances of acceptence into colleges?
      Thanks
      It depends on whether the colleges she applies to does a criminal background check. Many don’t. If she ends up with a record, misdemeanor or felony, there will come a time when she can apply to have it expunged (destroyed). That is a good question that you can ask about when you go to court.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Dave
      Wed, 10 Aug 2011 at 09:33

      Greetings, I turned eighteen in June and was arrested today in MA (my home state) for possession of a dangerous weapon, a criminal offense. Fact of the matter is they were brass knuckles I purchased in New Hampshire for $8.00 only a half an hour from my house. I bought them with my MA license and had no idea they would bring me trouble as I obtained them legally. I have never committed any other crimes and was simply purchasing the brass knuckles as a novelty. Do I qualify for diversion and what should I do to ensure that a harmless act of ignorance is not blown out of proportion?
      Dear Dave: We assume you have a court date on this charge coming up. If that’s the case, the legal process will be explained to you when you go to court. You’ll meet with a court or probation officer. If this is your first offense, you may be offered diversion. Once the terms of diversion are completed, the charge will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. If this charge excludes you from diversion, you may be eligible to apply for expungment of your record after a period of time. Ask about this when you’re at court. You also have the option of speaking with a criminal defense lawyer before the court date. Many provide free consultations for the first 30 minutes or so. That may be all you need to get some advice. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ramona
      Thu, 11 Aug 2011 at 07:59

      Thanks again. We found out yesterday that she is being charged with a 3rd degree felony. She knew she was doing wrong but she had no idea how serious the consequences would be. We are seeing a private attorney today. Thanks.
      You’re welcome. All the best. -ATJ.info

    • Dona
      Thu, 11 Aug 2011 at 08:45

      Thanks for your advice. My case was withdrawn in my first appearance. I did the community service (70hours) ahead of court appearance (as per my lawyer’s advice)and the case was withdrawn. Once again thanks for your advice.
      You’re welcome, Dona. Glad it worked out in your favor.

    • Carrie
      Fri, 12 Aug 2011 at 05:46

      I am 16 years old, and my friend left around $900 worth of stolen goods at my house, so I was in possession. I did not take part in the Acquiring of these goods, and I did not intended to keep them (she was going to take the stuff home a couple of days later since it was too much to carry home.) In the state of Vermont, do I qualify for diversion? And if so, what am I looking at? I have no prior criminal record.
      Dear Carrie: Since this is your first offense, you may be eligible for a diversion program. Take a look at this website spelling out Vermont’s juvenile diversion law.
      http://www.leg.state.vt.us/statutes/fullsection.cfm?Title=03&Chapter=007&Section=00163
      You can contact the juvenile court you have to go to and ask about this, or wait for your hearing when the legal process will be explained to you. Discuss this with your parents before you go to court and don’t miss the hearing. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Lisa Gomez
      Sat, 13 Aug 2011 at 12:56

      hello I’m am 18 years old ,
      I was fought shoplifting in jcpenny worth value of 382$,
      They called the cops and gave me a yellow paper for a date to court.
      They marked it down as a misdemeanor . I have to show in court and there I have to get my prints and a picture taken on sep. 1
      But I was brought illegal. So I am a immigrant and no papers . I’m very scared if I can get deported tht same day in court. It’s the first time I have done this an got cought. I am very ashamed of myself , and I’m still in High school school. .
      Dear Lisa: It’s unlikely that you would be placed on an immigration hold and deported based on this misdemeanor offense. The volume of cases alone that each court sees does not usually permit time and resources to check each person’s immigration status especially for misdemeanor and petty offenses. However, you may want to speak with a local immigration attorney in your area who could provide specific information based on your state laws and the rules/policies of your court. Many attorneys offer a brief initial consultation for free. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • jordan
      Sat, 13 Aug 2011 at 08:01

      im 16 and live in texas, and i got caught shoplifting and got a class b charge what do i have to do now?
      Dear Jordan: You will find out more when you show up for your first court date. You will have the opportunity to speak with a court or probation officer or a prosecutor who can answer your questions and give you a good idea of what penalties you may be facing. If this is your first offense and time in court, then diversion is likely. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Alyssa
      Wed, 17 Aug 2011 at 01:17

      I was caught shoplifting when i was 16 years old and attended the diversion program. i am now 18 and was caught destroying someone else’s property. I got a letter that says “if” i am eligible for the diversion programs, my charges will drop. am i eligible for them since my record has been erased when i turned 18? or will i still not be eligible for the classes?
      Dear Alyssa: If you successfully completed the first diversion program when you were 16, there shouldn’t be a record that would appear at this time. Now that you’re an adult and if this is the first offense since you turned 18, you may be eligible for diversion again. It depends on state law and the policies of the court. Follow the instructions on the letter you received. If there’s a hearing date, don’t miss it. If there isn’t a date, you can call the number listed and ask about diversion. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • bob
      Wed, 17 Aug 2011 at 02:45

      hello, I am 33 and was busted for shoplifting at a wholefoods in California. The total item dollar amount was $107 and it was a drunken prank on the 4th of July. I know better and the judge will probably think so because of my age. Will I still be able to qualify for diversion? This is my first offense of any crime in my life. Thanks
      Dear Bob: AsktheJudge is a website for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens. We suggest you read some of the comments posted to teen shoplifters on this site for general information about the legal process when caught shoplifting. “Diversion” is available to adults as well as teenagers depending on the crime. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • elle
      Tue, 23 Aug 2011 at 04:20

      Dear Judge,
      I am an adult and was caught shoplifting $65 worth of merchandise. I go to school in a different city and will have to fly back for my court date, i was wondering if I will require a public defense lawyer and if I qualified for one, will there be another trail date? I’m worried about multiple court appearances since I will not be able to pay for multiple plane tickets. Should I ask for a PD? Will I be able to do a diversion program from out of the province? Thank you for all your help.
      Dear Elle: AsktheJudge.info is a website for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We suggest that you contact the court, explain your situation about living elsewhere and ask about limiting your court appearances. You may be able to speak with a probation or other court officer who will work with you in resolving this case. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Enia
      Wed, 24 Aug 2011 at 03:03

      Today i went to court and i was ordered community service the next day.But the problem is that i need an i.d for tommorow but cant find it. What other sources of identification can i bring to the community service center?
      Dear Enia: Depending on your age, there may be several IDs that would be accepted. A school ID, driver’s license or permit, your birth certificate or social security card, passport or passport card. Good luck.
      (This is information only – ot legal advice).

    • jAYcEE
      Thu, 25 Aug 2011 at 02:08

      Hi i am 21 and i got caught shoplifting at Glassons $60.00 jacket. the police are involved. i am just wondering what is going to happen to me and how much will i be charged and if i will be given “Diversion” and what is involved in the diversion program?
      Dear Jaycee: If this is your first offense, you’ll probably be offered “diversion.” Once you finish the terms of the diversion program, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. If you got a ticket at the time or a notice in the mail to appear in court, don’t miss the hearing. Once there, a probation officer will explain the legal process to you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Mike Miller
      Mon, 29 Aug 2011 at 02:14

      Hello i am 26 years old and i got caught trying to take four DVD’s from Meijer down the street from my house. I was extremely coopertive with the person who caught me and with the officer and this was also my frst offense, nothing at all on my record except some traffic violations. I was taken in the back room and eventually got arrested and taken downtown where i spent eight hours locked up, and then had to be in court at 9 in the morning. Before they called my name the person in front of me was called up and it was her second offfense. She recieved 1 year probation and had to take a theft class. When they called my name the judge gave me 9 months probation and also a theft class. Needless to say i wasn’t too happy because the punishment didn’t seem to fit the crime. I have completed the class, recieved my certificate and am meeting my probation officer tomaro afternoon. Before i do that however i am going to the courthouse to file a motion to dismiss my probation and pay off all of my court fees and probation costs. Will the judge lift my probation??? Also not once did the judge or my probation officer mention the diversion program and i obviously do not want this on my record…. what shoul i do??
      Dear Mike: You may want to talk to your probation officer before trying to get your probation terminated on your own. If you explain to your P.O. that you’ve completed everything you need to and that this is your first offense, it’s possible that your P.O. would file a motion to terminate your probation early on your behalf and if this motion comes from your P.O., it’s likely to have more weight with the judge. When you meet with your P.O., ask him/her about how this case is going to affect your record and whether it’s going to remain on it. If you end up with a record, you can always go back to the court and ask for your record to be expunged once you successfully complete the terms of your sentence. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Julio
      Tue, 30 Aug 2011 at 06:06

      Hello I live in Los Angeles, California. I just turned 19 and it has been 8 months since I got off probation. What is the process of getting my record sealed if I have two felonies in my juvenile record?
      Dear Julio: There are several things you can do to find out if you’re eligible to apply for expungement of your record. Contact your probation officer and ask about this or you can go to the court’s website for information. They may have an online form to complete and file.
      You can also check this California government website for details and requirements for sealing/expunging criminal records:
      http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/other/crimlawclean.htm
      Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jane
      Fri, 02 Sep 2011 at 05:44

      Hello, I am 13 years old and on august 15th I was at the mall with some friends and got caught shoplifting a 8 dollar necklace from a store in the mall. This is my first time offense and I am not sure what to expect on my court date. will I get a diversion in the state of minnesota?
      Dear Jane: When you go to court the legal process will be explained to you by a court or probation officer. As a first-time offender you’ll probably be offered diversion. Once you complete the program (community service, a class and/or counseling) the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Take a look at this Minnesota guide to Diversion for more information.
      http://www.jjcmn.com/public/2011/05/Diversion-Manual1.pdf
      Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Tasha
      Sat, 03 Sep 2011 at 04:55

      i have just recently got my self into some trouble with the law, i was found with a smoking utensil on me and a point of cannabis, i have never been in trouble before and i got offered drug diversion but i didnt no what it was until i went home that night. now i have to go to court and iam scared. i dont want a conviction iam 21 years old. i cannot sleep either
      Dear Tasha: If you are now interested in completing a diversion program, let the court know during your next appearance. You may have the opportunity to speak with a court or probation officer or a prosecutor and you can explain that you would like to complete diversion. Also, you can try contacting the officer you went to when you were initially offered diversion to explain how you feel about it and that you would like to begin the program. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • bob
      Mon, 05 Sep 2011 at 07:32

      i have been cought stealing for my 6th time 250$ dollars worth of stuff what will happen?

      Please reply ASAP
      Dear Bob: It’s going to depend on the laws of your state as well as the policies of the court and prosecutor’s office. The more priors you have on your record, the more likely it is to be facing stiffer penalties. You will find out more when you go to your first court date including the specific charges and whether you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges. If you are facing felony charges, then you will be appointed a public defender to represent you if you cannot afford to hire a private attorney. You most likely are facing similar consequences to your last offense (the 5th shoplifting incident) plus extra community service hours, a higher fine, etc. We seriously hope you have learned this time as the penalties will continue to get more harsh for additional offenses. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jay
      Fri, 09 Sep 2011 at 11:00

      Greetings, I was pulled over by LAPD (Los Angeles PD) because someone that got into an altercation with me reported that I had a handgun. After searching my car, brass knuckles were found under the passenger seat, as I was the driver. I am being charged with a misdemeanor of possession of a deadly weapon. First offense ever, not even a traffic ticket. I am 26 and plan to apply to dental schools the next cycle. Clean record. What are possible outcomes and best case plan for me?
      Dear Jay: You will find out more when you go to your first court date including what your options are and what types of consequences you face. If diversion or a similar type program is not an option in your case, then you could look into getting your record expunged once you successfully complete the terms of your sentence. If diversion is an option, then the charges would be dismissed and you would not have a record of a conviction upon completion of the program. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Tiffany
      Mon, 12 Sep 2011 at 04:47

      I am currently 17 and I was caught shoplifting at a cosmetics store. The police were called and I think I took somewhere around $200 worth of merchandise. I wasn’t fingerprinted and I didn’t get a mugshot taken. I am going to turn 18 in a few months so I was wondering if I would be eligible for this. Would I be tried as a minor or an adult because this did happen when I was a minor.

      Thanks
      Dear Tiffany: Diversion programs are offered in both juvenile court as well as adult court. Whether or not you are eligible will depend on the facts of your case, your criminal history and the policies of the court/prosecutor’s officer. The same thing goes for whether or not charges are filed in juvenile or adult court. You will find out more when you appear for your first court date and will have an opportunity to speak with a court of probation officer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • jenny
      Mon, 12 Sep 2011 at 10:00

      im 15 & in california. i have a meeting with a probation officer oct. 4th now, and i still have a court date nov. 4th.
      i was caught shoplifting at sears, i stole about $100 worth of clothes from there & my dad has paid a $450 fine from sears. i was also caught with other merchandise from 4 other stores, totaling up to $300-400. but i was caught at sears and the other stores didnt press any charges. cops were called at sears and the cop is telling my parents bs cuz my face looked familiar to her, she told them that “half” of all my things were stolen just bcuz she thinks she caught me for shoplifting before even tho she didnt. they took my fingerprints & of course im banned from sears. but im worried wats gonna happen on oct. &nov. 4th? this is my first time getting caught.
      Dear Jenny: Since this is your first offense, you may be offered diversion. If you are not eligible for diversion, you are most likely facing similar consequences as diversion (community service, a fine and a class or counseling), but the offense will remain on your record. You will find out more including what penalties you are facing and what your options are when you meet with the probation officer in October. We hope you learned from this as you will face harsher penalties for any additional offenses you commit. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • jenny
      Tue, 13 Sep 2011 at 09:18

      what type of penalties will i be facing?? cuz im sorta really freaked out to go those 2 days. and my friend said ill be put on probation, is that true?? if so, for how long and how will they check up on me?
      Dear Jenny: Again, you’re likely facing community service hours, a fine and having to attend a class or counseling. Probation is not usually part of diversion programs, but you would have to complete the requirements of the program which would include the penalties mentioned above. If you are not eligible for diverison, you are likely facing similar consequences to those already mentioned and possibly being placed on probation. For a first-time misdemeanor offense, the probationary period is often between 6 months and one year. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Khloe
      Tue, 13 Sep 2011 at 10:22

      Hi im 16 and I was caught stealing when I was 13 in j.c. Pennys it was under 100 so I went to juvi and to court,, I did community service and it was off my record,, dont know if it was the diversion program now I got caught stealing from macys under 100 dollars they sent me a letter and I have a court date :(

      DO YOU THINK I WILL GET THE DIVERSION PROGRAM,,

      AND WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN,,TO ME,, I LIVE IN LOUISANNA!!
      Dear Khloe: You may be offered diversion again depending on the laws of your state as well as the policies of the court and prosecutor’s office. If you are not eligible for diversion, you are likely facing similar consequences (community service, a fine and a class or counseling), but the offense would remain on your record. Once you complete your sentence, you could go back to the court and ask that your record be destroyed or expunged. We hope you learned from this incident, as the chances of you spending time in detention will increase for any additional offenses. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Kimberly volpe
      Fri, 16 Sep 2011 at 01:33

      I recently got caught shoplifting from Belk in SC,a 65 $ item for my daughters birthday.I have been struggling financillay unable to find a job and feed five kids on my husbands disability money. I regret it very much needless to say..It is my second shoplifting charge..The first charge was dismissed after doing 55 hours of community service, similar circumstances..a 20 dollar item from jc penny. I am a good person and just have big struggles trying to take care of five young children. I have a PD assigned to my case but still not sure if I will go to jail. Im terrified. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. I didnt mention the arrest sheet says “first offense” on the top. Thanks so much in advance.
      Dear Kimberly: It’s unlikely that you will go to jail for this second offense. You may be facing more community service hours, a fine and possibly having to attend a class or counseling. Also, you may be placed on probation. You will find out more when you go to your next court date including what your options are and what penalties you are facing. We hope you learned from this second mistake as the more you continue to break the law, the more likely it is that you will spend some time in jail. Take care and good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Ann
      Sun, 18 Sep 2011 at 07:56

      While in Panama City, FL on spring break, my daughter got a MIP for an unopened can of beer. They called me to pick her up. She did not have a court appearance nor had to pay a fine. After we returned home in another state, we got a notice that she had to do 10 hours community service and write a 2 page paper on alcohol and teens. She did both promptly. Now, 6 months later, she is applying for a scholarship and the following is on the application: I have never been charged with a crime (including reckless driving or minor in possession. How do you think we should answer this? Was she charged?
      Dear Ann: It sounds like your daughter completed a diversion program. Some states do not charge juveniles for these types of offenses and give them the opportuntiy to complete a diversion program. If they fail to complete the program, then charges will be filed. Try contacting the law enforcement agency that contacted your daughter, explain the circumstances and ask for a copy of her record, so you can verify whether or not charges were ever filed. Good luck to you and your daughter.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Anastacia Norris
      Wed, 21 Sep 2011 at 06:32

      Hi, im 19 years old and i just recently got caught shoplifting at a walmart in gwinnett county georgia. the total of the amount stolen was $132. It is my very first offense ever and i really truly regret ever doing it cause i wasnt raised to do that and i allowed people to influence me to do wrong and on top of that i did it 21 days before i ship out to basic training. what i want to know is do i qualify for the diversion program?, can i get this off my record?, im currently unemployed and i heard you need to be working to get in this program so does this make me ineligable? how long does the program last? i do not have a court date yet and i want to know if i need a lawyer to get into this program? please respond ASAP. Thank you.
      Dear Anastacia: Most parts of the country have diversion programs for first-time offenders. You are likely qualified to complete such a program. When you do, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. If you decide to plead not guilty and the case is set for trial, the court may appoint a piblic defender to represent you. Otherwise, you don’t necessarily need a lawyer before going to court. The legal process will be explained to you at court by either a court or probation officer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Rebecca Holmes
      Sun, 25 Sep 2011 at 10:21

      I was caught for shoplifting. I am currently on diversion about 6 months left to go. So this will be my second offense. I am so terrified of what will happen, I am going to get a lawyer, do you think I will go to jail?
      Thanks
      Dear Rebecca: Whether you receive time in detention or jail is up to the judge assigned to your case and your probation officer. Since you’re already in a diversion program for the same offense, shoplifting, it doesn’t appear that you’ve learned anything about consequences or the need to follow the law. The judge may feel this way, but your lawyer will speak up in your defense and present your position in the best possible light. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • brittany
      Wed, 28 Sep 2011 at 09:41

      Hi, I am 17 years old and a friend of mine stole checks from her grandfather she wrote 2 of them out for $100 and 1 out for $120. I was with her 2 times when the checks were cashed but the other time I wasn’t there. They seem to think that I am the one that forged the checks and I got court papers in the mail today. I have 3 counts of forgery and 1 count of conspiracy. The thing about it is that I didn’t do it and I didn’t get a dime out of any of the checks that she cashed. She has even told the cop that. but I am really worried about it because everyone says that I can get in a lot of trouble. What do you think that I will get out of it. Oh yeah and my friend all she got charged with is 3 counts of petty larceny. Please get back to me asap. Thanks
      Dear Brittany: Now that you’ve received “papers in the mail” you’ll be going to court on these charges. You’ll have a chance to explain to the judge or a probation/court officer what happened. Your parents can also hire a lawyer to represent you before court so you’ll be prepared to proceed at the hearing. Otherwise, the court may appoint a public defender to represent you if you plead not guilty. Tell your lawyer what you’ve described above and he or she will know how to handle your defense. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Lisa
      Fri, 30 Sep 2011 at 06:59

      hi, im 17 years old from ontario, canada and stolen $125 worth of stuff from walmart and i didnt get a court date but the said i have referral program coordinator of the community counselling service. Will i receive a fine and will they arrange a court date? The brought me to the back and the brought in a police officer but they said they will let me take this and my friend is 14 and she was with me.
      Dear Lisa: It is possible that you may not have to go to court for this incident. The community counseling may be a “diversion” program whereby you do some community service work and the charge is dismissed. This is a common method of dealing with first-time offenders. We hope you learn from this experience and think twice before stealing again. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Haley
      Fri, 30 Sep 2011 at 07:09

      So I recently stole a few items from a local K-Mart. I live in Northern Indiana, I am 14, and I obviously do not want this on my permanent record considering this is the first offense I have. I was not arrested or taken to JJC, I also was not photographed or taken fingerprint of, but the man who was security there sure did make it seem like I would not be treated with any justice or respect and I am very worried. I was told by the policeman later on that since I cooperated well and it was my first offense, I would not go to prison, JJC, or have this charged as a felony. The most at possibly a misdemeanor… I really would love to participate in a form of diversion. I also will definitely plead guilty, they already have me on tape, and I confessed and pleaded for community service or anything I could possibly do to somehow repay my fellow people. I honestly personally cannot believe I did this, I let fellow high schoolers and the fact that something new that I didn’t pay for seemed “cool” or something, I honestly was in such a panicked and autopilot mode that I can’t really explain why I did it or what I was feeling. My question is, what do you think would be best case scenario, and what would be worst case scenario? I have not yet gotten a court summons or fine from K-Mart in the mail, but I will definitely get one sometime soon. Also I am banned from the store unless I am there with my MOM and I HOLD HER HAND, so.. can you help me?
      Dear Haley: There are several ways this can go. You may not receive a court date, which would be best, if the store decides not to press charges against you. They may send you a letter requiring payment of a civil fine. Once the fine is paid, the case will be closed and you won’t have a record. The fine could be several hundred dollars as authorized under state law. Or you could get notice in the mail about a court hearing. When you go to court, the legal process will be explained to you by a court/probation officer. As a first-time offender you’ll likely be offered “diversion.” Once you complete the terms of diversion, the charge will be dismissed. As far as being banned from the store, if you were told by security that you’re not to return, don’t. Otherwise you could be charged with trespassing. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Juliet
      Sun, 02 Oct 2011 at 06:21

      I am 40 yers old and was caught shoplifting at Walmart. This is my FIRST offense and the total amount of merchandise i stole is: $49.00 I was “verbally” banned from the store for the next 6 months and i was taken away (in handcuffs) and arrested by the police. i left with a court date. (end of the month) I am scared to death that i will have to go to jail. Do you think i will be asked to serve some jail time because i am NOT a juvenile? Does anyone have any idea how much the fees will be? Do you think i can get a diversion? I live in Arizona……
      Dear Juliet: AsktheJudge.info is a teen law site answering teens’ questions about their rights and the laws that affect them (juvenile law). That being said, we’ll provide some information to you to help put your mind at ease. Yes, since this is your first offense, there is a good chance that you will be offered diversion. Jail time is very unlikley for a first offense, but keep in mind that the penalties will increase for additional offenses, so jail may be more likely if you are facing similar charges in the future. Generally, the fines range between approximately $100 up to several hundred dollars. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • John
      Mon, 03 Oct 2011 at 06:34

      Hi,
      I was charged with disorderly conduct 2 months after my 18th birthday. I entered the diversion program in Kansas and successfully completed it. I am currently applying for Jobs, when it asks if I have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor do I have to answer yes? Thanks
      Dear John: So long as you successfully completed the program, you have not been “convicted” of anything and can truthfully answer “no” to having any prior convictions (misdemeanors or felonies). Good luck with your job search.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Natasha
      Tue, 04 Oct 2011 at 09:01

      I was caught shop lifting at age 17 at Macys. It was my first time. I’m 18 now and it’s been a year. I was told my court paper was sent to me(when I was 17), but then I never received or saw them in my mail and that they’re probably lying around in a office? What are my consequences now since it’s been a year and since I haven’t bothered til now? Should I call the juvenile number? Should I write a letter to the court? Will I go to jail? If so, how long? Will they charge me as an adult even though I did it when I was 17? Will I be on probation? Will I have to do community service? I moved out of state for school so would I have to serve everything where I shoplifted? Can they transfer the case to where I live so I don’t have to travel far for a court case? Thank you! In need of advice.
      Dear Natasha: After a year and no notice about a court hearing, the case may have been closed. There’s also a possibility that the court issued a warrant for your arrest since you didn’t appear at a scheduled hearing. You might want to speak with a lawyer who specializes in juvenile or criminal law. He or she can look into the status of the case and what to do if the shoplifting charge remains outstanding. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Patty
      Tue, 04 Oct 2011 at 10:46

      Hello,
      I am 25 years old, and I just received my RN license in Florida. When I was 17, I was caught shoplifting and it was considered a misdemeanor. I completed a juvenile diversion program. Will this event appear on a level 2 background check?
      Thank you.
      Dear Patty: The purpose of diversion is to give the juvenile a consequence but not a record. If you completed a diversion program, the charge has been dismissed and you don’t have a formal record that would appear on a background check. You can check with the court you were in to verify the status of your case. If something still exists, ask about the expungement process to clear your record. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Emma
      Wed, 05 Oct 2011 at 01:48

      Hi,
      Yesterday I was caught shoplifting at Walmart in British Columbia Canada. I put two boxes of nose strips into one and put some blush in my purse. I bought 60$ worth of items but my stupidity kicked in and i stole 25$ worth… I am not proud of my actions and want to do as much community service or anything to get this removed from my record as I just turned 18 three months ago. The security guy stopped me when I had left the store and brought me to the back of the store where he went through my purse and took the stolen items back and then took my drivers license. He said if i was honest and did what he said i would be out of there in 10 minutes. Then when I asked is there a fine or anything he said no, I’m letting you off easy since this is your first time you just cant come back for 2 years. The cops were never called, although he took my photo with a digital camera and all I had to sign was a sheet saying I cant go back to Walmart for 2 years. Do I now have a criminal record!? Am I going to get a letter in the mail asking for money even though he said there wasn’t any money to be payed!? and If i do have a criminal record now who do i talk to so i can try and enter the diversion program? I am embarrassed by my actions and just want to go back and erase yesterday because I have been dealing with a lot of depression, anxiety and stress lately and my impulses to steal were not a smart decision. Please help me know if I do have a record now and also how to get rid of it?
      Dear Emma: Since the police weren’t involved and you weren’t given a ticket or notice to appear in court, you wdon’t have a formal record that would appear on a background check. The only record is with the store for their purposes. If you return to the store during the two-year ban you could be charged with trespassing. You might receive a letter from the store or their lawyer requiring payment of a civil fine. Once it’s paid the case will be closed. It may take a few weeks or even months before the letter arrives. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Natasha
      Sat, 08 Oct 2011 at 11:27

      Hi. It’s Natasha again. Would I have to go to jail if I never knew any notice of my court hearing after a year? Or would I have to go to jail since it was my first offense? Like the others, would I also have to attend a division program after I’ve been convicted?
      Dear Natasha: The purpose of a diversion program is to keep you from going through the formal criminal process. Once you complete the program, the case is dismissed and you don’t have a record that would appear on a background check. It’s highly unlikely that you’d receive any jail time for this since you’re a first-time offender. If and when you go to court, explain what happened regarding the notice and your failure to appear. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Claire
      Sun, 09 Oct 2011 at 01:40

      I was recently arrested for a DUI, MIP and possession or pot and paraphernalia. Can I get put on a diversion with all of that? It’s my 1st offense
      Dear Claire: It’s possible that you could be offered a diversion program, but it will depend on the policies of the court as well as the prosecutor’s office. When you go to your first court date, you should have an opportunity to speak with a court or probation officer who will explain the court process and you will find out more about what your options are. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • may
      Tue, 11 Oct 2011 at 08:35

      hi i am a 15 year old girl me n my dad got caught shoplifting in walmart this is the first time this ever happends to both of us i know it was a stupid thing walmart called the police n thy came n toke me n my dad thy asked us questions like our n names and address and so on my my mom asked for the court daters for me n my dad n thy only told my mom my dads court day thy said thy dnt do courts for minors i would like to know if i am going to have a court or not n if i do wht are the consqunces n if i need a lawyer n also will my dad get chargered for both wht happend or boht of us will be chargerd i will pay any fine as long as i dnt go to jail or get commenty service can u plzz reply bak to my questions this is my first time i ever had a crmial record or ever had got into a police station before this time thnk you
      Dear May: If charges end up being filed against you in juvenile court, then you will receive a notice in the mail to appear in court. Since this is your first offense, it’s very unlikely that you would receive any time in jail or detention for the incident. If diversion is offered, then you may have to complete community service hours, pay a fine and attend a class or counseling in order to avoid a record. Your dad will not be charged twice for shoplifting, but depending on the laws in your state, he could also be charged with something like contributing to the delinquency of a minor since he was shoplifting with you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Christina
      Tue, 11 Oct 2011 at 04:03

      I did a diversion class in California for a misdemeanor under the influence 13 years ago. I am now needing a background check for a job I am applying for. Since I was fingerprinted when I was arrested will this offense show up even though I was never convicted and went through the diversion class? I am worried that the fingerprinting that happened when I was arrested will force this issue to show up on my background check even though I only had to do a drug class. Thank you for this service!!
      Dear Christina: The purpose of a diversion program is to avoid getting a record that could show up on a background check and affect your future. You shouldn’t have such a record if you successfully completed the program. Glitches do happen occasionally so, if you’re really worried about this, you can contact the court you were in and ask if they have anything about you. If they do, you can apply to the court to have the record expunged. You can do this without a lawyer for free or a minimal fee, possibly online. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Suzann
      Tue, 11 Oct 2011 at 08:18

      Our college son who is soon to be 21 got an minor in consumption in our small town. He has been approved for diversion but diversion is for a year with monthly reportings which can be done by mail and no drug or achohol consumption during the term. We feel this is excessive. Is it unreasonable in light of his impending 21st birthday to ask that the diversion be modified to remove the achohol and drug provision and just agree to not violating any local state or federal laws with the exception of traffic.
      Dear Suzann: You may feel this is excessive but if it’s the policy of your local court and prosecutor’s office, your son will have to live with it. He can speak with a lawyer (public defender) about this to see if there’s any leeway considering his upcoming 21st birthday. Otherwise, he’ll have to bite the bullet and learn from this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kristen Robertson
      Wed, 12 Oct 2011 at 11:12

      Hi Judge Tom,

      My daughter who turns 16 in 3 weeks, received a MIP for alcohol last weekend at the school Homecoming dance. She was not in the limo (on school grounds) at the time of the incident, but since it was in her bag and she brought it from home, she was the only one to get the citation. She is an A/B student, and this is her first offense. She has never been in any kind of trouble before. The school gave her one day of suspension, 2 days of ISS (in school suspension), and 5 days of RA (detention facility 20 miles north of us). My mother spoke to a lawyer, who said we should try for a “pre-trial diversion”. I was advised to get all her school transcripts, report cards, PSAT scores (she scored a 1410 without even studying!) and a letter of reference from her assistant pricipal since he knows she’s a good kid, and take all of that to the prosecutor when we go in. Can you offer any more advise or suggestions that I may not be aware of? She plans on going to medical school to be a medical examiner, and I would hate to see this ruin any chances of a schloarship or college admission. Thank you for your time.

      Worried Mother,
      Kristen Robertson
      Dear Kristen: Everything you mention here in preparation for your daughter’s hearing or court appearance is fine. With no history of offenses, she stands a good chance of being eligible for “diversion.” Once she completes the program, the MIP will be dismissed and she won’t have a record that would appear on a background check. This alone won’t affect her future studies or professional life. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • justin
      Wed, 12 Oct 2011 at 11:11

      what if i did not complete my community service hours? i got a ticket for truency and im still a minor
      Dear Justin: It’s up to the court and/or probation department whether to pursue this or not. You may not hear anything further about it, or, worst case scenario, the prosecutor may file formal truancy charges against you. Do the right thing and complete the hours and keep written documentation that you did. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Mason
      Thu, 13 Oct 2011 at 12:25

      I got in trouble in Boulder county for underage drinking, it was my first ticket, i went to court and got offered the diversion program, now 4 months later i am going to take my class in a week, but tonight i got really unlucky and got caught with weed, i got charged for marijuana possesion, and pharepenila in a different county. What is going to happen to me now? Am i allowed to still take the class for my alcohol ticket?
      Dear Mason: Your luck has run out, it seems. It would be best to complete the class and take care of the first ticket as soon as possible. When you go to court for the possession charge explain to the probation officer or public defender the situation, show him/her that you did the class, and listen to the advice given you. The consequences this time will likely be greater than taking a class, including random drug testing, but it’s up to you to stay clean and avoid lock-up in detention or jail. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • kara
      Thu, 13 Oct 2011 at 02:13

      I got caught taking a pair if jeans worth 31.99 from jcpenny and the cops wee called I was very cooperative and bailed myself out of jail for 80 dollars I got a court date and this is my first offense with a clean record. Whwhat will happen at court
      Dear Kara: Since this is your first offense and the amount taken is low, you’ll probably be eligible for “diversion.” When you complete the terms of diversion, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record to worry about. The legal process will be explained to you when you appear in court. Good luck.
      (This is infortmation only – not legal advice).

    • Amie
      Thu, 13 Oct 2011 at 08:33

      hello. i live in virginia and a few weeks back a friend and i were caught shoplifting from JC pennys and it was a first time offense, shes 16 and im 17. it was a STUDIP mistake and you can be assured that it will NEVER happen again. the total amount was $321 retail price between the two of us and because of the amount its a felony charge. we were extremely cooperative and remorseful and admitted to our wrong doing and the security and mall cop even seemed nice under the circumstances but i know it still doesnt take away from the fact that what we did was wrong. the police were still called in along with our parents and we signed some papers and they took our picture for store record and we were free to go after that, however, we are not allowed in the mall for 1 year. my dad also talked to the main lady in charge of pennys that was handeling our case and she seemed very nice and understood that it was a huge mistake on our part and that people make wrong decisions somethimes (which it was!)and we promised her that it would never ever happen again. they never gave us a court date paper either or anything though, just said that we would be getting a letter in the mail about court so i was under the impression we would be going to court for sure. but we got the letter about a week back and we have been given the opportunity to go through the diversion program and we have a meeting set up with the probation officer. ive read all the previous comments so i understand that we’ll probably be going through community service, a class and will be paying a fine. my big question is though will we be put on probation because it was a felony charge and if so how long and since it wasnt a drug or alcohol offense will they still want to test us? i have been a nervous wreck since the whole incident so youre help is very much appreciated.
      Dear Amie: If you’re given a chance to complete diversion, you won’t formally be on probation depending on the laws and policies in your state. Once you finish all of the diversion terms, the shoplifting charge will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. If drugs are a part of your past and the probation officer is aware of that, you may be required to test randomly as part of the diversion program. If that happens and you test dirty, then diversion will likely end and you’ll be back in court facing new charges. You can discuss all of this at court with the probation officer so you know what to expect. One more thing, don’t return to the mall during the ban or you could be charged with trespass. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Haley
      Thu, 13 Oct 2011 at 09:06

      Just a follow up comment, I have a meeting with a parole officer in a week, and its at JJC, but they already told my mom this will definitely not go on my record if I follow through with the diversion process completely. I have yet to get a fine from K-Mart, and I will be going to that store shortly, holding my mothers hand, so that I can give them my apology letter. Thank you for your information!
      You’re welcome, Haley. All the best. -ATJ.info

    • Dan
      Sun, 16 Oct 2011 at 11:07

      Hi I recieved two tickets for unlawful possesion of an alcoholic beverage with intent to consume by person under 21 and possesion of cup in a college town in NY. However, the officer didn’t write down a pre-arraignment bail amount and upon further investigation, I found out this is due to the judge randomly slapping on fines depending on what he needs for the month’s spending making fines go up to $600. This is my first offense of any kind. Is there anything I can do to ensure that I don’t get hit with an excessive fine? Thank you.
      Dear Dan: You need to look to the specific laws of your state to find out how much the fine can be under the law. According to this website, the fine shall not exceed $50 for such an offense; however, there could be applicable taxes and surcharges on top of that $50. You will want to check and see if the statute listed on that site is current. If you are a student, you could ask the judge or whoever you talk to when you go to court for more community service hours instead of a high fine since you are a student. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Tisha
      Sun, 16 Oct 2011 at 04:05

      We live in Kansas, my son is 19. He was arrested fri for DUI. He blew a 0.134. Will the same laws and penalties apply to him that apply to a person 21 years and older? Or will he have different consequences? This is his first DUI.
      Thank you for your time.
      Dear Tisha: You will need to look to the specific DUI laws in your state to find out what penalties he may be facing. Since his blood alcohol content was past the legal limit, he most likely will be facing the regular DUI charges and penalties for an adult. However, since he’s underage, he could also face some sort of minor consumption charge in addition to the DUI charge. You will know more including what charges have been filed against him when he appears for his first court date. Good luck to your son.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Ryan
      Mon, 17 Oct 2011 at 01:36

      I am 15 and was caught stealing a game valued at $10 at a Best Buy in Orlando,FL .I know it was a stupid mistake and I have regretted it ever since.I got a letter a month ago saying I have to meet with a PO, who recomeded that I should not be charged. But Last wednsday I recieved a later summoning me to Teen Court, I am very nervous and very scared of what is going to happen. I mainly wanted to know how long my potential community service may be and what other things I may have to do.
      Dear Ryan: “Teen court” is one way cases are handled when the charge is not a serious misdemeanor or a felony. Essentially, it is “diversion” that, once you complete the terms of the program, the charge is dismissed and you don’t have a record. Teen Court involves students who decide what the consequence will be – they are supervised by adults. One possible penalty may require that you serve as a member of a Teen Court jury in a few cases – this would be considered community service. Google the name of your school or county and “Teen Court” for information. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kim
      Mon, 17 Oct 2011 at 05:53

      Hi Judge. I just got caught changing the price tag on some solar lights at walmart in Fl. I wasnt arrested but the cop gave me a paper with a court date. Im 40 years old and this is my 1st offense. Ive been so nervous about this and have been literally sick. What do you think will happen to me? I do not want this on my record to hold me back from employment. Please advise.
      Dear Kim: AsktheJudge.info is a site for teenagers about their rights and responsibilities. We don’t provide legal advice to teens or adults.
      However, since this is your first offense, we can tell you to expect to be given a chance to complete a “diversion” program. Once you finish it, the charge will be dismissed and you won’t have a record that will affect your future. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Dalecia
      Tue, 18 Oct 2011 at 04:27

      Hey my name is Dalecia I was caught for shoplift 46 dollars worth it was just a braclet and earrins . Do you have an exstimation of what the most my fines could be and if i would be able to get a diversion or would it even go on my record i live in wichita ks
      Dear Dalecia: The fine from the store (civil fine) may be several hundred dollars. The judge can also issue a fine if you end up in court. If this is your first offense, you may be eligible for a diversion program. When you complete the assigned work hours, attend counseling or a class, the charge will be dismissed and you won’t have a record that will affect your future. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Tammy
      Sat, 22 Oct 2011 at 08:07

      Dear Judge,
      Back in 2005 I was in an exchange programme in Ohio. I was caught shoplifting something worth about $50 from Walmart.I was braght to the manager office, they took my name and address but the police were not called neither were my fingerprints taken.2 weeks after so, I was sent a letter that I should do some community service because of what I did and that I wont be called to court because i was leaving the states in about a month. and thats it. nobody contacted me after so and my programme was not notified. now i am applying for a visa to the US, would that be on my record? thanx alot… i really need to know so
      Dear Tammy: You may have completed a diversion program. Since you never went to court over the matter, there shouldn’t be anything on your record. Try calling the court in the area where the shoplifting incident occurred or the police department and ask for a copy of your record so that you can confirm nothing is on it. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • jake
      Mon, 24 Oct 2011 at 04:40

      do you have to be a citizen to qualify for a diversion program?
      Dear Jake: We are not aware of a citizenship requirement in any state as a requirement to participate in a diversion program. Diversion is usually used for lesser crimes (petty offenses and low misdemeanors) and one’s immigration status isn’t generally investigated in these cases.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • ivette ruiz
      Tue, 25 Oct 2011 at 07:40

      i was recently caught shopliffting a total of 60 dllrs from jcpenny in the state of arizona.im 16. how can i make sure i get accepted into the juvenile diversion program (since i received a application and really dont want to go to court)? Is time a juvi a possibility in the diversion program? What should i expect in from the diversion program?
      Dear Ivette: If this is your first offense, you’ll probably be eligible for a “diversion program.” Once you finish the terms of diversion, the case will be dismissed. When you go to court or meet with a probation officer, the program will be explained to you. Remember that diversion is usually for first-time offenders, so think twice before stealing again. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • DSJ
      Thu, 27 Oct 2011 at 05:29

      A juvenile was guilty of marijuana possession and was given 90 days to complete the diversion program. We have diligently attempted to get the intake officer to set up the case and get case to a program. The program will now go well in to Jan 2012. What should they do?
      Dear DSJ: The juvenile still has to complete the diversion program. If you’re getting no response from the intake officer, you can contact his or her supervisor and get this going. It could be that there are only so many places in the program and your juvenile has to wait for an opening. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • ram
      Thu, 27 Oct 2011 at 09:02

      I got caught while stealing merchandise worth $145 from target store in Tennessee. Police came and did some paperwork and gave the court date. I returned the merchandise the store guy. Would I be facing jail term for this? What is the best possible way to avoid jail term and to close the case so that it will not appear on my criminal records? I am 25 and work for MNC as a full time employee.
      Dear Ram: AsktheJudge.info is a site for teenagers about the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to teens or adults.
      We will tell you that if this is your first offense, you may be eligible for diversion. If that’s the case and you successfully complete the program, the charge will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Ask about this when you go to court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • jeremy
      Fri, 28 Oct 2011 at 08:15

      im 22 got cought stealing for about 200$ from 711 im a first time offender for theft under 5000 i have court in about a month im scared and feel so bad for wut i done i dont now wut to do? will i go to jail
      Dear Jeremy: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to teens or adults.
      We will tell you that, as a first-time offender, you’ll probably be offered diversion. Once you complete the terms of diversion the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Don’t miss your hearing. A court or probation officer will explain the process to you. You can also speak with a lawyer of your choosing before court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Danielle
      Fri, 28 Oct 2011 at 12:33

      I need a little advice, I was caught shoplifting and I’m only 17, but my birthday is in a few days. I’m also planning to apply for the Air Force so I really need this off my record. (This is my first and my LAST offense.) I was hoping that you could help and tell me whether or not I apply for any sort of diversion program that I could qualify for, and if so how can I ask the court for it? If there is any way that I could possibly get this off my record before it even gets there I would be truly grateful.
      Dear Danielle: Since this is your first offense, you’ll probably be offered participation in a “diversion program.” Once you finish the program the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. You can also ask about clearing your record or expunging it when you go to court for this in the event your area doesn’t have diversion. Good luck in the service.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Terra
      Sat, 29 Oct 2011 at 11:01

      Hello. I overdosed in school and along with being recommended for expulsion,I’m being charged with 2nd degree possession and public intoxication. I am 17 and hold no prior record, unless you count detention for skipping school once. I would do anything to return to my school, not go to jail, and to be able to go to college out of state next fall. Is there any chance I can bring up diversion?
      Dear Terra: Since this is your first offense you stand a chance of being placed in a “diversion program.” Once you complete the program the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Diversion requires that you admit what happened: the process will be explained to you when you go to court. Keep in mind that diversion is usually limited to first-time offenders. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • ram
      Tue, 01 Nov 2011 at 03:14

      Court asked me to do 24 hrs community service AND a Theft Essay. I got caught while stealing items worth $145 from target store in Tennessee. I am 25. My lawyer was great and she got me this deal. I would advise all first time offenders under Class A Misdemeanor to hire an attorney and have peace of mind. Good Luck.
      Thanks for your comment, Ram.

    • Robbie
      Wed, 02 Nov 2011 at 02:51

      I was caught shoplifting, went to court, got my diversion program and everythings going good so far. However, my diversion class has listed on the paper they gave me that I must be sober and alcohol and drug free at the time of the class. But are they really going to drug test me and every other person in the class? How is it even legal for them to drug test me when I was charged with theft…not drugs or alcohol … please help!
      Dear Robbie: Once the juvenile court has jurisdiction over you, the judge can issue orders that are in your best interests. So, regardless of the charge that brings you before the court, you can be ordered to submit to random drug testing, follow a curfew, have no contact with certain people, etc. Follow whatever release terms are ordered or you risk being detained at juvy. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Brittany
      Thu, 03 Nov 2011 at 09:31

      Hello, I was caught shoplifting at Jcpennys in Arizona (Maricopa County). I was cooperative and everything went smoothly. I am 21, and they did have a police officer come and write me a citation to appear in court on december the 2nd. It was my first offense, and it was for a 79 dollar item. They did mention I had a chance of a “Diversion” even though I am not a minor, but its my first offense getting in trouble ever. It was a extremely dumb decision. What do you think I can expect to happen with this? and financially? I am a smart girl, who made a dumb decsion and I’d hate for this to follow me the rest of my life. Especially with me trying to get into Dental Hygiene school. I sincerely appreciate the time you’ve taken to inform me on this.
      Dear Brittany: Since this is your first offense you’ll likely be offered “diversion.” Once you successfully complete the diversion program, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record that will appear on a future background check. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kim
      Fri, 04 Nov 2011 at 10:04

      Dear Judge , i was charged with petty theft . im 40 years young and this is my first offense. i wne to court today and they offered me pre trial diversion. they stated that once i complete the program that my record will show nolle process. what does that mean and how does the pre trial diversion work? thanks
      Dear Kim: We’ve attached the definition of nol-pros which is short for nolle-prosequi (Latin) for your information:
      http://www.nolo.com/dictionary/nolle-prosequi-term.html
      This means once you successfully complete “diversion” the case is closed and you won’t have a record that will appear on a background check. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Torrie
      Mon, 07 Nov 2011 at 11:19

      I was charged as an unruley minor.I was charged for leaving home and going to friends house. i called my mom when i got there and she said that it was fine, but the next day she called the police and filed me on a missing persons report. I am 16, pregnant, and living with my boyfriend… If i get placed under diversion, would i have to move back in with my mom even though it is okay with her that i live with my boyfriend and his parents? or would i even get diversion?
      Dear Torrie: It is possible to get diversion for this but it’s up to the court to decide how to handle the case. If your Mom makes arrangements for you to live away from home and you’re not in any danger of abuse or neglect, then that should be acceptable to the court. Be honest when you go to court with what’s going on. The last thing you want is to have your baby in detention. Please stay away from drugs, alcohol and tobacco while pregnant. All the best.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Henry
      Mon, 07 Nov 2011 at 04:09

      Hi, well i got a question.
      i was arrest for drug possession (Marihuana)
      when i was in 6th grade.
      when i tried to apply for a job in Publix
      they asked me “ever had a criminal record” or something around that topic.
      and i was confused, because yeah got arrested but i went through the diversion program and from what i know is that it dosnt show on my record.
      but i dnt really know what to put for that ?!
      Dear Henry: The purpose of a diversion program is to keep you from having a record that would appear on a background check. Plus, if you successfully completed diversion, you weren’t “convicted” of a crime – we can’t tell you how to answer these questions, but you can check with the court you were in and see if they have anything on you other than completing diversion. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • sam
      Wed, 09 Nov 2011 at 04:46

      I have completed 24 hrs of community service as ordered by court. I am 22. Next court date is 3rd Jan 2012, but before that I have to finish the Theft Essay as well. I have no idea as to what they look for in the essay which I am going to write. Should I be more worried about the essay? Or should I relax and take it easy and write a simple essay (like what I stole, it’s $$ worth, effect on society etc). How long the essay should be?
      I stole $120 worth items and this was being my first offence ever. What’s gonna happen on my next court date? Reply is really appreciated, Sir !
      Dear Sam: It sounds as if you’re in a diversion program through the court which is in your best interest. Once you finish the terms of diversion, the charge will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. We suggest you speak with the probation officer or court personnel who supervises the diversion program. He/she should know what is required, the specifics of the Theft essay you have to write. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Teresa Enriquez
      Thu, 10 Nov 2011 at 05:12

      I am in search of information for where I might be able to find some type of motivational skills or a alternative behavior class thats free or for low income parents, for my 15 year old who is smoking pot,lieing,and stealing, and getting into fights at school, that is when he shows up for school. He has straight “F’s” in every class and just doesn’t care. About a year ago he was on Juvenile probation, however he dropped clean and did his community service and he was released. It has slowly gotten worse. hes not coming home until after dark and basically thinks , there is nothing wrong with what hes doing. Hes a smart kid only he is making bad choices and I have no idea where to get him help. I don’t want to send him into a rehab environment, because i have only seen first hand that they don’t work when forced to go. Id like to find him something else to put his energy into.Id like to fill every min of his day so that he wont have time to smoke pot or hang out with his friends.Get him focused on something else. Is there such a place? Any information you’d have will be greatly appertained.
      Dear Teresa: We suggest you contact his former probation officer for advice or another one at the court who might be able to help you. Juvenile courts usually have an assigned officer for the public to contact about these situations. He or she will know what services are in your area and what can be done to get him back on track. You may have to file a petition with the court as his mother. The probation officer can explain this to you. It’s called an “incorrigibility petition” that covers kids who refuse to obey their parents, runaway, skip school, violate curfew, etc. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • may
      Thu, 10 Nov 2011 at 09:52

      its may again i would like to ask if i get a diversion program can i pay instead of doing it
      Dear May: The consequence is up to the judge and probation department. You can ask for a certain penalty but there’s no guaranty it will be granted. The purpose of diversion is for you to learn something from the incident, not skate by or have it easy. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Monica
      Sat, 12 Nov 2011 at 03:06

      I am 15 years old and was caught stealing from a sears in vancouver washington the other night. My mom had to pick me up, but I have not been assigned a court date or anything; however, she said I’ll recieve a ticket and fines in the mail. Will I have to go to court and what will happen to me? I think she said the amount was about $50, but I was really scared and don’t remember. This is my first offense and my first encounter with the law ever.
      Dear Monica: The store may choose to send you a “civil demand” letter requesting payment of a civil fine. If this occurs, be sure to pay the fine on time and that may be the end of the matter and you will not have to go to court or have anything on your record. However, if charges end up being filed, you will receive a notice in the mail to appear in court. Since this is your first offense, it is likely that you will be offered some type of diversion program. This means that upon successful completion of community service hours, payment of a fine/restitution and attending a class or counseling, the case will be closed and the charges dismissed. Remember that the penalties will increase for additional offenses, so we hope you learned from this.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Brandon Ford
      Sun, 13 Nov 2011 at 01:06

      I am 20 years old and when i was 16 i was caught shop lifting and it was considered a felony. However i was put into the diversion program and complted it. I am now 20 years old and I was charged with a open house party and underage drinking and was put into diversion program again which i completed. I currently moved to tallahassee and was attending a fsu game and had a cup of beer in my hand and was charged with possesion of alcohol under age and have to go to court. I am currently enrolled as full time student in college and work part time. I was just wonderin what kind of consequences am i looking at or if there is a possability in doing the diversion program a third time. I will be turning 21 3 days after my court date. Any adivice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
      Dear Brandon: It’s possible that you will be offered a diversion program again, but it’s going to depend on the rules/policies of the court. If diversion is not an option, you are likely facing community service, a fine and attending a class or counseling. The incident will remain on your record, but once you successfully complete the terms of your sentence, you can always go back to the court and ask for your record to be destroyed or expunged. You will find out more when you go to your first court date. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Ronica
      Sun, 13 Nov 2011 at 07:15

      i got caught Thursday shoplifting from Walmart. a man stopped me as i was walking through the doors and asked me to follow him. i was shaking profusely as i knew i had been caught. he asked me if he could have his merchandise back so i got the makeup out of my purse and handed it back to him. he said they had to wait to see the amount of the products to see if he would call the cops. he said he was cutting me a break by not calling the cops since it was under $30. he took my picture for their system and took all my info, including address and social sec #. i do not have ANY record of any sort, as i am a manager for a bank! i am freaking out, i realize i can probably get the diversion program but my bank runs background checks annually-i am more concerned with this showing up and how it will affect my employment. will it show up? can i be fired if my employer finds this out? the LP guy from walmart said i would be notified by mail for court even though the police werent called, is this typical? is there anywhere to just get the charges dismissed? i feel like the dumbest person on earth, i have a good job and great life, i feel like ive ruined everything just because i didnt want (not that i couldnt) pay for something. i am so embarassed. i cannot imagine my family or friends finding this out especially if i lose my job, this is my career not just a paycheck. advise please??
      Dear Ronica: Since this is your first offense, there is a good chance that you will be offered some type of diversion program. This means that upon successful completion of community service hours, payment of a fine/restitution and attending a class or counseling, the case will be closed and the charges dismissed. Therefore, you would not have a record of any conviction and it most likely wouldn’t appear on a background check. However, every state is different when it comes to diversion programs and criminal records. Sometimes, the original charge will continue to appear, but the record will show that the charges were dismissed for the final disposition. When you appear for your first court date, you will find out more about the possible options in your case. If diversion is an option, ask whether the offense will appear on a background check once you complete the program. Finally, you will have to look to the employment laws of your state and the rules/policies of your bank concerning reasons for termination. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Matt
      Wed, 16 Nov 2011 at 09:07

      Okay , went to the diversion plce 2 weeks ago, i got on this plan , which apperantly is one step below diversion , and then i failed my piss test , with spice, and today at school i got caught skipping, and tommorow im going to talk to my plan guide person , and he told my mother im gonna be put on diversion , But if he piss test’s me again , im gonna fail for THC this time , any idea whats gonna happen?
      Dear Matt: If you are placed in the diversion program, random drug testing may be part of it. If you continue to test dirty, the probation officer may send your case to the prosecutor for possible charges. Diversion is meant to be a wake-up call. It’s usually available one time as a warning. Continued violations result in formal charges leading to probation, lock-up, etc. So, it’s your decision how your future goes. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Matt
      Wed, 16 Nov 2011 at 09:16

      okay, about a week and a half ago , i went to court for unruly ,and got put on this family plan thing , (I’m 14) , which is one step below diversion , then the guy drug tested me , i failed for spice, he said it was fine that i failed since i was honest about it , but i better pass my next one , then today i got caught skipping class at school, and the guy called my mother and said tommorow at 11am im going to see him, and that im goin to be put on diversion , but if he drug test’s me , im gonna fail again , except this time , for spice , do you have any idea what will happen? I need to know before tommorow:(
      Dear Matt: It’s possible that due to your continued use of illegal drugs, you may not be eligible for diversion anymore. That depends on the policy of the court, the probation officer involved and your attitude. If you keep testing dirty, you’ll be looking at lock-up and/or intensive probation which basically means house-arrest. Time to stay clean – it’s your decision. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jacob
      Thu, 17 Nov 2011 at 07:56

      i was recently caught stealing 2000.00 dollars from work. i want to get an attorney but i dont know if i have enough money to hire one what should i expect or do?
      Dear Jacob: You can call a few in your area and ask about their fees to take on your case. Many charge by the hour while others require a retainer up front. Some will meet with you first to assess the case and the cost of representation. The first 30 minutes or so may be a free consultation with no obligatipon to hire the lawyer. Ask about this when you call for an appointment. If you can’t afford to hire your own lawyer, the court may appoint a public defender to represent you if you qualify financially. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Sandra Quintanilla
      Sat, 19 Nov 2011 at 12:23

      I am 19, and this happened about 2months ago when I was caught shoplifting about 37.00 dollars, it was a bet and my so called friend told me she had done it before and was never caught. So I got caught and she ran away. Anyways, so I was petrified, paid the 265.00 in fine, and the lady there told me if i wanted a no contest plea, I asked what it meant and she told me that it was so I could simply pay and get it over with, but it didnt mean that I was saying I was innocent either, simply guilty but I wanted to pay the fine and don’t have anything to do with it anymore. So I did.

      Now my deal is that if ppl I have just applied a job to make a background check on me, what can they see???

      And can I somehow delete that from my record? I was not given any options! and im so scared!! I was so scared because it was my first time and I know it was so stupid I won’t ever do it again. I just want my record clean the way it was :(

      Please help!
      Dear Sandra: The fine you paid may have been part of a diversion program or a civil fine and therefore, you may have nothing on your record. If you never went to court over the matter, then you do not have a record that will show up on a background check. Contact the court and ask for a copy of your record so you can see exactly what, if anything, appears on it. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Beth
      Wed, 23 Nov 2011 at 12:45

      Hello! 6 years ago in Virginia when I was 17 years old, I was charged with reckless driving (speeding). I went to court and had to pay fines and my license was suspended for 6 months. I have not had anything on my record since then other than a minor speeding ticket. Do I need to report this on my medical school applications that requests information on all misdemeanors (including traffic violations)? Or am I safe since the violation occurred when I was a juvenile and this will not appear on criminal background checks. Thank you for your help!
      Dear Beth: Pay close attention to the exact language on all applications you complete. If you completed a “diversion program” you wouldn’t have a record that would appear on a background check. If the questions use the words “conviction,” “criminal record” or “felony” these wouldn’t necessarily apply to you since the jargon in adult court differs from juvenile court. Kids are “adjudicated responsible” for offenses, they become “delinquent” upon pleading guilty, etc. Answer all questions truthfully after a close reading of it. If you acvtually have a juvenile record, you may be eligible to apply for expungement. Check with the court you were in about the process to clear your record. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Saman
      Wed, 23 Nov 2011 at 08:09

      Hi , Im 17 years Old and i was caught shoplifting for the amount $100.00 , I am nervous cause this was my first offense , what will happen to me? what will happen in the court? what questions will they ask me? i was lucky because in 3 more weeks i was about to turn 18 , oh and plus i was in the state Indiana , so im freaking out so bad…. i cant sleep , what will happen?
      Dear Saman: Since this is your first offense, you may be eligible for “diversion.” When yoiu complete the diversion program, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. When you go to court, the legal process will be explained to you. If you deny the shoplifting, the court may appoint a lawyer to represent you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Dylon
      Thu, 24 Nov 2011 at 09:57

      Hi my name is Dylon and I’m 17 years old, last night I was charged with theft of $2100 from my work, I know I won’t be offered the diversion program but would you happen to know max time I could be serving though it’s a level 9 severity charge?
      Dear Dylon: Every state has its own criminal laws and penalties. If you Google the name of your state and “theft penalties” you’ll see what your law calls for. It may also depend on whether your case is handled in juvenile or adult court. You can speak with a lawyer before you have to go to court for advice. That’s your decision and your parents. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Morgan
      Fri, 25 Nov 2011 at 07:16

      I am 16 and got caught stealing at my job. The total was $12.78 and no police were contacted. I was asked to pay a civil demand for $100. After I pay this will this show up on my criminal record? Will my job or the court send any papers to my house like a reciept after I send in the money? My parents cannot find out.
      Dear Morgan: If the police weren’t involved, you shouldn’t hear from a court about this incident. You could, however, receive a receipt from the store or their lawyer regarding payment of the civil fine. That’s fairly common so you have proof of payment. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • AngelA
      Fri, 25 Nov 2011 at 11:03

      Hey Judge, my school brought in drug dogs and they found an empty visine bottle, lighters, and less then .1 grams of weed on my car. They referred to the weed as “shake” which is the stuff that falls out and onto the floor in my car. Im 16 so I have to go see a juvy officer this Tuesday. What should I expect my consequences to be? Also should I be able to drop clean? This is my first offense. Oh, and on job applications should I admit to comitting a crime?
      Dear Angela: When you go to court, the legal process will be explained to you. If this is your first offense, you may be offered “diversion.” When you complete the diversion program, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Pay close attention to the way questions are asked on job applications. If you don’t see a judge and admit the charges, you weren’t “convicted” of a crime. If you’re required to drug test, make sure you’re clean. Otherwise you may be facing time in detention. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kristine
      Mon, 28 Nov 2011 at 09:20

      Hi! I recently got caught shoplifting $70 at the mall. I know it was a stupid mistake, and I will never do it again. The police took me to the station and took my pictures and fingerprints. They also gave me a paper with a court date in a few months. Will I qualify for a diversion? I’m 17 years of age and this is my first offense. I live in California.
      What can I expect at court? Will they still ask me questions even if I admit that I’m guilty? And how much would the average “fine” be for shoplifting?
      Dear Kristine: Since this is your first offense, you may be offered “diversion.” Once you finish the diversion program, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record that will appear on a background check. When you go to court, the legal process will be explained to you by a court or probation officer. If you were banned from the store, don’t return or you could be charged with trespassing. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kristine
      Sat, 03 Dec 2011 at 06:12

      I have to go to meet a probation officer in a few weeks, and court in a few months. What’s going to happen when I meet the probation officer? Will he tell me if I qualify for diversion? Will i still have to go to court?
      Dear Kristine: Yes, when you meet with the probation officer, he/she will tell you whether you qualify for diversion. If diversion is an option in your case, then you probably will not have to go to court and will have to complete the diversion program before the charges are dropped. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • nathan
      Fri, 09 Dec 2011 at 09:39

      If I was cuaght with a gram of marijuana on school grounds and got put on diversion and now I want to move back to florida with my mom. Will I have to continue diversion in florida or will I be taken off it?
      Dear Nathan: That depends on the court that has jurisdiction of your case and the laws of the state where you were placed in diversion. Check with the person who supervises your diversion program for information about completing the program before you leave or transferring it to Florida. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Anonymous
      Wed, 14 Dec 2011 at 01:49

      Hello. I was wondering, can somebody get caught shoplifting after they have left the store? I’ve shoplifted a few times in a specific store but I vowed to never do it again. Will I be safe to go back into the store, even it I purchase my items? I mean, I doubt they would spend time and money to investigate… because I didn’t steal tv’s or ipod’s. Thank you.
      Dear Anon: If the store has you on video and you’re recognized in the store again, they may take action. They could contact the police that may result in an investigation. It wouldn’t be wise to return to the same store, not to mention the temptation you’ll face in stealing from them again since you got away with it at least once. Shoplifters are often stopped by the police or store personnel (loss prevention) after leaving the store: in the mall or parking lot for example. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Brenda
      Thu, 15 Dec 2011 at 09:10

      I’m 19 and first time shop lifting from my own store it was mainly candy and broken jewelry. Well one day i came into work and there was a sign saying how much money was taken out of the registers. Mine of all people 100 was gone. I went up to my manager and asked her about it and she didn’t know what I was talking about then I told her. I don’t know what she did after that. The next day she said I had a phone call it was my loss prevention person. He said be honest I did he said what did u do with the money I told him I didn’t do anything with it because I didn’t take it. And he said ok. I signed a paper admitting that I took candy and broken toy jewelry and two nail polishes and explained it wasn’t for me but my little sisters and didn’t have money to pay for it because I was on my own. He said we were doing a in house thing where I pay 150 fine but can send 50 bucks each month to pay it off I felt horrible because I’m a hard worker and wasn’t thinking. The next day my district manager said I’m terminated I’m fired. I worked as retail but don’t know if they charged me for anything so when I try to apply for another retail job will that effect my job opportunity. No big authorities like police were involved just my manger me my lp and district manger. Please help i don’t know if I will be able to apply at another retail place
      Dear Brenda: Since the police weren’t involved and you don’t have to go to court, you don’t have a record that would appear on a background check. If your store belongs to a retail organization where shoplifters are reported and their names are stored in their files, then there’s a chance another employer could discover this incident. But the chances are slim since many stores don’t belong to these large retail databases. You have to pay to belong and obtain this information. Good luck. Consider yourself lucky this time that the incident was not reported to the police.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • rickyy
      Fri, 16 Dec 2011 at 10:28

      When I was 19, I was caught shoplifting by grocery store security in PA. The items were less than $20, and the store decided to let me go and I paid a 150 charge to the store. Today, I am 26, and got caught shoplifting at walmart, less than $20. The store security decided not to call the police, explaining I may have to pay 150. They also mentioned that if I get caught again, it will be an automatic misdeminor.

      Is that retroactive? Is my incident from when I was 19 going to cause this evenings incident to turn into a legal charge instead of just civil fines between the store and I?

      I will pay whatever fine comes from the store, but I am worried they will see in a database that I was caught six or seven years ago, and decide to call the police or notify a court. Is this possible?
      Dear Ricky: It’s extremely unlikely that Walmart would find out about the previous incident since it also was handled civilly through a different store. However, if you get caught again by either store, the police will most likey be called and you will face criminal charges. Also, some stores have a policy that they call the police for just about every shoplifting incident even if the item stolen is less than $20, so we hope you learned from these incidents.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Louisa
      Sat, 17 Dec 2011 at 01:40

      Hi, so I don’t know if you can necessarily give me any information here, but, here it goes. I recently worked a retail job in Ontario Canada, where I stole a small amount of cash from the till. I am 19 years old and this is my first offense. I was under a lot of stress recently and got back from a temporary leave due to a funeral, when I was asked to come out of the store and down a security hall. I was then arrested and handcuffed and informed that I was being charged with theft under 5000$. When asked, I cooperated completely and confessed, the officer then took off the cuffs, gave me a sheet to appear in court and to get finger-printing done. The officer and I then (without the cuffs, as she said she did not want to humiliate me) walked out to her car where she proceeded to get all my information and ask me a bunch of random questions (what I wanted to be when I grew up, do I volunteer right now, am I in post secondary school, etc) after this, she told me that in her report that she will make a note that I was very cooperative and gave her no trouble. I was then told to go home, don’t lose sleep, and have a good Christmas. Well I’m losing a lot of sleep, and I don’t think my Christmas will be as fun as it was suppose to be, but I understand that this is my fault. I have not hired a lawyer but was suggested by legal aid to show up an 1hr before court. So my question is or questions are, is there a chance I will go to prison over this? and or, will I still be eligible for a possible diversion program?
      Dear Louisa: It’s very unlikely that you would go to prison if this is your first offense and since you claim you stole a small amount from your employer. Depending on how much you stole and whether you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony will either make you eligible or ineligible for diversion. (Diversion is only offered for minor misdemeanor offenses.) When you go to your first court date, you will find out more and have a better idea as to how the case may be resolved and what consequences you face. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Brittany
      Sat, 17 Dec 2011 at 03:09

      I just had a couple questions about my diversion.

      My diversion period was 12 months and it will be finished in March. After that date, will my charge still show up on a background check? Do I still have to say that I have a criminal record?

      Right now, while I’m currently in a diversion period, do I have to claim (on job applications) that I have a criminal history and will the charge show on my record/backround check?

      The charge was for petty theft and took place in Kansas but I live and am applying for jobs in Colorado.

      Thanks so much.
      Dear Brittany: Once you complete diversion, the incident is unlikely to show up on background checks, but it depends on the laws of Kansas as well as the type of criminal background check that is conducted. Sometimes, the original charge will appear on a person’s record, but then it will say that the charge was dismissed. Ask the probation officer about this or whoever your contact person is for diversion. You can also request a copy of your record through the court or police department once you complete diversion so you can see exactly what if anything appears on it. Be sure to read the language on any application very carefully. If it asks whether you have any convictions, you can answer no since diversion gives you the opportunity to get the charges dropped. Again, it’s unlikely to appear on a background check at this time, but ultimately depends on the laws of Kansas, the type of background check conducted and whether charges were even filed against you before you started the diversion program. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • David
      Tue, 20 Dec 2011 at 02:41

      Dear Sir,

      in January 2010 I was handed a citation for carrying less than an ounce of marijuana in southern california. I went in front of a commissioner in March 2010 and I accepted to complete a diversion program and pay a $50 fee to the court. In california misdemeanor offences relating to marijuana are destroyed/expunged from records after two years of the actual citation and/or conviction. I have not been able to pay the 50 fine and or complete the diversion program. its december 2011 and in january or march of 2012 my 2 years would be up. Would my offense be automatically destroyed or stay their until I complete the diversion and pay the fine. I am scarred and thank you for your help!!
      Dear David: It’s going to depend on the specific laws of your state, but if you have failed to complete the terms of the program, there’s a good chance that the charges are not going to just be dropped and your record destroyed. We suggest you try calling the probation department or whoever is overseeing the diversion program and explain your circumstances and that you would like a little more time if possible to complete the program. However, a $50 fine is certainly low compared to other jurisdictions and you should be able to pay this over the course of two years. Make an honest effort to come up with the money (or at least half of it) and/or complete the other terms of the program, and the court will most likely be more willing to work with you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • joe
      Tue, 20 Dec 2011 at 03:44

      I was assigned to take a drug class, first time offender on diversion, and am late on taking it, what should be my next steps?
      Dear Joe: Call the probation department or whoever is overseeing the diversion program, explain your circumstances and ask if you could have a little more time to complete your terms. If you are already signed up for the class and show that you are making an effort to get it done when you make the call, they are more likely to work with you and give you an extension. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Robin Ann
      Wed, 21 Dec 2011 at 04:47

      I got caught shoplifting, got on diversion, finished all the requirments and now i’d like to appy to a college. The application says, “Have you ever been convicted of a law violation or adjudicated under the jurisdiction of a juvenile court for an act that resulted in probation, community service, a jail sentence or revocation or suspension of your driver’s license? If yes, submit letter of explanation. Answering yes isn’t an automatic disqualification but information will be considered. You are not obligated to disclose a sealed juvenile record of arrest, custody, complaint, disposition, diversion, adjudication, or sentence.” can i put no without getting in trouble? is it on my criminal record that the college can axcess?
      Dear Robin: The purpose of diversion is to keep a minor from getting a record that may affect them after becoming an adult. So, if you successfully completed a diversion program, there shouldn’t be anything that would appear on a background check. You can check with the court you were in to see if a record exists. If it does, ask about applying to have it cleared or expunged. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kristen
      Wed, 21 Dec 2011 at 09:08

      I am 21 and being accused of theft by taking for $400 from my job. I didn’t do it, but I was so stressed out that when I was in the back room for 3 hours I signed some papers. They yelled at me and told me to even though I said many times on the recording that I didn’t do this. I am SO MAD at myself for being naive and ignorant, but I was appalled at how they could accuse me of doing this. The cops came and took my information, and then I just walked out of the store without an escort. What can I expect at this point? Thank you so much.
      Dear Kristen: You may receive notice in the mail of a court date if you are charged with theft or shoplifting. Don’t miss court or the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest. Once there, the legal process will br explained to you. If this is your first offense, you may be eligible for “diversion.” Once you finish the diversion program, the case is dismissed and you won’t have a record that will affect the rest of your life. You can also plead not guilty and make the state prove you stole the money. You may be appointed a public defender to represent you if you qualify. Or you can speak with a lawyer anytime before going to court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • lora liddell
      Sun, 25 Dec 2011 at 02:41

      I am being “offered” a diversion for tag violation. I own a home in Kansas, but work and spend 80% of my time in Oklahoma. I tagged my cars in Oklahoma because I had to have an OK driver’s license to rent an apartment. I was told at the drivers license office that the tag, license and insurance all have to be in the same state. The county’s evidence against me states there are “police reports” but all they provided me with are random statements based on police officers “personal knowledge”. Some of which are incorrect statements. The county insists that because I am still a Kansas registered voter, even though I haven’t voted since 2004. I don’t want to sign a diversion and pay $1600 because I don’t think I have committed a crime. I also asked the county attorney why he was only going after the car and truck, but not my motorcycle. He stated “we don’t care about that”. It sounds like they are only after the money and not about proving a crime was comitted. It isn’t like I didn’t pay at all, I paid Oklahoma and on my car it was more than Kansas would’ve been, so that should show that I was tagging them in Oklahoma to get a cheaper tag. Basically, I need to know if a diversion is all I can do about this case. Should state that I wasn’t tagging them in OK to get a cheaper tag.
      Dear Lora: AsktheJudge.info is an educational website for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens. If you plead not guilty and make the state prove that you broke the law, the court may appoint a public defender to represent you. Explain everything to your lawyer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Matt
      Mon, 26 Dec 2011 at 06:22

      Yeah , its me again sadly. Well i failed the first drug test about a month or 2 ago, for spice, like i was telling you. Then a few days ago (like 3days ago) i failed another . And he said im getting kicked off diversion and put on probation . He said the only reason im not going right to jail is because holidays. Whats the most probable thing that will happen? (I have court tommorow ) Please respond fast. Thank you
      -Matt
      Dear Matt: If you were told that you are being put on probation, then it sounds like that is what is going to happen. Because you failed to comply with the terms of the diversion program, the charges will no longer be dismissed. Once you complete probation, the charge will stay on your record unless you go back to the court and request your record be destroyed or expunged. You will most likely be drug tested on probation, so we hope you can stay clean otherwise jail time may be more likely. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • judy turan
      Tue, 27 Dec 2011 at 12:26

      My second offence stealing? I’m only 15, and i went through diversion once. Ionly stole 10 dollars worth at h&M and i regret it alot. But what’s going to happen? Will i get another chance? If not thenwhat?
      Dear Judy: You may get lucky this time and go through diversion again. It depends on the court’s policies and the probation officer’s recommendation. Otherwise, you may be placed on short-term probation with additional community service, a class or counseling. Try not to give in to temptation again. The penalties get harsher each time you have to go to court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ale
      Tue, 27 Dec 2011 at 04:36

      I was caught shoplifting at nordstrom in Washington State the merchandise cost $220. It was a sun glasses $140 and jacket $80 I am 40 years of age with a clean record no any other prior but in my possession they also found a half broken saw so this may constitute an extenuating circumstances ? My question is, Am I going to be charged with felony? Can I get diversion program or because it’s a felony I wont be able to get that privilege? It is my first time, can it be reduced to gross misdemeanor? Should I plea guilty? please help I am very nervous and i don’t know what to do i am still waiting for citation in the mail
      Thanks Ale
      Dear Ale: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for and about teenagers and the law. We do not provide legal advice to anyone – teens or adults and cannot tell you how to plead. You are most likely facing a misdemeanor shoplifting charge, but it ultimately depends on the laws in your state. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, then diversion may be an option. You will find out more when you go to your first court date. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Mark
      Tue, 27 Dec 2011 at 10:22

      I live in Rhode Island and got charge with a felon drug charge. I hired a attorney and told me I can go into the diversion plan. I complete the drug counseling and 60 hours community service. Next, the case got dispose but it was still in public record view. Them, he proceed to get it expunge, which went well too and the record was cleared from public view. My question is, I’m trying to get into a job which require me to get security clearance in the future and travel different country for the company. Would I have to disclose that my record have been expunge and would it be any problem traveling out of state?
      Thanks,
      Dear Mark: That depends on the exact question asked on any application you complete. Read all questions carefully and answer truthfully. Remember that since you successfully completed a diversion program and your record has been cleared. there wouldn’t be anything that would be disclosed on a background check. This one incident shouldn’t be an obstacle in your travel plans. The purpose of “diversion” is to keep you from getting a record that follows you around in your adult life. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • scared
      Tue, 27 Dec 2011 at 11:46

      dear judge.
      i was with a friend or so i thought she was a friend a couple weeks ago, we went to wal mart and we were not together in the store i went a got a few things that i needed and went to the make up aisle, where she was i looked at a few things and then left the aisle, well she came and found me and handed me a purse said it was hers and wanted me to hold onto it, so i put it with mine, and continued to shop, well i get to the checkout line and i pay for my items and we are walking out the door when two men stop us and tell us we needed to come with the, so we went and i was confused i did not no what was going on, we get into the room and they tell us that everything that belonged to wal mart they needed in a pile, the girl i was with throws a diper bad down and i couldnt believe it, then they looked at me and told me that i had a bag that hadnt been paid for. i looked at her and she had a smirk on her face and i knew she hadnt told me the truth so i gave them the bag. i had some makeup in my purse that was mine and i had still had the receipt for but they tried to say i stole it, i have never been in trouble for anything, but the girl i was with has a record of stealing, the cops came and took us both to jail and now i dont no what is going to happen when i go to court over this the girl i was with has a record of stealing and i am so scared, im afraid that because she has a record its going to make it worse on me i really didnt do anything, she told me the purse was hers and i believed her but because of her lie i was arrested and charged with shoplifting, the stuff that she was trying to steal came to a total of 189.00 and i had money on me i had no reason to steal! i live in kentucky and if you could give me some advice as to what is going to happen id appreciate it, thanks
      Dear Scared: When you go to court for this, you will meet with a court or probation officer. If this is your first offense, you may be eligible for “diversion.” However, diversion requires an admission to the crime first and then you’re placed into the program. On the other hand, if you plead not guilty, which is your right, the court will set a trial date and possibly appoint a lawyer to represent you. Or your family can hire a lawyer for you now and not wait for the hearing. When you speak with your lawyer, be truthful and explain exactly what happened. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • scareddddd
      Wed, 28 Dec 2011 at 11:29

      how long does it take to receive court papers after shoplifting
      Dear scared: Depending on your local court’s calendar, the size of the town/city you live in and how many cases are pending in that court, it may take a month or so and up to several months to receive your notice in the mail to appear in court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Brenda
      Thu, 29 Dec 2011 at 12:49

      Dear judge thank u for the advic. Now I have another problem after i signed the promissory note to pay 150 I get a letter from a law corporation saying I have to pay 200 I called the law office to explain and said I has to pay 150 and pay 200 because of va law. But doesn’t that mean I mrs a felony automatically as I recall misdemeanor under 50 but the company is blaming me for the 100 bucks missing from the register which was not me but someone using my i.d number for the register. I might have taken the candy and broken kid jewelry but I did not take 100 from my own register. I need help and don’t understand all this fines and paying this promissory note and what I can do and can not. The lady told me my company said it’s my fault for 150 loss of company
      Dear Brenda: We suggest that you speak with a lawyer about this. We do not provide legal advice to teenagers or adults. You can contact your local Public Defender’s Office and ask if they provide legal advice to the public. Also many private criminal defense lawyers offer a free consultation for the first 30 minutes or so. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • frank
      Thu, 29 Dec 2011 at 04:06

      hi, im 16 and recently shoplifted $50 worth of dvds from a kmart in AZ and my parents have paid fees to kmart, will i qualify for diversion considering it is my first offense and will diversion include drug testing ? thank you for your advice
      Dear Frank: Yes, you may qualify for diversion and it could include drug testing depending on your needs and what the assigned probation officer decides. If testing is a part of your diversion, make sure you test clean and as often as your PO tells you too. Otherwise, diversion can be cancelled and you’ll face charges before a judge. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • robert
      Fri, 30 Dec 2011 at 01:59

      dear judge my friend wants to know if he got caught selling marijuana and was put on diversion for 6 months .when the 6 months is over does he have to go in the probation office or is he just off on the day the expiration date says?
      Dear Robert: Tell your friend to read any paperwork he signed or received when he started the diversion program. The rules should be spelled out in those documents. If he successfully completes the program, the charge will be dismissed and he won’t have a record. He could also ask the person (probation officer) who supervises his diversion about this.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Star
      Sun, 01 Jan 2012 at 01:05

      Ok i have a friend who got caught shoplifting. I didnt shoplift but I have taken a thing or two in the past out of need, but thats been about a month ago at least. He has to go to court over it, I didnt have anything so they let me go. Im 18 and hes 19, is it possible for them to try and accuse me or arrest me for over a month ago? It’s TN.
      Dear Star: Although it’s possible to be charged for incident that happened a month ago, it’s very unlikely considering the store probably does not have the time or resources to review evidence in order for charges to be filed. Shoplifting “out of need” does not make it any more right than shoplifting for fun. You probably got away with it last time, but chances are you will be caught if you continue to do it, so we hope you learned from your mistake.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Erik Rojas
      Mon, 02 Jan 2012 at 02:31

      Hi my name is erik im 17 , I stole from target and the item was 20$ and the police came and got my info.my fingerprints then I went to court they game metheft classes but I had to go on dec 13 &18 but I did nt realize until later, I missed the theft classes, can I still sign up? Or is it too late for me? I have to show up in court on jan 30 or theyll.have a warrant for my atrest , what should I do? Please reply asap
      Dear Erik: Take a look at any paperwork you received when you first signed up for the theft classes – anything you have from the court or probation department. There should be a phone number that you can call. Explain what happened and ask for an extension of time to complete the classes. The sooner you do this, the better. That way when you go to court on the 31st, the court will see that you’ve tried to complete the classes and not ignored this or blown it off. Keep a record of your attempts to resolve this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Anxious
      Mon, 02 Jan 2012 at 11:05

      Ok so as a juvenile (5 years ago) I was charged with trespassing and it may have been listed as attempted burglary, but I can’t remember. However the prosecutor did not barge and I was offered the diversion program which I finished years ago. I now am in my third year of earning my criminal justice degree at an accredited university, I have learned to speak Spanish and I am doing my best to make an attractive resume to become a cop. Keep in mind that I completed diversion in the state of Colorado where instill reside, I can’t find the specific diversion laws for the state but to this day I am very very scared that if when a applying to Colorado state police this information can be found. I talked to my diversion advisor at the da office and she said she couldn’t find any records of my arrest but I am still very scared please help!
      Dear Anxious: The purpose of diversion is to keep first-time offenders from getting a record that could follow them around as an adult and adversely affect them. The fact that the prosecutor’s office didn’t find anything is encouraging – diversion worked and there’s no record of the incident. To further put your mind at ease, you could contact the court you were in and ask if they have anything on you. If they do, and it’s highly unlikely, ask about the process to have the record expunged. You may be able to do this online if the court has a website. Good luck at school and with your future career.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Anxious
      Mon, 02 Jan 2012 at 12:59

      Thankyou very much for the prompt and detailed response to my question above, even more impressive it was on a holiday. One more question, if I contacted the appropriate court to ask about my records would they be able to tell me if there are sealed records and if yes would they be able to tell me the contents of them if it’s my own personal file? Would the court be the county court? Or do they have courts at local levels? If they find no record of expunged, destroyed juvenile records because of my diversion program am I in the clear to apply to criminal justice jobs such as being a cop? I haven’t committed a crime since and I have a perfect driving record. Thankyou.
      If this is the only incident with the law that you’ve had, you should be in the clear. We can’t say what court you would have been in other than the one that had jurisdiction over the case at the time. It could be city court, municipal court, superior court, etc. depending on the state’s judicial system. There are numerous levels in every state. You could try Googling the town/city you lived in at the time with “juvenile court” for information. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Hannah
      Tue, 03 Jan 2012 at 05:43

      I was caught shopplifting with a friend at Kohl’s and havent got an arraignment yet. I am 14 and i stole $319 worth of stuff and my friend stole $207. They said if it was 200 dollars or more it would be a felany. I havent gotten in any trouble not even in school…. What do you think will happen?
      Dear Hannah: Since this is your first offense, you’ll probably be eligible for a “diversion program.” When you complete it, the case will be closed and you won’t have a record that will affect you the rest of your life. When you go to court, a court or probation officer will explain everything to you and your parents. Think twice before stealing again. Diversion is usually available for first-time offenses only. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Anxious
      Tue, 03 Jan 2012 at 07:30

      From earlier you answered a few questions of mine about becoming an officer and if my diversion had completely rid me of my record. Today I contacted the country and municipal courts and had them run a search on me, using both possible last names I was nowhere to be found in their systems neither a sealed or existing record including arrest. Is there another way for this record to haunt me or am I in the clear to pursue a dedicated life in law enforcement? Please help and thanks once again.
      Dear Anxious: If nothing shows up in the court’s records, there’s nothing that would appear in a background check. The only other possibility is a record held by the law enforcement agency involved with the incident if the police were called. Otherwise, you’re most likely in the clear. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Brenna
      Wed, 04 Jan 2012 at 04:45

      Hello:) i was caught shoplifting, first time and last time, im paying the fees and doing the whole nine yards but im 17 and have two jobs: i work at a store in the mall, and a store not related to the mall whatsoever. I stole from a completley different store at the mall but will my job at the mall be notified to “watch out” for me? And will my seperate job find out? Thank you
      Dear Brenna: As you know, anything is possible. So, depending on the size of your mall, the ongoing relationship between store employees and owners and other factors, your incident may become known. It’s unlikely the “separate job” will become aware of this unless you’re in a very small town where everyone knows everybody. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • scared
      Wed, 04 Jan 2012 at 08:48

      dear judge,
      i recently asked a question about being with someone who i thought was a friend who shoplifted, and now i have another one. i got a letter from a lawyer that wal mart had hired, and it says its a civil demand and that i have to pay 250.00, do i have to pay it? and if i do if i pay it by the time i go to court what will the judge say? will he take that into consideration? and is it possible that they will put me in jail?
      Dear Scared: Whether the judge orders that you serve some time in jail Depends on the amount involved in the shoplifting and your history of offenses. If this was a first offense, it’s unlikely you’ll receive any jail time. It’s up to you whether you pay the “civil demand.” Stores have the authority under the laws of your state to impose these fines. Usually, once the fine is paid, the case is closed without any further action. If you pay it before your hearing, make sure you tell the probation officer or judge and show them proof of payment (a copy of the money order or check, etc.). The fact that you paid will be considered by the court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Marie
      Wed, 04 Jan 2012 at 10:51

      Hello…just seeing if I can find some information. Two years ago when my daughter was 12, she and a couple of friends got ‘arrested’ for shoplifting…he & her friends were in a grocery store riding in a cart which they pushed into the bathroom AND somehow a pack of hotdogs made it’s way into the toilet. Well, the kids proceeded to buy something else from the store & then were stopped and the police called and they were charged with shoplifting because they did not ‘buy’ the hotdogs. Anyways, she got diversion for this, she had never been in trouble before and has not gotten into trouble again until now at age 14. Again, she was with some friends, but the other kids got away and my daughter will not say she was with anyone else & it that it was just her trying to steal at item under $5.00. I’m wondering would she be able to get diversion again or is that only a one time deal? Sorry so long!
      Dear Marie: Usually, diversion is meant for first-time offenders. However, depending on the court where you live, they may offer diversion to second or even third-time offenders depending on the nature of the crime and value involved. Since this recent incident was a $5.00 theft, it’s likely she’ll have a chance at diversion again. It’s up to the court and prosecutor. Your daughter needs to learn from this or she’ll eventually face some time in lock-up (detention). Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Rowan
      Thu, 05 Jan 2012 at 01:54

      Hello i im 15 years old and i was cought for 3 acts of vadalism(grafiti). i was giving the oppertunity to go through diversion and my meeting is on the 12th. what would happen if i didnt show up to the meeting? i assume they would carry out the charge. i was also woundering how much time needs to pass before they cant charge me anymore? i live in Canada British Columbia. Thanks!
      Dear Rowan: If you miss the meeting and don’t complete the diversion terms, you’re right. Formal charges will likely follow. We’ve attached below some discussion about the Statute of Limitations from a Canadian lawyer. You could also Google “British Columbia vandalism statute of limitations” for information. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • sam
      Thu, 05 Jan 2012 at 11:34

      I completed & submitted proof of community service (24 hrs), theft essay to the court yesterday. Judge said that my charges are dismissed :)
      I paid the court costs ($184) as well. After that I asked for the expungement form. The guy at the counter gave me the form and asked me to write my address on it and sign it, which I did. And he told me that he will take care of rest other fields on the form. Then I left. Is there anything that I need to do now?
      He also said that once records are destroyed (or expunged) court will mail me the copy of the expungement form to my address withing 90 days. But thing is that I am moving out of US withing 30 days. So is it something that I must acknowledge the receipt of copy of expungement form? or is everything fine now..?
      Dear Sam: Hopefully, you provided an address that will be good for the next ninety days. If not, call the court and change it to a relative or friend’s address. It depends on the court’s policies whether you would need to sign a receipt for the expungement letter sent to you. Ask about this when you call the court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Samuel
      Thu, 05 Jan 2012 at 06:23

      hey what can happen if I got caught stealing a bottle of liquor and 3 packs of gum!the police got involved, and now I have court! And I am only 16 years if age? I am getting sued by cvs?!? I live in California?!? Help!:O
      Dear Samuel: When you go to court the process will be explained to you. If this is your first offense, you may qualify for a “diversion program.” Once you finish the program the case will be closed and you won’t have a record. If you’re not eligible for diversion and you admit the charge, you may be placed on probation. The judge can also order you to make restitution to the store. The store could send you a “civil demand” letter requiring payment of a fine. It could be several hundred dollars. Once it’s paid, the store usually takes no further action. You can speak with a lawyer that your parents hire before the hearing, or wait until you go to court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • scared
      Thu, 05 Jan 2012 at 06:34

      dear judge, the items that was stole was like 189 dollars, i go to court over it tomorrow, but the girl that i was with is the one who was caught with the stuff that was a total of 189 dollars. and this is my first offence, i am 22 and i live in kentucky how do i no for sure if they will offer me the diversion program? and i have paid some on that civil demand from wal mart and i plan on showing the judge my receipt! im so scared i dont no what is going to happen…
      Dear Scared: You’ll find out what happens when you go to court. You’ll first meet with a probation officer who will explain everything to you. Let him know about paying the civil demand.
      If diversion is an option and you accept it, you may not actually see a judge. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Manuel
      Fri, 06 Jan 2012 at 07:23

      Hey i was charged with theft about a year ago in utah because my friend stole an ipod and i was with him i helped him i didnt have to go before a judge all i had to do was show up to something where they told me about misdemeanors and felonies and how they work they didnt say anything about a diversion program but i just got 25 hours of community service i was 15 and im 16 and looking for a job is this gonna have a big affect on me? Also does my record get cleared when i turn 18?
      Dear Manuel: Since you didn’t see a judge or plead guilty to this, you don’t have an official record that will affect your future. It sounds like you participated in a “diversion program” whether you realized it or not. Take a look at this site for information about expunging a juvenile record in Utah.
      Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Denise Boswell
      Sun, 08 Jan 2012 at 01:55

      My nephew was caught shoplifting put in the diversion program recently and just caught with less than an ounce of marijuana on school property. He hasn’t went to court yet but what are his chances fo the court letting him go to a treatment program and not letting this effect his life permanently? Should we retain a lawyer? Any advice would be helpful.
      Thank you.
      Dear Denise: Your nephew will find out more when he goes to his first court date for the marijuana charge. He may be facing probation with a fine, community service and drug awareness classes or counseling. Once you have a better idea as to his potential consequences for the new charge as well as the shoplifting case (since he most likely violated the terms of his diversion program), you can decide whether or not you should hire an attorney. You don’t necessarily need an attorney for his first court appearance. Also, since he is a minor, his record may be sealed once he is 18 or older. He also can ask for his record to be expunged, so these incidents will not negatively impact the rest of his life. Good luck to your nephew.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Manuel
      Sun, 08 Jan 2012 at 12:48

      Thanks for your previous answer and actually i forgot to mention i did plead guilty but i never went before a judge
      Dear Manuel: You’re welcome. Since you pled guilty, you may want to request a copy of record from the court, so you can see exactly what appears on it. Then check out the site we mentioned previously about expunging your record.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Trev
      Sun, 08 Jan 2012 at 02:24

      On January 1st 2012 i had an incident with the police. They searched my car and found two completely empty bags that used to contain marijuana. I also lied to the police officer about where the marijuana could be. The two charges they are trying to give me are Obstruction of Justice, and possession of paraphanelia, i have no previous record. I was thinking I will probaly be put on diversion, and I was wondering how long it will usually take to be put on diversion, after the time of the crime?
      Dear Trev: If you were given a citation with a court date on it, you will find out more at the time of your court date and possibly be placed on diversion at that time. Otherwise, you will have to wait to receive a notice in the mail to appear in court. If charges are filed, you probably will receive this notice within the next month or so. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Trev
      Sun, 08 Jan 2012 at 10:54

      Thanks for the information, I was not given a citation. is there a chance that the charges could be dropped? If they are dropped will i recieve a letter or something telling me that they were dropped? Also, i thought that diversion didnt require going to court?
      Dear Trev: It is possible that the police will decide against filing any charges or the prosecutor may turn the case down. Either way, you probably won’t get formal notice of this other than the silence involved in not hearing anything further about this. Regarding diversion, in many jurisdictions you make an appearance at court to start the diversion program. You won’t see a judge but many probation officers are located at the court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • gianina
      Mon, 09 Jan 2012 at 10:33

      Hello.
      i got caught steling 2 years ago when i was 16 with the amount of 279$ and i went to court three months later i got community service for 15 hours. i complete it all. now i recently got caught again with the amount of 280$ in october two weeks before my birthday (18 years old) i was 17. They told me that i will be going to juvinile court since i was 17 at that time. what will happen next?
      Dear Gianina: It’s time to take this seriously. Now that you’re an adult, the penalties for stealing may be harsher than when you were younger. When you go to court, everything will be explained to you. You may get lucky again and be placed into a diversion program. Otherwise you may be given probation with specific terms to follow. Google the name of your state and “theft under $300″ for information. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Lexi
      Mon, 09 Jan 2012 at 11:01

      I was just issued a misdemeanor citation in Tennessee for theft. I would like to know what’s going to happen. It was under 50.00, 39.99 to be exact.
      I have not turned myself in yet, I’m doing that soon. Will I go to jail?
      I’m starting college in a week,
      This is my first stupid mistake ever. The man who caught me at the store told me i’d more than likely just get a ticket, because my background was clean within 30 seconds.
      Any help?
      Dear Lexi: When you go to court, everything will be explained to you. Since this is your first offense, there’s a good chance you’ll be offered “diversion.” When you complete diversion, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record that will appear on a background check. Don’t miss the hearing or the judge can issue a warrant for your arrest. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • nikkio
      Tue, 10 Jan 2012 at 06:06

      Hey judge I was on pretrail diversion I paid. All of my fines except for court costs my probation officer said she can’t give me anymore extensions. And will have to terminate my diversion what dose that mean will happen to me?
      Dear Nikkio: It could mean that the prosecutor will file formal charges against you. If that happens you’ll receive notice of a court hearing. Don’t miss the hearing or the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest. When you go to court, explain what happened and why you didn’t pay the court costs. You may get lucky and be granted an extension. You can also speak with a lawyer about this before going to court. That’s your decision. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Lexi
      Tue, 10 Jan 2012 at 03:13

      Should I get an attorney? And i’m 19, if that worsens the situation or anything.. Thank you SO much for your advice though.
      Dear Lexi: You will find out more when you go to your first court date including whether or not diversion is an option in your case. You do not need an attorney for your first court appearance. You will learn more at that time and if you believe an attorney is necessary, you can always retain one after your court date. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Lina
      Tue, 10 Jan 2012 at 04:38

      I am a 14 year old girl, and was caught with possession of some marijuana and cigarettes in school. I have court this Thursday, and I’m kind of scared of what they decide to do. What’s going to happen? Also, my mom says that I don’t have to dress all fancy, but I looked it up and it says I do…but I don’t really have the right clothes or shoes for it…what could I wear? Uggs? Nikes? Black skinny jeans?
      Dear Lina: If this is your first offense, you may qualify for a “diversion program.” Once you finish the program, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. This is usually offered to first-time offenders only, so keep this in mind if you’re tempted again to use drugs or tobacco until you’re of age. Regarding your appearance in court, it is noticed and says something about your attitude and respect for the court. You’re not expected to go out and buy an outfit just for court. The judge and everyone involved understands the economy and financial stress many are suffering. Wear an outfit that would be appropriate for either church or to go out to dinner with your grandmother. Take a look here for more about this:
      http://www.askthejudge.info/how-do-i-dress-for-court/6726/
      Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Mark Sleon
      Tue, 10 Jan 2012 at 05:06

      I accidentally walked out of a store with some merchandice in clear view. I was 10 ft out of the store when they stopped me. I had my twin girls with me and was distracted my their crying. I appologized and offered to pay but they told me it was now not an option. I dont have a court date yet but does intent count? Also the store sent me a bill for the merchandice even though they wouldnt let me buy it and I dont have it, is this legal? If I am found innocent can they still charge me?
      Dear Mark: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to teens or adults.
      Based on what you’ve described, you might want to speak with a lawyer before doing anything. Intent does matter and you may want to make the lack of intent part of your defense. Stores are allowed under the laws of your state to impose a fine for theft and shoplifting. Usually once the fine is paid, called a “civil demand,” the case is closed. It is your decision whether to pay it or not. You may want to see if formal charges are filed against you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Danny
      Thu, 12 Jan 2012 at 10:07

      Hey I’m 20 and I was with the wrong friends @ the wrong time. I got caught stealing $162 worth of clothing items @ Sears. I lied to the police about my name and info and turned myself in. I spent 3 hours and jail and was out on bond. I am so scared. I am a teacher and I go to college and I’m supposed to graduate in June 2012. I am scared I will lose my job, get kicked out my apt and be a failure with student loans at my throat *plus I have a child. What do you think will happen? My court case is Feb1 in VA
      Dear Danny: Relax. If this is your first offense, you’re probably eligible for a “diversion program.” Once you finish the program (community service, counseling, etc.)the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record that will affect your future. When you go to court, everything will be explained to you by a court or probation officer. Be honest and accept responsibility for your actions. Diversion is usually available to first-time offenders only. You have a lot of positive things going on in your life. Another crime may seriously impact all you’ve worked for not to mention your relationship with your child. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • David
      Fri, 13 Jan 2012 at 12:02

      So I got charged with violation of restraining order because I accidentally went into the counseling office and I didn’t notice my ex-gf in there. She just wanted a restraining order to get back at me. However, now I have a trial date. I was wondering if I will be able to go to college in a different state if I am charged, or if probation would hinder that. Her friends are mad that she’s continuing this bbut it’s out of my control. Can you help answer my concerns? Also, I want to go to Florida for spring break. Thanks :-) -David
      Dear David: As you may already know, violating a restraining order is serious. Judges don’t take lightly that their order of protection is ignored and violated. Discuss this with your lawyer before trial. He or she will know the consequences in your state if you’re found guilty or you plead guilty. There are many variables here that come into play when it comes to your question about the affect this may have on your future. Again, review all of this with your lawyer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Brittany
      Fri, 13 Jan 2012 at 10:35

      To Whom It May Concern:
      I am 17 and live in Kentucky. I’ve never shoplifted or experimented with drugs, alcohol, etc. and am an overall good student. I’ve never given my mom or my high school any trouble except for one thing: Truancy. Last year, when I was a 16 year old junior, I missed several days that were unexcused due to both sickness and bullying. I have very bad stomach and ear issues. We were able to get a diversion and I obliged. In October of this school year, my senior year, I was able to be dismissed of the charges. However, it’s happened again. I’ve missed 7 days unexcused this year due to the same thing: sickness and bullying. The only reason we couldn’t go to the doctor last year and this year because of having to pay $60 every visit and we don’t make over $15,000 annually. My question is, since this is my second offense and I’m 17, what’s going to happen? Will my mom face jail time or will she be fined?
      Dear Brittany: Sorry to hear about the situation again this year. Here is some information from your state’s Supreme Court about truancy in Kentucky and the program available to teens and parents. If you’re cited again for the unexcused absences this year, explain the reasons to whomever you meet with about this. Although bullying isn’t necessarily an excuse for ditching school, most school administrators are aware of the problem and that students need help with the problem and not additional consequences. Also discuss this with your parents. You don’t want to jeopardize your senior year and all the future holds for you. Good luck, Amy.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • David
      Fri, 13 Jan 2012 at 01:24

      Initially, if found guilty of a violation of restraining order, i was going to get probation with 30 days hung over my head if I violate probation. I have lots of evidence of her all over me a few days prior to the order and after. In addition, she’s used it to harass me. My lawyer thinks I’ll probably be okay. i am a really awesome kid and even her friends think she’s insane. I was just wondering if somehow found guilty of the misdemeanor, if I could go to school w/ my buddies out of state and transfer probation. My mom was a judge and I’m not afraid of anything. I will be okay. The only question I had is this: Can you transfer probation to another state if I was to be found guilty. I am not afraid, I have lots of evidence. I just wanna know that question.
      Dear David: It is possible to transfer probation to another county within the same state and sometimes to another state. It depends on a number of factors including available resources, the nature of the offenses involved, the willingness of the new state to accept another probationer, your criminal history, etc. Ask your lawyer about your chances of accomplishing this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • zack
      Sat, 14 Jan 2012 at 02:50

      I shoplifted just under $20 from a walmart, and the LP guys took my info and said i wld be getting a letter from Walmart to pay a civil demand, probably around $200, if I pay this will I not have to go to court? The cops were not involved whatsoever
      Dear Zack: Although the store could press charges in which case you may have to go to court, it’s less likely if you pay the civil demand on time. Often stores request the civil demand and do not press charges when the amount shoplifted is relatively low. If you don’t pay the civil demand, it’s much more likely that you will receive a notice in the mail to appear in court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jason
      Sat, 14 Jan 2012 at 03:03

      I have a 13 yr old that has stolen from me but I do not want to involve the police to keep him from having a record. Is there a diversion program that I can put him in thru the city, county or state the put him back on the right track before he does this to someone else and I can not help him.

      Thank you,
      A caring Dad!
      Dear Jason: Most diversion programs are usually run through the probation department or another government office affiliated with the court. It’s an option for kids who get into trouble with the police and gives them the opportunity to avoid having to go to court and have a record if they complete the program. It’s unlikely that your local diversion program would supervise your son since he hasn’t been referred by the police, but you could try calling the juvenile probation department in your area to ask whether it’s a possibility. You also could try contacting the Teen Court (another type of diversion program) in your city or state to see if you could refer your son. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • robert
      Sat, 14 Jan 2012 at 04:15

      im am on juviniel probation and i just turned 18,the only thing that keeps getting me introuble is dirty testing for t.h.c,so i was wondering if i got medicalized for the resons i use it without telling my probation officer can he still give me a violation for testing dirty
      Dear Robert: You may want to discuss this with your probation officer before you get the medical marijuana card. It depends on the laws of your state as well as the policies of the probation department. In some states, a person with a medical marijuana card is free to use for medicinal purposes, but may be given some rules like to not come into the probation office under the influence. Your P.O. should be able to tell you exactly how medical cards are treated by that office. For more information concerning the laws in California, click here. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Briana
      Sun, 15 Jan 2012 at 02:11

      I was arrested in Texas for theft under $50 (class b). Then released on bond. Went to a store with a friend, she stole but because i was there I got arrested for the same crime as she which was class b theft under $50. I have not been assigned a court date. I was just wondering what my options were and my chances of getting both removed from my record. I am 18. And in college. Is it possible that I can do pretrial diversion for the first offense then regular probation for the second? Or can I not do those at the same time?
      Dear Briana: You could be offered diversion in both cases depending on the rules and policies of the court. If diversion is not an option in one or both of the cases, then yes, you may be placed on probation which could be done at the same time as you being in a diversion program. Typically with diversion, you are not on probation. You are just ordered to complete community service hours, attend a class, etc. If you end up with a record in one of the cases, then you could go back to the court once you compete the terms of your sentence and ask for your record to be expunged or destroyed. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Lynn
      Sun, 15 Jan 2012 at 03:41

      Hello, i am going to enter a nursing class in Illinois, i am still in high school but will be taking a college course. I stole when i was 15 and was fingerprinted and had to pay 500 and that was the end of it. The nursing class will be doing a background check. Will this show up? Thanks.
      Dear Lynn: It sounds like it most likely will not show up on a background check since you never went to court. It’s possible that you paid a civil fine to the store and no criminal action was taken or you may have completed a diversion program. You could contact the court and/or police department that handled the investigation and request a copy of your record so you can see what, if anything, appears on it. Again, most likely you do not have a record based on what you have described. Best of luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Kevin
      Mon, 16 Jan 2012 at 06:46

      Hi, my names is Kevin and i live in California. I was caught shoplifting at an electronics store for $110 worth of merchandise last year. I was and still am 15 years old. 2 officers came and told my parents and I that I was basically under arrest but under the custody of my parents. The workers told me that I might have to go to court and that this record would be expunged when i was 18. It was a stupid decision to shoplift. We got a letter in the mail from the store with a demand to pay $350. We paid it off and its been 4 months since we’ve gotten word about a court date. I was wondering if it would effect my chances of getting into a good UC.
      Dear Kevin: You may have gotten lucky this time. Since it’s four months from the incident and you’ve paid the civil fine, you may not hear anything further about this. In that case, you don’t have a record that would appear on a background check or affect your college applications. Let this be a lesson for the future since some colleges and universities require criminal record checks for admission. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jay
      Wed, 18 Jan 2012 at 02:29

      Okay so I’m a juvenile in this case, and i got charged for :
      Fraud, lying about identity and age to an officer
      Drunken in public
      Possession of Alcohol.
      I’m already on probation for misdameanor assault charges and just recently i had gotten an evaluation to the Alcohol & drugs Services done, and they had no recommendations.
      I dont abuse drugs, and in the past, about two years ago I believe they have a record of me abusing drugs.
      I don’t believe either my probation officer and my legal gaurdians want me to attend and get treatment either, because I don’t have a drug abuse problem. Can anyone tell me what they can do to me, for those three charges? My record consists of 2 assault & battery charges, 2 possession of marijuana charges, and 1 possession of weapon on schools grounds. NONE OF THESE CHARGES ARE FELONIES! I’m in the Washington D.C. area as well. Contact me at jayparkeroni@gmail.com
      Dear Jay: With your record and new charges pending, it sounds like the only thing that will get your attention is a stint in detention. Regardless of whether your crimes are felonies or misdemeanors, the fact that you continue to break the law, while you’re already on probation, would be a no-brainer if you were before me in court. A month or two in lock-up might bring about a different attitude. You say you don’t need counseling or drug testing, but you’re charged with possession of alcohol and being drunk in public. Your comments don’t add up. Take a good look in the mirror and face reality if you want a better future. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jamie
      Wed, 18 Jan 2012 at 02:38

      My husband was caught shoplifting a CD when he was 15 years old in NC. He was taken to the station, fingerprinted, given a citation, and his sister picked him up. He completed a diversion program – community service and paid a fine – He told me he was not read his miranda rites, but he was handcuffed and taken to the station for prints. Was he technically arrested because I read a juvenile is only in temporary custody until a judge orders otherwise. He is currently for a green card and I do not know if I have to disclose this because I am not sure if he was actually arrested and charged since he completed the diversion program. Also, how can one get a record that someone completed a diversion program the courthhouse told me that the record does not show and there is no way to get a copy.
      Dear Jamie: If your husband successfully completed a diversion program, he shouldn’t have a record. The purpose of diversion is to keep a person from getting a record that affects them in their later life. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Phong
      Wed, 18 Jan 2012 at 06:53

      My Friend and i was caught stealing at The Bay for one sweater each worth $105.00. We were both than brought to the back of the store and was questioned.. They made us sign papers saying that we are ban from the store. However, they also called the police and gave us each a ticket. This was my first offence with the law but awhile back when i was about 16 my friend and i went to the fair and he had stolen tickets which i was unaware about we both got caught for that but i never stolen anything they took down my name and banned me from the fair for 2 years but wasn’t given any tickets or anything.
      My question is.. what are my chances of getting a diversion?
      sorry for a second post but i was caught in hamilton, ontario
      Dear Phong: Since this is your first offense, you’ll be eligible for a “diversion” program. When you complete the program, the case will be closed and you won’t have a record. Don’t return to the store during the ban or you could be charged with trespassing. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Rose
      Thu, 19 Jan 2012 at 07:41

      I got caught shoplifting at Walmart under $30, I paid my fine to Walmart and went to my court date. I was told by a public defender not to plead guilty even if i was caught red handed so I pleaded not guilty. My trial is coming up, what should I expect or say?
      Dear Rose: Since you have a lawyer who will represent you at trial, listen to him or her for advice about what to say and how to proceed. The charge may be dropped to attempted shoplifting by the state in which case your lawyer may advise you to plead guilty. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Trish206
      Thu, 19 Jan 2012 at 06:03

      Im 17 in Louisiana my first offense and i got caught shoplifting at walmart the total was under 50.00 they arrested me, and now I have a court date coming up? Its suppose to be a misdeamonar What should I do and how long will this be on my record?
      Dear Trish206: Since this is your first offense, you may be offered some type of diversion program. This means that upon successful completion of community service hours, payment of a fine/restitution and attending a class or counseling, the case will be closed and the charges dismissed. Therefore, you would not have a record of any conviction. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Kevin
      Thu, 19 Jan 2012 at 10:10

      Hi, Thanks for the advice. Do any of these details effect anything? The two officers took notes, and read me my rights. They said i could get a lawyer or tell them the truth then and there which i did.
      -Kevin
      Dear Kevin: You’ll know in time when and if they turned the case obver to a prosecutor for filing charges against you. You may receive a letter in the mail notifying you of a court date. Don’t miss the hearing or the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest. You can speak with a lawyer any time you like or you can wait until the hearing when you may be appointed a public defender. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Brian
      Fri, 20 Jan 2012 at 04:25

      Im 17 and i was put on diversion for missing school, which sucks because i have XLA i’ve always made up my work and what not. everything was going fine until my mom and i went in for a da meeting but my mom thought it would only last a hour (thats all she had, all she does is work) and my mom couldnt do it. later on in the week i got a letter in the mail saying ive failed my diversion program because my parents failed to comply with the program. ive been trying my hardest to go to school even going to school with tempatures over 100 degrees. So my question is whats next probation, house arrest?
      Dear Brian: When you go to court, be sure to have your mom there with you so she can help explain the circumstances to the judge. If your mom cannot make the court date because of her work schedule, then perhaps you could try calling the court to see if the date/time can be rescheduled. The judge may give you a second chance at diversion and order more community service hours, etc. or he/she may feel that probation is appropriate. If you have been to the doctor recently and can provide any documentation to the court about your absences, that would be helpful to the court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Mike
      Sat, 21 Jan 2012 at 02:09

      Dear Tom,

      i was charged with possession of a controlled substance it was a small 1mg xanax and trust me i learned my lesson on that anyways i think this is a class b misdemeanor, would i be able to go into the diversion program?, i am a minor and this is my first and hopefully only offence i live in KY if that helps
      Dear Mike: Yes, since this is your first offense and it involves one pill, you may be offered diversion. You will find out more when you go to court and should have an opportunity to speak with a court or probation officer. We’re glad to hear you learned from this as the consequences for drug offenses continue to get more harsh with additional offenses. Best of luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Sanjay
      Sat, 21 Jan 2012 at 01:03

      Hi, my name is Sanjay, and I live in Tennessee. I was caught shoplifting at Dillards as they classified it as a juvenile crime because it was over 500 (633 to be exact) dollars worth of stuff. I am a minor of 16 years so they released me to my parents. I am a first time offender, I am truly sorry for what I did, and I cannot express the amount of regret and remorse I feel. What charges/fines/sentences/community services could I be facing?
      Dear Sanjay: Since this is your first offense, you’ll likely be eligible for a “diversion program.” When you finish the program, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Keep in mind that diversion is meant for first-time offenders only. If you get into more trouble, you’ll be facing a judge and possibly jail or juvenile detention. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Cody
      Sat, 21 Jan 2012 at 05:44

      I’ve got some trouble. I’m getting charged with driving without a license for the 3rd time, as well as possession of pot and paraphenalia (not first time for them either). All my past charges were juvenile, done diversion/juvie probation/little juvie time. Now I’m 18. Would I have any chance of being treated like a first offender by adult court? Or will I just get slammed? I’m in KY.
      Thanks.
      Dear Cody: It doesn’t sound like anything you experienced in the juvenile system got your attention. Your new charges will follow the adult criminal process that may include adult probation or intensive probation, or a stint in jail. You may still be treated as a first-time offender in the adult system, but that doesn’t mean the court won’t know about your criminal history as a minor. It depends on the laws and rules of court in Kentucky that apply to you in this situation. When you go to court, your public defender will explain everything to you. It’s time, Cody, for you to make some decisions about how you want to spend your life – in or out of jail/prison. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Cody
      Sun, 22 Jan 2012 at 07:30

      Hi, So they could just see the driving thing as a 3rd offense – how ‘bad’ is that? Your best guess, is that like definite jail stuff (or suspended sentence)? I already decided it’s gonna be ‘out’ of jail – and I ain’t going to prison! I was trying to stay out of trouble…just not hard enough I guess. Thanks.
      Dear Cody: Again, the court may see your juvenile record, but it’s possible that this incident could be treated as a first offense in the adult system. Because it’s your first time in adult court, you may be facing probation or intensive probation. Usually, jail time is reserved for multiple offenses within the adult system and may also depend on the specific facts and circumstances. When you go to your first court date, be sure to speak with your attorney about he possible consequences as he/she will be able to advise you what is likely in your case. Good luck.
      (this is information only – not legal advice.)

    • shane
      Sun, 22 Jan 2012 at 07:10

      my son didnt wanted to go to school when he was junior high in massachussetts So as a parent i forced him taking his ipod he got angry and he hit me so i called police they took him court told us to some program and and went to psychitrist Now he is 18 and he wanted apply for us citizenship.We got our citizenship just 2 month ago My question how to answer for his criminal record .because it happend when he was teen .
      thank u
      Dear Shane: If your son completed a diversion program and the charges were never filed or dismissed, then he may not have a record. You want to be sure to read any questions very carefully so you can answer truthfully. For instance, if the question asks whether he’s ever been “convicted” of a criminal offense, you can say “no” since in juvenile court you are not convicted, but instead “adjudicated”. You will want to call the court and ask for a copy of his record, so you can be sure as to how the case was resolved. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • shane
      Mon, 23 Jan 2012 at 10:40

      Thank u very much for ur adivice I really appreciate
      You’re welcome. -ATJ.info

    • Rachel
      Mon, 23 Jan 2012 at 11:22

      i was caught shoplifting something that was under 10 dollars when i was 15, and they never sent me to court, they only fined my parents money since i was a minor, and then they told me to go to a class to make up for what i did. but in the store when i got caught, a police officer was called and he “placed me under arrest” although there were no handcuffs, and all he did was read me my miranda rights. i never got my record expunged and i havent done anything wrong since then but am now 18, so is it considered a conviction? and what do i say on job applications(ive been wondering if thats why i havent been getting called back) when i was a minor, i could legally say no i havent been convicted of anything, but im not a minor anymore, so my question is do i say that I was convicted of anything? (i never was summoned to court, and all they did was fine me and require that i go to a class where a bunch of other kids were and we had to say why we were there and we had to basically do schoolwork except it was on what we did and why it was wrong, etc. this all took place in california when i was 15. i am now 18. )
      Dear Rachel: Since you didn’t go to court, see a judge or plead guilty to anything from this shoplifting incident, you weren’t “convicted” of anything. Essentially, you were “diverted” away from the criminal or juvenile justice system. Once you completed the diversion program, the case was closed and there’s no record of it that should appear in a background check. We’re glad you learned from this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Cody
      Mon, 23 Jan 2012 at 06:39

      Ok, thanks. That makes me feel better about potential jail time. I’ll make sure I ask the PD about everything. Thanks.
      You’re welcome. -ATJ.info

    • austin
      Mon, 23 Jan 2012 at 11:59

      About a year and a half ago I go a mic of alcohal blowing a .024 I got that diverted and had to pay 150 dollars. I unfortinatly just go caught steeling 45 dollars worth of stuff and got the civil check from fred myers. I paid them. Would I be able to divert this? Also I turn 18 in 6 months so if I did get this on my public record could I get that removed once I turn 18?
      Dear Austin: Depending on where this happened, you may be eligible for diversion again if you have to go to court. It’s up to the court you’ll be in and their policies. You can ask about this when you go. Even if diversion isn’t available this time, after a period of time you’ll be able to apply to clear your record. Ask about the expungement process at court. If you don’t have to go to court, then you got lucky this time. Paying the civil fine may be the only consequence of the theft unless you hear otherwise. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Mantis
      Tue, 24 Jan 2012 at 02:56

      I am 15 years old, i got caught stealing 49.98 dollars worth of video games at sears, and the guy who caught me told me multiple times that the police were not going to be involved because I was cooperating. A few minutes later the police walk in and read me my miranda rights. I was placed under arrest and cuffed. I was then sent home after my mom picked me up and we hired a lawyer. I am most likely going to get a diversion program, but I want to know how this will affect my life in the coming months, and how the probation works. (p.s i live in florida and the charge is not going through the states attorney office, only locally.)
      Dear Mantis: Since you have a lawyer representing you, discuss your concerns with him or her. If you are eligible for diversion, you won’t have a record that will affect the rest of your life since the purpose of diversion is just that – to teach you a lesson but keep you from getting a record. Diversion doesn’t always include a formal probation period but each state has different diversion programs. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Mark
      Tue, 24 Jan 2012 at 10:38

      I received an MIP at the age of 16 for alcohol, I chose to participate in the diversion program, and completed it. I was told it would not be on my record. Almost 3 years later, I discovered that the offense was still on my record.I believe this to be the reason for not receiving a Military Scholarship and also being denied several jobs. What should I do?
      Dear Mark: You can check with the court that supervised your diversion and ask about clearing or expunging your record. You might be able to do this online from the court’s website. Many courts have their own sites with forms you can complete and file. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Anna
      Wed, 25 Jan 2012 at 03:49

      I have been charged with petty theft 484 pc(a) in burbank macys. I have hired a lawyer for my arraignment on feb 3rd. Dear Judge, this is my first offense, and the value of items was 400. My question is how likely am to be eligable for diversion program?
      Dear Anna: You can discuss this with your lawyer. He or she is familiar with the laws in California and the practices of the court and prosecutor’s office. Since this is your first offense, diversion may be available to you. If it is, complete the terms on time and you’ll get this incident behind you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • connor
      Wed, 25 Jan 2012 at 09:16

      hello judge, I am a 19 year old kid who lives in ohio and who has experimented with marijuana. The other day i bought weed off someone and an undercover cop saw it happen. i drove off and parked in a neighborhood nearby. before driving off and going to class at ohio state, the sheriffs pulled up behind me and asked to see my license, i showed it to them… they asked why i was so nervous and shaking and i said “im not going to lie to you, i just bought marijuana” and handed them my scale and weed. they searched my car and found my pipe… i sat in the sheriffs front seat and as they searched my car more. they found a bong in my trunk that i didnt even know was in there and it was a friends. the cop however didnt say anything about it. i was then charged with 3 things. one for the scale(paraphenilia charge) and my pipe(paraphenilia charge) and a charge for pocession of drugs. what can i expect in court, considering this is my first offense. my court date is feb 1st. they also caught the dealer, but he had nothing on him not even a scale… but he was not arrested or given a court date…is this fair?
      Dear Connor: The least of your concern at the moment is whether the way the dealer is being handled is fair or not. You’re the one in the hot seat and facing criminal charges. However, as a first-time offender, you may be eligible for a “diversion program.” It depends on the laws in your state and the policies of the court and prosecutor. If diversion is possible, when you finish the program the charges will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. SWhen you go to court on Feb. 1, everything will be explained to you. You can also speak with a lawyer before then if you wish. That’s your decision. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Miguel
      Sun, 29 Jan 2012 at 10:52

      Judge tom I have a question, I am seventeen and got a third degree misdemeanor charge for trespassing. We did not harm any property as all we were doing when the police got there was sitting down. I was wondering what consequences I could be facing like how many hours of community service or perhaps how long the program is. Thanks
      Dear Miguel: The specific requirements of diversion or whatever consequences you may be facing depends on the specific laws in your state as well as the court’s rules and policies. Typically, the number of community service hours required as part of diversion or for a misdemeanor offense may range from 10 to 40 plus hours. The program may be from a couple months to six or more months. You will find out more when you go to your first court date. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • v
      Mon, 06 Feb 2012 at 03:47

      Im 16, I got a theft ticket under $50 dollars. I already payed the store, I didnt go to jail that night I got the ticket. I’m really worry! This is the 1st time. I hate my self for doing this!, I got a ticket for fighting and its not payed, can I go to jail??? Im really freaking out please! Im trying to pay off that ticket. It should be payed off befor I go to court, but if not what could happen., (state of txt)
      Dear V: If these are your only offenses, it’s not likely that you’ll go to jail. It depends on the laws in your state, the position of the prosecutor and the victim, and the policies of the court. You may get lucky and be eligible for a “diversion program.” Once you complete the program, the case is closed and you won’t have a record. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • harini
      Tue, 07 Feb 2012 at 03:23

      Hi am 27 from kansas i recently got traffic ticket for high beam lights $121 and for failing to maintain a single lane $121…i have to appear in court on feb 10th.And i dont work anywhere..Is there anything i can do to reduce my fine and see that my insurance wont be effected..pls help me..thanks in advance..
      Dear Harini: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to teens or adults. We suggest you speak with a lawyer about this or you can wait until your hearing and ask a public defender for advice. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • philllip
      Wed, 08 Feb 2012 at 06:36

      I was charged a year and a half ago with minor under consumtion of alcohal and got that diverted by paying 150 dollars. Now I just got a letter saying this guy wants to talk to e because I got caught shoplifting. Is this the parol officer? Also on the letter it offers a diversion plan for 75 bucks. Can I do this divesion. Even thought I already gotanother thing diverted before?
      Dear Phillip: We’re unable to comment on your situation since we’re not familiar with the details of the recent ticket, what it says or your history. We suggest you discuss this with your parents to see what your obligations are. If the letter you received looks official (from either the store or their lawyer, a juvenile probation officer or the court) then you need to take it seriously. If you’re being offered “diversion” again, you’re lucky since it’s usually a one-time offer for first-time offenders. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice)

    • Mylie Mandell
      Wed, 08 Feb 2012 at 09:40

      Hi, I was caught shoplifting in nc of about 72.00 of merchandise at walmart. I am 17 years old and my court date is on feb 24, and I will turn 18 on feb 27th. I have great grades, volunteer many places, great student etc. They called the police and when i asked the police what would happen next, he said that I would just go to court and they would prob offer me the diversion program. He kept saying “I want you to go to court and just beg the judge.” He told me to plead not guilty. I am very confused as to what this means as this is my first offence. I clearly did it and was clearly caught. Should i hire a lawyer, will it help if i do? And also do i need to bring a parent to court. Do i have to? they know already as the police made me call my parents, but they are pretty ashamed as i come from a good family, and i dont want them to have to go through this.
      Dear Mylie: When you go to court, the legal process will be explained to you. It’s your decision whether to plead guilty or not guilty, and whether to hire a lawyer before court. Talk with your parents about this. They may want to contact a lawyer now and get some advice. If you admit the shoplifting, you may be placed into a “diversion program” which means the charge will be dismissed and you won’t have a record once you finish the terms of diversion. Since this is your first offense and you’re days from turning 18, the judge may dismiss the charge outright, but that’s the court’s decision. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Fernandos
      Wed, 08 Feb 2012 at 10:58

      Hi dude, I really like this concept view as well. I don’t know much more about juvenile diversion programs because I did not read this issue before but whatever points you allocated here makes me educative. Thanks mate.
      You’re welcome.

    • Taylor
      Thu, 09 Feb 2012 at 02:45

      Okay so I misses one of my primary thing and I’m about to miss my second one because of a death in the family when should I expect my court date to be oh I’m 17 and getn married soon can I also go to court without an adult?
      Dear Taylor: You should receive a notice in the mail or at school about a hearing date in court. Most judges expect a parent to appear with the student. In most states, getting married means you’re legally emancipated. Check with the court about the need for one of your parents to be with you. Otherwise, if they’re not, the court may continue the hearing until they can appear with you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Sunny
      Thu, 09 Feb 2012 at 04:17

      Hi. I live in Virginia , I am 17 years old and I got a letter with a date for diversion hearing. I understand that the qualification of diversion will be determined once probation officer examines everything at court on the date. Is it correct? I am worried I wouldn’t qualify for diversion since I have a record from two years ago which the police described is “only a indication a police lectured you”. Will this record count against me significantly? I do not have prior record of diversion or anything the court issued to me. Also, I am turning 18 very soon. If something other than diversion is issued to me, will it get destroyed once I turn 18?
      Dear Sunny: If you were only lectured by the police for the earlier incident, you probably qualify for diversion this time. As you said, it will be explained to you when you go to court. Once you complete the diversion program, the case will be closed and you won’t have a record. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • marlyn
      Thu, 09 Feb 2012 at 10:58

      i got a ticket in 2010 for “truancy” i was going to school but 30 minutes late so they gave me a ticket for that i didnt go to court because i was out of the state. then in 2011 i got a ticket for fighting in school i also didnt go to court. i just got a letter saying that my driving priviledge is suspended. so im going to go to court but what will i be expecting? what can i do? will i have to pay a fine or can i just do community service?
      Dear Marlyn: What happens when you go to court depends on the laws in your state, the position of the prosecutor and the policies of the court. If this is your first time in court, you may be eligible for “diversion.” Once you complete the diversion program, the case will be closed and you won’t have a record. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • tiffany
      Fri, 10 Feb 2012 at 09:39

      i got caught stealing a bike in canton ohio.And i was wondering what would happen, would i be getting a probation officer or community service or what.This is my first time getting introble.
      Dear Tiffany: Since this is your first time in trouble, you’ll probably be eligible for a “diversion” program. Once you complete diversion, the case will be closed and you won’t have a record. When you go to court for this, the legal process will be explained to you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • jessica
      Fri, 10 Feb 2012 at 11:23

      I’m 17 and got a misdemeanor for underage drinking, this is my first time getting introuble with the law, they gave me court, what will be expected in court? what are going to be my charges? By the way, I live in Indiana.
      Dear Jessica: Since this is your first time in trouble, you’ll probably be eligible for a “diversion” program. Once you complete diversion, the case will be closed and you won’t have a record. When you go to court for this, the legal process will be explained to you. Since this is an alcohol offense, diversion may include random drug testing and counseling. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • corey
      Sun, 12 Feb 2012 at 05:41

      hi i live in ohio and inhave court for stealing.this is my first time introble. i want to know if i would be getting drug tested when i go to court.
      Dear Corey: Ultimately, it will be up to the rules and policies of the court as well as the probation department as to whether or not you will be drug tested. Generally, drug testing is not necessarily required for a first offense shoplifting incident unless the facts of the case include the person being under the influence of alcohol/drugs. However, you don’t want to risk it and should be clean especially when you go to court. You will find out more when you go to court and will have the opportunity to speak with a court or probation officer who will explain the court process to you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Krista
      Wed, 15 Feb 2012 at 09:29

      Hey, I’m 19 years old, in NC and I got caught shoplifting about $80 worth of merchandise. I was arrested, and processed but was not Mirandized. I was booked downtown, fingerprints, photo taken, everything. I’m in college, this is my first offense, and my court date is next month. Will I be eligible for a diversion program? If I am, and complete it, will my record be cleared?
      Dear Krista: Since this is your first offense, you’ll likely be eligible for a “diversion” program. Once you successfully complete the program, the case is dismissed and you won’t have a record. When you go to court, the legal process will be explained to you by a court or probation officer. You can also speak with a lawyer about this before your hearing. That’s your decision. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Anxious
      Wed, 15 Feb 2012 at 03:24

      So far I have passed 4 background checks for various school jobs since I have completed, one of which is a state job. I am worried however that once I graduate and climb higher up in the employment ladder (I’ll be getting my grad degree as well) that this still has the chance to come back and bite me. Do I have anything to worry about or am I going to be ok for future background checks and hopefully for future office jobs? Please help and thanks in advance.
      Dear Anxious: As we’ve mentioned earlier, you’re most likely in the clear regarding this incident when you were a teen. If the court has no record and you successfully completed diversion, there wouldn’t be a record that would show up on a background check. As you know, anything is possible. So, if something at some point appears, you’ll have a chance to explain it and the fact that you completed a diversion program. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Micheal
      Wed, 15 Feb 2012 at 09:08

      I was given Diversion program and have completed all 3 test that were required. Would I be tested again when I arrive at my court date to finalize the diversion process?
      Dear Michael: Yes, it is possible that you’ll be tested one more time before diversion is ended. It depends on the terms of the program you participated in. So, it’s best to stay clean in order to avoid additional consequences. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jessica
      Thu, 16 Feb 2012 at 01:17

      I am a minor and got caught for shoplifting $171 of merchandise at a store and police came and cited me for petty theft. I got a letter in the mail today saying I will be notified within 45 days about my assigned probation officer. I am already on informal probation for one prior offense of driving with an open container, so does the letter mean I will be on formal probation? For the open container thing, my charges will be dropped if I complete all the things the judge told me to. I assume I was offered a diversion program for that. Will I be offered one for the theft crime since it is my first theft but not my first crime?
      Dear Jessica: What happens now depends on the laws in your state, the position of the probation officer and the judge assigned to your case, and the policies of the court regarding repeat offenders. It is possible that you’d be eligible for diversion again although the program is designed for first-time offenders. Every state and court system handles these matters differently. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Alexa
      Thu, 16 Feb 2012 at 05:02

      I went to court for stealing and i was put into a diversion program. I am just wondering if i should expect to be drug tested or not seeing as how it was not drug related, but with it being a diversion program will the test me?
      Dear Alexa: Diversion programs around the country have different rules and requirements. Because of the cost of drug testing someone, it’s unlikely you’ll be required to test since your charge is not drug related. It could also depend on what you stole: if it was alcohol or spray paint (used to sniff/huff), you may be required to test once or twice to make sure you’re staying clean. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • tony
      Fri, 17 Feb 2012 at 03:41

      i am on pretrail dervison for trying to get in the bar nderage, i have to do 10 hours of community work and pay $250, but before i was put on diversion i had another charge and it was the same charge. trying to get in the bar underage. i didnt complete my dervison program yet. what is the judge going to do time?
      Dear Tony: It’s up to the judge assigned to your case, but he/she may consider the completion of the ten hours and payment of the fine to cover both offenses. Or the judge could add to your hours and raise the total fine. The laws in your area and the policies of the court have an effect on the consequences. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • RICKY
      Sat, 18 Feb 2012 at 09:36

      im 16 i turn 17 in march 13 and just yesterday i got a 500 fine for absences in school but i dont want to make my mom pay and i DONT want to do community service so can i do the time in juvie or do i go to county
      Dear Ricky: This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but you don’t get to choose your penalty for truancy. Courts axcross the country are cracking down on drop-outs and truants. Some have passed laws where the courts are authorized to fine and even jail parents who fail to keep their kids in school. We suggest you get the hours done so you can put this behind you. If you don’t have the money for the fine, the court may allow you to do additional community service. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Mary Louise
      Sun, 19 Feb 2012 at 02:00

      If you are charged with petty larceny can you still get on a plane?
      Dear Mary Louise: We’re not aware of any restrictions on flying due to a pending theft charge. You could check with the airline you plan to use and ask about this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Naomi Burrell
      Mon, 20 Feb 2012 at 02:28

      Hi i am wondering if you can help me. I got caught shoplifting a bottle of alcohol. This is my first offence. I am 18. The police were called and i got charged with MIP and Petty theft. I am wondering what is going to happen in court? Will i qualify for a diversion program to get these charges removed and will a judge offer this to me or do i have to ask?
      Dear Naomi: When you go to court for this ticket, the legal process will be explained to you by a court or probation officer. Since this is your first offense, you’ll be eligible for “diversion.” When you finish the diversion program, the charges will be dismissed and you won’t have a record that will affect the rest of your life. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

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      Mon, 20 Feb 2012 at 07:57

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    • ash
      Wed, 22 Feb 2012 at 07:11

      Hi ! i was just wondering what the punishment would be for a 17 yearold girl who stole like 3 pairs of clothing that totaled to about 70 dollars. This is my second offense the first being in 8th grade. THis is in Illinois also.
      Dear Ash: Since this isn’t your first offense, you may not be offered “diversion” this time. Instead you could be placed on probtion for a period of time depending on the policies of the court. If you follow the probation terms to the letter, you’ll be released from the court’s supervision. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • jessica
      Thu, 23 Feb 2012 at 12:46

      I am being charged with 30 or so dollars of petty theft in ks. I was 17 when crime was commited. They told me when i turn 18 the theft.will no longer be on my public record. The day before i turned 18 they sent me a paper saying i was due in court for it. Eventhough i paid the fine and was already attending help ptsd and deppression i have. This was my first offence. I didbt expect this.court and applied fordiversion and have another date the 26 of march. I planned on getting married first week of april and i am trying to move to boston so i can go to school and live with my fiancee who moves up there to go to school. I wouldnt mind paying a fine but i heard on probation you cant leave the state. I need to.leave becausei am getting married. Is it possible for me to finish my diversion in aother state if i get probation.? I really need to move because ofthe wedding and because i am trying to go to.school. and is it legal to.summon someone to curt the day before the turn 18 when they know it will he off.my record. Because to me that seems a little wierd.and suspicious. Can you give me a little information about thepossibilities of finishing out my diversion or probation if i get it in a different state.thanks a lot.
      Dear Jessica: As long as the court has jurisdiction over you, you can be served with papers or notified of a hearing regarding criminal charges. It is possible to transfer probation or complete diversion terms in another county or state. It’s up to the probation department and/or court to approve this arrangement. You can contact the court or diversion supervisor and ask about this before you move. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Marcy
      Thu, 23 Feb 2012 at 09:29

      I just made da dumbest decision instead of taking 1 day of community service I decided to take it to trial wat can b the consequences if I loose the case
      Dear Marcy: The consequences should be the same. You’re not penalized for exercising your right to plead not guilty and make the state prove the case against you. So, if the court finds you guilty, the sentence may be community service and/or a brief period on probation. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Christi Brown
      Mon, 27 Feb 2012 at 02:04

      I am 16 and me and my 18 year friend got caught shoplifting from walmart $25 worth and we both have diffrenet court dates but what do you think will happen with also being in as i have never been in trouble with anything before so what do you think judge tom? tehy called petty larcney oh i live in the state of virginia???
      Dear Christi: Since this is your first offense, you’ll be eligible for “diversion.” When you complete the diversion program, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Don’t miss court or return to the store if you were banned. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • lynne
      Tue, 28 Feb 2012 at 12:21

      Hi, i am 20 years old and am currently attending college in Ohio although i live in Massachusetts. About a month ago i was caught smoking a joint this was the only thing i had on my record and i am signed up for the diversion program but have not had my first meeting yet. this past weekend i was arrested for consumption of alcohol. i was wondering if there was anyway i will still be eligible for the program or if there is anyway to have these sealed from my record i am a very hard working student and have never been in trouble before these past events i can not afford legal assistance but will it help to bring records of my grade or have a professor write something proving my efforts in school. I’m horrified i will never get a job or be able to pay my school loans back. I’m willing to do what ever it takes how can i prove this to the judge
      Dear Lynne: You may still be eligible for the diversion program. The alcohol ticket may be taken care of by paying the fine while the marijuana citation will be handled through diversion. Once you take care of both, you shouldn’t have a record that will affect your future. That’s the purpose of diversion. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • ray
      Tue, 28 Feb 2012 at 04:36

      Dear judge tom:
      I am 16 i got charged with 1.2 grams of marijuana at school and have never been in trouble and never sent to office no tickets and also A’s and B average since 1st grade what should i be expecting at court? Oh yea this is first time
      Dear Ray: Since this is your first offense, you’ll be eligible for a “diversion” program. Once you finish diversion, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record that will follow you around in your adult life. You may be ordered to take drug tests for a while until you show a history of clean tests. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Joseph K
      Tue, 28 Feb 2012 at 07:16

      Hi, im 16 and about a week ago i was caught stealing from walmart. I stole 2 games(120) a ratchet, the ratchet is like a small bolt some kids use to smoke out of. I dont smoke but my friend wanted me to grab one while i was there. The security told me to come to the back and i handed him everything. Surprisingly the security guy said he knew what kids used the little bolt for but said he wouldnt rat me out or something like that. Anyways, he took my info and said he wasnt going to call the police since i was good. He then told me i would have to go to a hearing. My mom recently got a call from him saying that we would be notified in a month (last wed.) and that i would just have to pay for the thing i opened. Im wondering if i will get drug tested, would they tell my mom exactly what i stole? because i really dont wana have to explain why i took a ratchet and explain and look sketch, and what exactly a hearing will be like will i have to be infront of a judge? and what other things could i face
      Dear Joseph: The letter you might receive may be notice of a court hearing. Don’t miss the hearing – once there, the legal process will be explained to you. The ratchet and games may come up but every case is different. If thius is your first offense, you may be offered a “diversion program.” When you finish the program, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record that will affect your adult life. If they suspect that you’re involved with drugs, you may be ordered to drug test. Again, that’s up to the judge and probation officer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Joe
      Tue, 28 Feb 2012 at 09:35

      At a hearing is there going to be a judge? What is a probation officer? Is he the security guy who stopped me because he told me i would see him again. I have a clean record. whats the chances of being drug tested? Is what i stole suppose to come up? Sorry im very scaried it was a dumb idea….
      Dear Joe: A probation officer works for the court and supervises people placed on probation by the judge. The security person won’t likely be there for this hearing. You’ll meet with a probation officer who will explain everything to you, including the diversion program. When you finish diversion (community service, a class or counseling) the case will be closed. You could be drug tested if the probation officer thinks you’re involved with drugs. Once you test clean, the testing will end. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • tyler
      Thu, 01 Mar 2012 at 06:21

      i got an mip for being drunk at a party at the diversion class IN: CHARGE will they drug test me?
      Dear Tyler: It’s up to the court and diversion program. They are different across the country. If you’re suspected of using drugs or alcohol on a regular basis, you may be ordered to drug test. Once you test clean, you won’t have to test as often. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • alejandra
      Mon, 05 Mar 2012 at 02:23

      okay so i qot 2 tickets one for exceeding posted speed limit and another one for no license..im 15 years old in the state of kansas city,missouri and the total for both tickets is $258 so if i send in the payment with appearance,waiver,plea of guilty before due date/court date which is april 23 do i still have to show up for court?
      Dear Alejandra: We can’t say if you have to go to court or not without actually reading the citation. Take a close look at it and show it to your parents. They can explain to you your obligation to the court and how to proceed. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Rocio
      Mon, 05 Mar 2012 at 09:35

      Dear Judge,
      I am being charged with theft of more than $50 but less than $500 tomorrow is my jury trial, my court has been rescheduled for the third time since I hired an attorney, I always had a representative. But I missed a court day march 1 and today March 5 I got bailed out since the charge turned into a warant tomorrow I have court again for the same charge what can I do my lawyer wants to charge me more since it’s a new case? Can I still qualify for diversion programs in Texas, El Paso ? do I plead guilty or not guilty ? if I dont have a representator… I am getting my 911 dispatcer ccertificate June and I want to get my 2 yr associates in criminal justcie? as soon as I graduate this June.
      Dear Rocio: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to teens or adults. Keeping the lawyer you already have is your decision. He may be able to work out a plea bargain with the prosecutor on all pending charges. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • meg
      Mon, 05 Mar 2012 at 11:00

      I’m seventeen and live in Tennessee. Recently I was cought shoplifting at Walmart. What I took was only three dollars. Not to mention I hadn’t left the stop yet and he (the LP) didn’t offer me the chance to pay. This is my first offense, what should I expect. I have my arainment tomorrow. Is that when I will find out if I qualify for the classes instead of court?I wood appreciate any help thanks.
      Dear Meg: Yes, when you go to court tomorrow, the legal process will be explained to you. You may be eligible for a “diversion” program. Once you finish diversion, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. If you were banned from the store, don’t return or you could be charged with trespassing. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Giovanni Mayoral
      Tue, 06 Mar 2012 at 09:38

      I was foolish and was caught stealing $59 worth of merchandise from target. I’m 18 with no previous criminal history and an extensive list of in community service (key club)numerous awards for school do i qualify for this diversion program? If i manage to complete the program will i ever have to worry about this again; will schools/jobs who do background checks ever be able to see it?
      Dear Giovanni: You may be eligible for diversion if your court or probation department offers it. Most do. Once you finish diversion, the case is dismissed and you won’t have a record to worry about. The purpose of diversion is to keep you from getting a record that follows you around in your adult life. Keep in mind that diversion is usually meant for first-time offenders only. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Geovanny
      Tue, 06 Mar 2012 at 09:50

      Hello Judge,
      I recently was foolish enough to try and steal $59 worth of merchandise from my local Target. Before this i was a perfect 18 yr old with numerous school awards, extensive list of community service (key club), AP/Honor classes I regret what I did and promise to never even think about committing another selfish deed can i qualify for diversion? Will I fail background checks for schools/employment?
      Dear Geovanny: You may be eligible for diversion if your court or probation department offers it. Most do. Once you finish diversion, the case is dismissed and you won’t have a record to worry about. The purpose of diversion is to keep you from getting a record that follows you around in your adult life. Keep in mind that diversion is usually meant for first-time offenders only. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • lynch
      Tue, 06 Mar 2012 at 11:51

      Last week caught by the store while i am shoplifting and made return that item for store credit.and i my bag i am some other store credit and gift receipts..with that they monitored i committed before other shoplifting from last few weeks..they called the cops now they are charged 3 burglary and 3 theft cases against me………i am adult..and this is my first offense…i am suffering from bipolar disorder.i am taking medication…..what are the chances for my situation
      Dear Lynch: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to teens or adults.
      When you go to court over these charges, explain everything to your lawyer (public defender). Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Tanner Monahan
      Wed, 07 Mar 2012 at 01:06

      Dear, ANYONE i guess,

      i need to know what could happen if…..

      im in truancy court and ive missed 10 days, unexcused, and i found a pipe and forgot to turn it in and i got in trouble and now i have to go to courtfor it so my question is,

      1.are they going to give me drug test?

      2. is truancy court going to know about the pipe?

      3. am i going to get taken away from my parents?

      4.is one of my parents going to jail?
      Dear Tanner: Let’s take this one at a time.
      1) You may be drug tested because of the nature of the offense. If you test clean, the testing may end. Otherwise, once the court has jurisdiction over you, you could be ordered to take random tests until you are clean over a period of time. It’s up to the judge assigned to your case.
      2) Not necessarily. If the two offenses are handled in different forums (truancy court, teen court, etc.) and juvenile court, one may not know about the other charge. But don’t count on it.
      3) It’s unlikely on a first or even second offense that you’d be removed from your home. Circumstances have to be very serious for the court to place you in detention or foster care.
      4) If this is your first truancy charge, then your parents aren’t in danger of going to jail. States are cracking down on truancy, including fines and jail time for parents, but only after repeated trips to court and total disregard of the judge’s orders. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kayla Dawn
      Thu, 08 Mar 2012 at 09:06

      Im going to turn 16 in a few days, and ive been in the juvenile legal system since the beginning of my freshman year for skipping school and failing a few drug test.. Yesterday i had court because i missed to much school once again for the fourth time. I didnt get to make it to court. but apperantly the judge signed off on something. Is there any chance the police will come to my school and get me to take me to juvi??
      Dear Kayla: It depends on what the judge did yesterday when you failed to appear in court. The court could have issued an arrest warrant depending on the circumstances and the laws in your state. If that happened, yes, the police can arrest you on the warrant and bring you before the judge. It’s time to take court orders and your responsibilities seriously. You’re heading in the wrong direction and the judge may feel some time in detention is needed to get your attention. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ryan
      Fri, 09 Mar 2012 at 07:49

      Dear judge,
      I am currently on diversion for a misdemeanor drug poss. I have looked everwhere for the answer to this and cant seem to find a stright answer. Im currently applying for a new job and was curious if you know will the diversion will show up on a background check?
      I forgot to mention that I also am not a juvenile.. I understand that you were/are a juvenile judge, but any help with this would be great.. Thanks
      Dear Ryan: The purpose of a diversion program is to keep you from getting a record that affects the rest of your life or appears in a background check. So, in your case, since the offense is being handled through diversion, nothing should show up in a records check. You could also ask the person supervising the program. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • GUERA
      Sat, 10 Mar 2012 at 11:06

      I WAS ARRESTED FOR SHOPLIFITNG SOME EYELINERS WHEN I WAS 20 THEY TOOK ME JAIL I WENT TO SEE THE JUDGE IN THE MORNING I PLEADED NO CONTEST AND THE JUDGE TOLD ME TIME SERVERD AND TOLD ME THAT I WAS FREE TO GO BUT I WONDER WHAT IS THAT CALLED WAS IT JUST A TICKET OR IS IT A MISDERMEANER
      Dear Guera: You would have to look at the charging document (the ticket or whatever papers you received when you were arrested and later released). You can check with the court you were in to see how the shoplifting was filed, either as a misdemenaor, petty offense or something else. You can also ask about clearing your record so it doesn’t affect your adult life. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Julia
      Sun, 11 Mar 2012 at 08:45

      I got caught stealing $50 worth of stuff from Walmart and the loss prevention team caught me. I’m 17 years old, I’ve never done anything wrong. I want to go to College and become a doctor. Will this be on my criminal record forever, can it be removed?
      Dear Julia: This won’t affect the rest of your life once it’s behind you. As a first-time offender, you will probably be eligible for a “diversion” program. When you finish diversion, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Diversion may include community service, a class, paper or counseling. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Carly
      Mon, 12 Mar 2012 at 07:33

      If they did’nt book me and gave me no ticket does that mean i wasn’t charged. Altough they told my mom I would be getting court papers in the mail.
      Dear Carly: You may not be charged at the moment but you could receive, as you were told, a letter in the mail notifying you of a court hearing. If that comes, don’t miss the hearing. When you go to court, the legal system will be explained to you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Gregg
      Thu, 15 Mar 2012 at 12:59

      Hello- when I was 19 (last summer) I was charged with possession of marijuana (1 oz) at my apartment I shared with my friend who was also charged. i first pled not guilty because I heard if I got a medicinal marijuana card that would help but it didn’t. It went to trial and in the meantime I decided to just plead guilty at my court appearance and pay the ~400.00 fine (Sacramento county). In the beginning of the session the judge asked if anyone on trial that day wanted to change their plea, I stepped forward and said I was going to plead guilty- he changed it to no contest and said I would be paying the fine. He then asked when my birthday was and then told me he was going to suspend my driving privileges for one year. I had no idea that this would happen and would have probably gotten a lawyer to walk my through the case if I had known what other possible penalties there were going to be. Was the judge obligated to inform me of the penalties to be imposed before he asked for my final plea? Thanks for your help.
      Dear Gregg: It would have been a good idea to review the possible penalties with you before accepting your plea. But under the rules of the court and applicable laws in this case, failing to do so may not amount to what’s called reversible error by the court. When a person decides to represent themselves in court, which is your absolute right, the court treats the person like any other defendant. The court does not represent you – you’re presumed to understand the law of the case and the consequences if found guilty. You’ve probably lost your right to appeal the decision since time limits exist regarding appeals. Lesson learned. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • MorganZ
      Thu, 15 Mar 2012 at 08:47

      Hello, I was hoping you could answer this for me: When I was 17 I was caught shoplifting at Sears, it was not a proud moment for me, but it was only like 30 dollars worth of merchandise and I completed my diversion program with my fine and my community service. I did not ever go to juvie because my mother picked me up from the store directly. I was promised that this would not go on my record if I did the diversion because I was under 18 and that when I turned 18 it would go away. I applied for a job recently and got denied because the background check turned up this charge. I am now almost 21 and it has been almost four years. When will this go away so that I can get a job and why hasn’t it already when they said that was the perk of getting the diversion in the first place? I was caught in Florida if that makes any difference.
      Dear Morgan: Usually, as you thought, diversion keeps a person from having a record of the incident. But glitches happen. We suggest that you contact the supervisor of the diversion program you completed, or the court under which diversion was available and ask about your record. You can also check the court’s website for information on applying for expungement of the record. You don’t need a lawyer to do this. The court may have an online form you can complete and file. Otherwise you can speak with a lawyer familiar with juvenile law in Florida about the process. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jarrett
      Fri, 16 Mar 2012 at 03:47

      hey i recectly had a backround check for a job dealing with money in arizona with a casino. and was told i would be denied licensing because i was guilty of shopliftng. but my court case is dismissed. and i plesded no contest. Am i still guilty?
      Dear Jarrett: A “no contest” plea is treated the same as a “guilty” plea. We suggest that you contact the court you were in and ask about having your record cleared or expunged. The court may have a website (most do today) where you can apply for expungement online. You don’t necessarily need a lawyer for this but that’s your decision. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Savy
      Fri, 16 Mar 2012 at 06:32

      Well what if you are told about this on te night of the crime and then let home with your parents and you still dont get a call telling me wheather or not i am to show for court or do this program???? (3 weeks later)
      Actualy i want to make my comment clear…. Me and y best friend stole a 20 solor shirt (each) from JC penny i am 13 years old and i did this 3 weeks ago today… the police guy told us that we might go to court or do this program thing and my parents are freaking out becuase its three weeks later and we havent gotton a letter or a call about anything!!! I freaked out really bad and my friend said they thought they should call the ambulance to contain me becuase i was so scared… do u think this would cause them not to prosicute us…. btw JC pennys requirement is to prosicute anyone who steals… but does that mean i am defently going to haev to do something about this (weather its court or the program)
      Dear Savy: Depending on the size of your town or city, sometimes it takes a few weeks or even longer to hear from the court. If Penney’s decided to press charges, then you’ll get a letter notifying you about a court date. If this is your first offense, you may be eligible for a “diversion” program. If that happens, when you successfully finish the program, which includes community service, a paper, class or counseling, the case is dismissed and you won’t have a record. So, relax – you may not hear anything at all. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Korey
      Mon, 19 Mar 2012 at 02:58

      Could you be so kind as to explain to me what happens at a Juvenile Diversion Program Evaluation? I am suppose to pay a visit to the local detention center for an evaluation before my diversion, i have just recently filled out the diversion application. I would just like to know what happens. Thanks.
      Dear Korey: At this first meeting, you’ll speak with a court or probation officer who will determine if you’re eligible for the program. If you are and you admit to the offense, you’ll begin diversion. If you’re not eligible, then your options will be explained to you. You can either go before the judge and plead guilty to the charge or not guilty. If you deny the charge, a trial will be set and you may be appointed a lawyer to represent you. Your family can also hire a lawyer for you – that’s their decision. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Brittney Shipp
      Mon, 19 Mar 2012 at 06:32

      Hi my name is Brittney and I am 14 years old and I live in Wisconsin. On February 11, 2012 I was caught shoplifting from a Northaland Outlet store near my home by the owner of the store it was a $3.00 pair of earphones. I gave the owner back the earphones and she still turned me into the police. This is the first time that I have ever done anything like this. Since this is my first offense what will happen to me?
      Dear Brittney: Since this is your first offense, you’ll probably be eligible for a “diversion” program. That means when you complete some community service, attend a class or write a paper, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. You may receive a letter in the mail from the court telling you about a hearing. Don’t miss the hearing and bring one or both of your parents with you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Austin B
      Mon, 19 Mar 2012 at 12:27

      Hi I am currently in the diversion program and in the process of applying for an apartement. Should my application go through since it will show up as citation diverted on my background check?
      Dear Austin: The purpose of a diversion program is to keep you from getting a record that affects the rest of your life. So this shouldn’t appear if the apartment manager or property management company runs a background check on you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Cathy
      Tue, 20 Mar 2012 at 08:28

      Hi I am currently 24 years old and am applying for jobs. When I was 17 I was arrested for shoplifting at walmart in the amount of $25. I was fingerprinted and my photo was taken and then released to my parents. I never had to go to court, but I did pay a $150 fine. Will this arrest stay on my record and be visible on a background check that my employer performs? If so, How to I go about removing it?
      Dear Cathy: Since you said you were arrested, check with the police department that was involved. If they have a record of this, ask about the process to clear it. They may have a form you can complete to begin the process. You wouldn’t have a court record since you weren’t charged with shoplifting or appear before a judge. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jake
      Wed, 21 Mar 2012 at 09:33

      If I received an underage at the age of 16 will I receive probation or just community service and a class? And does having a job and a high GPA affect your odds of being put on probation? This is my first run in with the law ever.
      Dear Jake: Since this is your first offense, you may be eligible for a “diversion” program. When you complete diversion (community service, a paper, class or counseling) the case is dismissed and you won’t have a record. Having a job and good grades won’t hurt you in the eyes of the court, but it’s not a pass either from a consequence for breaking the law. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Kelly
      Sun, 25 Mar 2012 at 07:48

      Hi,
      I am 21 years old and was recently caught stealing $21 earrings from Claires. The mall police were called but the officer who took my information told me that he wasn’t going to do anything with it. He said that I looked like a good person and understood this was a mistake. The sale woman however took my drivers license and information. Will I be sentenced to court if the police officer doesn’t do anything with my information? Do you know what will come of this?
      Dear Kelly: Since the police officer didn’t give you a ticket or notice to appear in court, you don’t have to worry about being charged with shoplifting. You might receive a letter in the mail from the store or their lawyer requiring payment of a “civil fine.” Usually when the fine is paid, the case is closed. The only record that may exist from this incident will be with the store for their internal use. If you were banned from the store, don’t return or you could be charged with trespassing. The civil fine could be several hundred dollars depending on the laws in your state. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jim
      Mon, 26 Mar 2012 at 04:58

      Hey,
      I was charged with underage possession of alcohol and plead no contest in court. I have a restricted license for 6 months, 50 hours of community service, VASAP classes, and 1 year of probation. I am on unsupervised probation. My question is, can I be drug tested during probation? If so, are they required to notify me the date of the drug test and/or are they required to tell me that there will be random drug tests? Also, on my intake form for probation, on the drug test section of the form, nothing is marked and it does not say a date that i would begin drug testing.
      Dear Jim: Although you’re on unsupervised probation, someone with the department heads up this type of probation. Contact that person at the court with your questions. Most likely, if the area where drug testing is spelled out on your paperwork and it’s not checked, then you’re not required to test. Read your paperwork carefully because there may be a section that requires you to follow any and all directions given by a probation officer during your year on probation. That may include at some point submitting to a drug test. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Trish206
      Tue, 24 Apr 2012 at 03:04

      Hi,, it’s me again,i just wanted some tips on what I should do in c.ourt tomorrow,, should I plea guilty to my 50 shoplifting charge,, is it okay if i wear my school uniform,?
      Dear Trish: We cannot tell you whether to plead guilty or not. That’s up to you, your parents and your lawyer if you have one. When you get to court, a probation officer will explain the system to you and then you can decide what to do. If you’re eligible for a diversion program and you agree to complete it, you won’t get a record and the shoplifting charge will be dismissed when you finish the program.
      As far as what to wear to court, wearing your school uniform is a good idea. It will show the court that you’re in school and, assuming it’s appropriate attire, that you have respect for the court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Anne
      Tue, 24 Apr 2012 at 04:12

      I was charged for shoplifting $9 value of earings at claires. It happened November last year(2011), I finally got the diversion program last saturday. I was 16 when I stole it, now I’m 17. Does that change anything in the program? And for the summer I’m getting a summer job to pay for my school supplies and other needed things. So will I get community service? And another question is, how long does this diversion program last for?
      Sorry to repost another comment, but I’d like to add that this is my first offense of all times in my life. And what should I expect on my first day at the diversion program place???
      Dear Anne: When you signed up for the diversion program, you should have received information about it: what to expect, the specific terms & requirements, how long you have to complete the terms, etc. If you didn’t, contact the supervisor of the program and ask. Your age doesn’t affect the diversion program once you’re in one. So, turning 17 shouldn’t disqualify you for diversion or add any special terms. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Emily
      Sat, 28 Apr 2012 at 11:34

      Hi,
      What if I was arrested for punching my mom in the face and went to juvy for the night. Was supposed to go to court but my parents called and somehow I am
      Not sure worked it out so that I only had to do a diversion program and do 15 hours of community service and pay $40. I finished all that on time. Is my record going to be clean on a background check. I am still a minor, 17. This was in California too.
      Dear Emily: Based on what you have described, you most likely do not have a record. Once a person successfully completes a diversion program, the charges are usually dropped and therefore, there is no criminal record. You could contact the court and ask for a copy of your record to verify that there is nothing on it. We hope you learned from your experience. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Linn
      Sun, 29 Apr 2012 at 07:55

      My 13 yr old son was accused of shoplifting $360.00 from a Target store in IL over 2 months ago. We were in the store together & I told him to wait in the toy aisle while I went to the bathroom. He has ADHD & was prescribed new meds about a week prior to the incident. He went to look for me & approached the exit although never exited – he was only partially through the 1st set of doors. Target staff grabbed him & did indeed leave bruises. I did not witness the entire event as I had gone to where I had left him. Despite our efforts to explain he was looking for me & had no intent to steal they called the police. When the local police arrived they took him to the station & I followed in my vehicle. The police treated us horribly throughout the ordeal & even denied my son right to counsel & interrogated him w/o my consent or right to counsel. My son maintained his innocence & they released him to me after he was fingerprinted & photos taken. He was not miranda-ized. We left w/o a ticket or papers or anything & they said I would receive something in the mail from the courts in 3 – 4 wks. To date we have not received anything except a demand letter from a Target collector under the guise of being a law firm. I refused to pay because this was clearly not an intent to shoplift. These past 9 – 10 wks have been terrible. My son & I are terrified of police & anxiously waiting to hear from the courts. Do you have any guidance you can offer my son & I? Are we going to have court or was it dropped by the prosecuter? Thank you.
      Dear Linn: It is possible that the matter was never sent to the prosecutor or that a decision has been made against filing charges. Under the laws in your state, the prosecutor could have up to a year to charge your son, so several months isn’t that long considering the size of the city where you live and the volume of cases in the prosecutor’s office. You may want to speak with a lawyer about this incident to determine how to handle the “civil demand” letter you received. Oftentimes, when it goes unpaid, nothing happens. But, on the other hand, the store could press charges because you’ve ignored payment of the fine. Many lawyers offer a free consultation for the first thirty minutes or so, and that may be all you need to get some advice. Ask about this when you call. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Linn
      Mon, 30 Apr 2012 at 09:19

      Thank you for responding so promptly. I have made an appointment with a lawyer for this afternoon. Having a lawyer may ease our concerns should we get a court date in the mail. Again, thank you.
      You’re welcome. -ATJ.info

    • dj
      Mon, 07 May 2012 at 10:22

      im in a,program tasc for f6 n f4 i messed upfew times on tasc n im scared if i fail my file will b sent back to court my case was first scratchd than called back.n i got tasc for coke it wasnt even like .4 will i go to jail or could i get another chance on tasc to.make up for my first chance faild bec i was hard on me to.stop but im.doing better now im in arizona what will happen n could i.get another chance on tge div program if i.faild first chance i was given or wkll i.do.jail.irs my first offense ever n i was told if i faild id get a felony on my record butdoes that mean ill go.jail to
      Dear DJ: Everything depends on your record and recent results from your testing. If you continue to test dirty, you’re more than likely to be given some jail time. You could get a second chance on diversion but you have to show the court you’re taking the court-ordered terms seriously. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • dj
      Mon, 07 May 2012 at 10:44

      i was clean first few times than.startedmessing upi.m not a bad person im trying hard to.quit but it just might b a lil late i dont wan do jail.i wan show tgat i can b clean n do.good n my record is clean.no.felonys at all untill this mess i wan get another chance what would i have to.do not to get any jail time i was realised on no bond the next day what can i say or do to.not get jsil.or another chance on tasc
      Dear DJ: Action speaks louder than words. Show your probation officer and the court that you mean what you say. Continue to test clean and follow all of your release/probation terms. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • lacey
      Mon, 14 May 2012 at 07:15

      I was driving threw columbia nc the other day ( 30 mins from manteo) and got pulled over because the driver was swerving because he was trying to eat, and I got a poss of marijuana ticket. What will happen if this is my first offense?
      Dear Lacey: If this is your first offense, and depending on the amount of marijuana you were caught with, you may be eligible for a “diversion program.” Once you finish the program, the case may be dismissed and you won’t have a record. You may also be ordered to take a few drug tests to make sure you’re clean. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jess
      Wed, 16 May 2012 at 03:03

      I live in Arizona and I received an MIP in March. I was given a diversion to do 12 hours of community service-which I did. The only problem is that I misplaced my diversion papers and was wondering if that could mess up all the work that I did? Would it be possible to get a replacement set of papers or have the place I did community service for send my probation officer a letter? I’m running really short on time, any advice would help a lot
      Dear Jess: Either solution you suggest will work. You just need to show the probation officer that you did the hours. So, getting a replacement statement from the place you worked or confirmation of the completed work should satisfy the court and diversion program. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • larissa
      Wed, 23 May 2012 at 08:29

      Hello, my name is larissa.
      when i was 16 i got caught sholifting. I was offered diversion and was able to just talk to the officer. I was able to get out of it easily, paying only the fines and no community service.
      I am now 18, and i was caught stealing 50 dollars worth of things. i live in nebraska. Can you please help me to know what to expect? They did give me a citation and i am to appear in court in about a month. What should i plead? is this considered my first offense? am i qualified for the diversion program again?
      Dear Larissa: We can’t tell you how to plead when you go to court for this. That’s your decision. You’ll meet with a probation officer who will explain everything to you. If you’re in a different court from the one you went to when you were 16, they may not have a record of the first diversion you completed. So, you may be eligible again for a diversion program since this may be your first offense as an adult. Now that you are 18, you must take things a little more seriously. You don’t want a record affecting your life and ability to obtain meaningful work, education, etc. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Romeo
      Thu, 24 May 2012 at 03:24

      can i go to juvie if i have been charged with two lock blades in school, an this is the second time i go to court, the first time was me getting into a fight, but can go to juvie for two lock blades and im guilty of it?
      Dear Romeo: That depends on the laws in your state regarding this crime. Since you’ve been to court before, you may end up with some time in detention if the judge feels it’s appropriate. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Sean
      Fri, 25 May 2012 at 12:50

      What will happen after I finish a diversion program? Will it be on my record? Will it affect me getting a job?
      Dear Sean: The purpose of diversion is to keep you from getting a re cord that affects the rest of your life. So if you successfully complete the program, the case is closed – no record that will appear on a future background check. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Sean
      Fri, 25 May 2012 at 05:50

      Thanks for your help! Sorry again but just another quick question. Will this affect my chances of becoming a Police officer or working for the government when I grow up? My dad retired from the army and now works for the government and told me that it could still affect me. Just trying to find out more information about all of this
      Dear Sean: Since you should not have a record after completing diversion, it most likely will not affect your future employment options of becoming a police officer or working for the government. Although it’s possible that you may be asked whether you ever went through a diversion program, it is generally understood that diversion is only offered for minor first-time offenses and therefore, the offender is given a second chance. You may have to explain what happened, but it’s unlikely to prevent you from future job opportunities.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jam
      Mon, 28 May 2012 at 09:29

      Hello, my name is Jam
      when i was got caught shoplifting $270 merchandize. They kept the merchandize and when i asked them to pay for them, they denied and called the police. Police escorted me at police station and took me a picture and fingerprints. They gave me a paper for (complaint-summons) which says that i have a court in 2 weeks. On in is written: original charge – 2c:20 – 11B (2).
      This is my very first time. I saw that you told to the others that may be they would be asked for diversity program, what does it mean? i’m ready to pay for what i did. Can you please tell me what’s are the options and what’s going to happen in court.
      Thank you,
      Regards
      Dear Jam: Since this is your first offense, you may be eligible for a “diversion” program. That means when you complete some community service, attend a class or counseling, the charge will be dismissed. The purpose of diversion is to keep you from getting a record. When you go to court for your hearing, everything will be explained to you. If you’re under 18, be sure to bring one of your parents. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jam
      Tue, 29 May 2012 at 10:15

      Thank you very much.

      I have another question, im at my early 30 yrs old and im international student, is any possibility that my school get this information for what i did? and do you think is better to get a lawyer? im terribly scared and feel discussed for myself. This is the biggest mistake in my life, ever… :(
      Dear Jam: It is unlikely your school will become aware of this incident. If you complete a diversion program, there’ll be no official record available in a background check. It is your decision whether to hire a lawyer at this point or not. Once at court and the process is explained to you, if you decide to plead not guilty, the court may appoint a lawyer to represent you. Or you can contact a lawyer now and discuss this situation. Some lawyers provide free consultations for the first thirty minutes or so. Ask about this when you call.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Tyler
      Sat, 09 Jun 2012 at 05:32

      Hi. I was at park at 11 PM with my friend, just hanging out and talking, when two cops came by and asked us for our IDs. They said the park is closed after 9:30 PM, however the gates were still open and we clearly didn’t know. They gave us a ticket and I was so nervous I asked numerous questions and the cop only told us to show up at the court date noted on the ticket and pay a $10 to $15 fine. Will this be on my record? Am I considered some kind of criminal? Can my university be notified of this and may I lose some of my scholarship tuition financial aid if this goes out somehow or am I just overreacting? Most of my finger nails have been bitten off due to my nerves…
      I just sent another email a few seconds ago. I am a good student with summa cum laude status and do not get in trouble in any sense of the word. I broke down to the cops as soon as they came and explained that I’m a good kid and they simply stated that the park is closed and after I go to the court, the case will be dropped. I’m just worried that this will further affect me and my school and I’ll have a criminal record and I NEVER get into this kind of trouble and panicking if things will be ok.
      Dear Tyler: First, relax. If this is your first offense, you may be eligible for a “diversion program.” That means when you complete some community service or attend a class, the case is closed and you won’t have a record. The court could also order you to pay a fine and then close the case. This should not have any affect on your status as a student and it’s unlikely the school will become aware of this incident. Good luck with your studies.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Lindsay
      Wed, 13 Jun 2012 at 06:34

      I was just recently caught for taking money from my place of employment. I took $150 total, and was issued a ticket. However, I also have to take up the court. What are the chances of me getting diversion if I did great in high school, I’ve never been in any legal trouble, and I have a full scholarship for college in the fall to get my life started on a degree? Please. Tell me as soon as possible. I need something to calm my nerves…
      Dear Lindsay: Since this is your first offense, you may be eligible for a diversion program. Once you finish the program, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Diversion is up to the court you go to and the policies of the court. The positives in your life that you mentioned are in your favor. Be sure to tell the probation officer you meet with or your lawyer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Gloria
      Sun, 17 Jun 2012 at 08:50

      I was charged with larceny when I was 16 and completed the deferred prosecution program. When I pulled my records from the county it stated that the charges were dismissed. Will this prohibit me from obtaining employment with a financial institution? I have read section 19 of the SAFE act multiple times but have not been able to determine if this will be held against me when I receive an FBI background check.
      Dear Gloria: The point of diversion type programs is to give the offender a second chance by allowing them to not obtain a record from the incident. Depending on the laws in your state and how deferred prosecution records are treated, a background check will either show nothing since the charges were dismissed or it could possibly show that charges were originally filed and ultiamtely dismissed. Again, when a person goes through a diversion program like you did, typically a criminal record is not obtained and therefore, it does not affect future employment opportunities. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • stephanie
      Sun, 24 Jun 2012 at 11:15

      so i was caught shoplifting at khols i store 3 shirts that amounted up to 130$ the manager took me to the back and i had to fill out some paper work then the police showed up took my information and gave me a ticket for shoplifting? when i show up to court what should i expect? im 19 should i bring a lawyer or something i cant afford one right now should i just show up at the court and plead guilty? and wht type of crime is this petty theft? misdermenor? they banned me from all khols stores does that mean just the ones in california or in all of them around the U.S? what should i expect from the court? how much will the fees aand fines be??
      Dear Stephanie: If this is your first offense, you may be eligible for a “diversion” program. That means when you complete some community service, attend a class, pay a fine or restitution to the victim, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. When you go to court the process will be explained to you. You don’t necessarily need a lawyer at this time – that’s your decision. If you’re under 18, your parents may want to speak with a lawyer before the hearing. You have the right to deny the charge and proceed to trial. Then a lawyer is advisable or the court may appoint a public defender to represent you. “All” means all stores – if you return to a Kohls store you could be charged with trespassing. They may have entered your name and information into their computer records regarding shoplifters that would be available to every Kohls nationwide. Ask about this when you go to court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • thomas thuruthumalil
      Thu, 28 Jun 2012 at 10:10

      Please respond soon: My father works at a gas station and he accidently sold alcohol to a minor. It was his first time. He had to go to court and he did. He have to do the diversion program. But where exactly is if offered at? Where should he go to do the diversion program? we live in orlando florida.
      Dear Thomas: Your father should call either the court or the probation department and ask how to begin the diversion program and who he needs to report to. Most diversion programs are run and supervised by the probation department. Good luck to your father.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Carlos Saravia
      Wed, 04 Jul 2012 at 10:43

      Hello Judge Tom,
      When I was 16, I was in a hit and run. I just hit a parked car and left. I was nervous and scared so I just drove off, it was my first reaction. Then during the nighttime, the cops showed up at my door and wrote down a report, I was caught! The next day, I went down to their office and had my thumb prints recorded and I signed a paper. I was never actually handcuffed or arrested.
      The next week, I got a call from a probation officer and he tells me about this Youth Court program. I testified in the courtroom as teenage lawyers and an adult judge were in charge. I stated my case, and I got lots of sympathy as even the judge could tell I was a good kid. The jury gave me the lowest amount of community service hours, several classes, and I had to be a jury member for the next two sessions of Youth Court. After several months, I completed everything and had been officially done with Youth Court.

      Now I’m 19 years old, and I really want to teach Abroad in South Korea in a few years. The South Korean employers would want a background check. I’m just worried if my record would still be tainted, which will automatically not get me the job in South Korea as they want clean records.

      Thank you for your time
      Dear Carlos: It sounds like you completed what’s called “diversion.” Since you didn’t go to court and see a real judge, you don’t have an official record that would appear in a background check. So, your future shouldn’t be affected by this incident. Good luck.
      (This is information ony – not legal advice).

    • Carlos
      Thu, 05 Jul 2012 at 10:41

      Thank you very much for the information… I think policy has changed and the Korean consulate asks for FBI Criminal Background Check. Will I be on the record or will it be clean? Thanks for your time
      Dear Carlos: Again, since you didn’t go to a real court and criminal charges were not filed, you should not have a record that you need to worry about it. In order to confirm this, you could contact the Youth Court coordinator, explain your concerns and ask for confirmation that there is no criminal record as a result of the incident. Best of luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Moriah
      Wed, 11 Jul 2012 at 10:47

      Back in October, I received a paraphernalia ticket. I received a letter in the mail stating that my court date was canceled and that I was eligible for a diversion program and that they would be in contact with me. They never called me. This is when I was seventeen. I just turned eighteen a month ago. I checked for a warrant in my name and no search results came up in the county I live in. Was the ticket just dropped? Or what happened there?
      Dear Moriah: We can’t say what happened – it may have gotten lost in the system. You can contact the court and ask if anything is pending. The worst that can probably happen is that you’d be required to complete the diversion program so there’s no record that will affect your adult life. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • par car
      Mon, 16 Jul 2012 at 10:26

      My developer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP.
      I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.
      But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on a variety of websites for about a year and am worried about switching to another platform. I have heard very good things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress content into it? Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!
      AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide advice, legal or otherwise, regarding mastering the Internet, programming or web design. Thanks for writing us.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Name
      Mon, 16 Jul 2012 at 08:55

      Wow, wonderful blog structure! How long have you ever been blogging for? you made running a blog glance easy. The entire look of your site is wonderful, let alone the content!
      Thank you for your message. AsktheJudge had been running for the past three years. We’re glad you like it – pass the word. -Judge Tom.

    • Marcia
      Tue, 24 Jul 2012 at 07:09

      Hi, I was recently caught stealing for the first time and it was from a grocery store, the item being $50.00. I am 27 years old, my first question is should I please guilty or not guilty? Also, what should I expect? This is in Florida by the way. It was meat that I was caught stealing obviously out of need, and needless to say it would not happen again. Oh and I have a clean record, I have never been arrested or anything of that sort. Thank you in advance.
      Dear Marcia: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens and that’s what you’re asking for. We can’t tell you how to plead. If you admit it when you go to court, you may be eligible for a “diversion program.” That means when you complete some community service, the case will be closed and you won’t have a record. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • lynn
      Sat, 04 Aug 2012 at 04:22

      I am 37 yrs.old a a mother of four. Yesterday I did a very bad thing stupid decision.I was caught for stealing worth of $611 merchandise at Kohl s.I was brought to a room and waited for the Police officer .He gave me a citation and right now I’m so worried and scared ,This is my first time and I don’t want to be put in jail.I should have thought of this before hand -my kids?… I was pressured I don’t have a job and I just did it because I just wanted to provide somehow for my kids.I’m a green card holder and I’m afraid this could bring problem to my application for US citizen and what about getting a job ?I don’t know what to do now.
      Dear Lynn: You will find out more when you appear for your first court date including what the possible penalties are for this offense. You may be appointed an attorney to represent you. Jail time may not be real likely since this is your first offense, you have kids at home, etc. As for the possible immigration consequences, you would need to contact an immigration attorney to find out whether there will be an effect on your application. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • era
      Sun, 12 Aug 2012 at 02:24

      when i was 15 i shoplifted and was arrested…
      i met with the prosecutor of my case and she suggested i not go to court and made me complete a shoplifting packet…she said once it was completed she would dismiss my case and i would have no record…
      so i was just wondering if that means my criminal record is clean and i wouldn’t have to check yes to a misdemeanor on a job application?
      Dear Era: That’s correct – you should not have a record from the incident since you never went to court and probably completed a diversion program. As long as you completed everything you were supposed to do, the charges were probably dismissed or no charges were filed. Therefore, you would not have any record and can truthfully answer “no” on any application. You could contact the prosecutor’s office to confirm that the charges were dismissed/not filed. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • chancey
      Tue, 25 Sep 2012 at 09:32

      I’m 13 and I was caught stealing things worth a total of 33 dollars. Instead of stopping when asked to by the manager I continued walking and the poilce were called. I was arrested. I am wondering what is going to happen next? The cop that arrested me was really mean to me when she arrested me because she said she didn’t feel as if I showed remorse. So she wrote down on the report that I was on drugs, which I wasn’t, and that I was resisting arrest, which I wasn’t I was shaking because I was having a panic attack and I tried to explain that to her, and she also didnt put me down as a minor. She wrote me up as an adult. Can she do that? And what’s going to happen next?
      Dear Chancey: Since you received a ticket for this incident, make sure you don’t miss the court hearing. If this is your first offense, you’ll probably be eligible for a diversion program. That means if you admit the shoplifting, you’ll be required to complete some community service or attend a class about breaking the law. Once you finish the terms of diversion, the case will be closed and you won’t have a record. Bring a parent with you to court. Your Mom or Dad can vouch for your age. Think twice before doing this again. The penalties increase as you re-offend. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Carrie
      Wed, 03 Oct 2012 at 03:56

      Hi Judge Tom, I am 18 years old and I got caught shoplifting in July and went to my court date in late August and got offered the diversion class since it was my first offense, and I recently completed the class and am done with the requirements set for my diversion but my court reappearance date to show proof I completed the class is Nov. 28th. However, I am currently applying for a job and on the application it asks if I have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, or have a felony or misdemeanor charge pending? Since I have not officially given the court my documents saying I completed the class would I need to say that I have a misdemeanor charge pending? Can you please help?
      Dear Carrie: We can’t tell you how to answer, but you can keep in mind the purpose of diversion is to keep you from having a record that affects your adult life. Since you completed the terms of diversion and are simply waiting for the case to be officially closed and cleared from the books, you can answer accordingly. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • stacy collins
      Sat, 20 Oct 2012 at 09:15

      hello, im currently in a diversion program for shoplifting. the lady told me they would do random drug and alcohol tests. well, its been three months and they havent tested once. do you think its safe to drink this weekend? how do they alcohol test anyway??
      Dear Stacy: As long as you’re in the diversion program and under the jurisdiction of the court or probation department, they can ask you to take a drug test. If you test positive for alcohol or other illegal drugs, the consequences will be harsher than diversion. Testing is usually a monitored urine test at a licensed facility in your area. Think long & hard before drinking while underage, especially when you’re already involved with the court.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • 2 embarrased
      Thu, 25 Oct 2012 at 03:36

      Sorry about my name but I am too embarrassed, me and my friend thought it would be cool to text his ex mean stuff and her dad called later and threatened to call the cops, I’ve never had a record and I’m 13. I think his ex is in Georgia from whats he said and We’re in Florida, what should I expect?
      Dear Embarrassed: We’re glad you’re concerned about this because once you post something you can’t take it back. It’s unlikely you’ll hear anything further about this since it involves two states and the police are busy with serious criminal activity. However, if the “mean stuff” you texted to this girl were threats to harm her, the police may decide to investigate further. A lot depends on what was said and the laws in both states about harassing, threatening or stalking someone. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ben
      Mon, 29 Oct 2012 at 10:42

      I am 18 years of age and I got court stealing a $180 item the police took a photo of me at the sene and gave me a court date I live in QLD just what to no what I will get when I go to court it is my first offence
      Dear Ben: If diversion is an option in your area where you live, it’s possible that you may be offered such a program as it’s normally reserved for first time offenders of minor, non-violent offenses like shoplifting. If diversion is not an option for one reason or another, you may be facing probation with community service, a fine and possibly having to attend a class or counseling. You will find out more when you go to your first court date including what your options are and the possible consequences. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Carol
      Tue, 30 Oct 2012 at 07:16

      Hi my name is carol and I am 18 and live in CA. I recently got cleared of my misdemeanor shoplifting charge because I completed the diversion class assigned to me, and got cleared by the judge. However, I was wondering if it will still show up on my permanent record but say cleared? Or if it won’t show up at all? I’m just not sure? Can you help? Thanks!
      Dear Carol: It most likely will not show up at all, but every county and court handles diversion type of cases differently. To confirm that nothing will appear on your record when a background check is conducted, contact the court and request a copy of your record. That way you will see whether or not the offense appears at all. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • sara
      Fri, 02 Nov 2012 at 09:40

      Hi, I am currently doing Diversion and i applied for a job at the YMCA, They want to do a criminal background check before hiring me.. Will anything show on the background check or is that the whole point of diversion is that it is not able to be seen?
      Dear Sara: It most likely will not be seen as the point of diversion is to give you the chance to avoid a record so long as you successfully complete the program. Because you’re currently completing diversion, no conviction will be on your record. If you’re asked about any prior convictions, you can answer “no” (assuming you don’t have any from any other incident). Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)
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    • Ashley
      Thu, 15 Nov 2012 at 07:29

      I was caught shoplifting from a stor, where I was also employed, they caught me stealing $197 worth merchandize. I was not working while I got caught. They terminated me from my job and they called the police. I live in New York state btw. Should I get a lawyer? What will happen to me on my first court date? Akso they told me that because I returned two confortors without the reciept prior to getting caught (rrturned one comforter on one date and then returned the other comforter a few days later, both without the reciept) made them look suspicious and thats when they had started “watching “me. They pressed charges for the stuff I stole and the loss prevention guy said that he will further investigate about the comforters, go through the store footage and stuff. For the charge of stealing $197 worth merchandize, what should I expect, do I qualify for diversion? And after a few weeks or a a month or so lets say they find something and press charges against me for the comforters as well, what will happen? Can still qualify for the diversion? How will the comforters affect me present case? Will they be treated like two seperate cases? The comforters were returned before I was caught, will I get a harsher punishment for it? Can I get jail time? I can get them removed for my premenant record or is there no possiblility? I feel really sorry and stupid for what I did, and im ready to do anything to have these removed from my permanent record. I forgot to mention that im 18 and I have never been in trouble with the law before this. Thanks for your advice.
      Dear Ashley: When you go to court, you will find out exactly what you are being charged with and what the possible consequences are as well as the options including diversion. If diversion is an option, then you most likely will be able to enter into the program and will not be appointed a public defender. You can wait until after your first court date to further assess and decide whether or not you should hire an attorney. Public defenders are often appointed when a person is determined to be “indigent” (without the ability to hire a private attorney) and they are facing either felony charges or misdemeanor charges that may result in mandatory jail time. For shoplifting offenses, public defenders are usually not appointed. Again, you’ll find out more when you go to court. If the store decides to press additional charges based on their internal investigation, then you may find out when you go to court or you will receive a notice in the mail. It’s unlikely that the police would come to your house to arrest you. The charges for the comforter could be part of the original shoplifting case or a new case depending on the exact evidence and when the charges are filed. Even if you end up with a conviction for the offense, you can always go back to court once you successfully complete your sentence and request that your record be expunged. We hope you learned from this as you will be facing more serious consequences for any additional offenses committed in the future. Good luck. Please help us help more teens by voting for AsktheJudge to win a FedEx small business grant!

    • amber
      Thu, 29 Nov 2012 at 04:07

      Hi I was caught with my sister for stealing a year ago. WalMart sent us letters to pay but we didn’t. When I asked my attorney ge told me not to pay because the merchandise wasn’t taken out of the store and I did time in jail.I was wondering if he was right or if I should contact them and pay?
      Dear Amber: AsktheJudge.info does not provide legal advice to adults or teenagers. We are strictly an educational site for & about teens and the laws that affect them.
      If you’re not sure about the advice your lawyer has provided, ask another local attorney about this. Many offer free consultations for the first thirty minutes or so. You could also ask a police officer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Cody
      Tue, 29 Jan 2013 at 03:19

      Judge Tom, I have unfortunately had to do a diversion plan before in Missouri, a friend left alcohol in my car after borrowing it, and I didn’t know about it being inthe trunk, when I was pulled over, it was found in my car, along with drug paraphernalia, what are the chances of me being offered a diversion plan for both? It’s my first offense techniqually?
      Thanks
      Cody
      Dear Cody: It is possible to be given diversion for two offenses depending on the policies of the court and prosecutor’s office. Since drugs and alcohol are involved, diversion may include random drug testing so be sure to stay away from all illegal substances. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Liz
      Wed, 06 Feb 2013 at 11:08

      Hi i was caught shoplifting when i was 16. It was a $15 clothing item. I didnt get arrested for it but the police went to my house and gave me a ticket. Later I was contacted by a lady that worked with juveniles I was put in a diversion program I completed it. My question is I want to be a nurse but I know they asked if you have a criminal record. what should I answer? Will it be on my record? I am 22 now never gotten on trouble again. I live in Arkansas. Thank you Judge..!
      Dear Liz: If you completed the diversion program successfully, you don’t have a record to worry about. The purpose of diversion is to keep people from getting a record that affects the rest of your life. To be sure, you can check with the court you would have gone to or the diversion program to verify there’s no record of this incident. Good luck with the nursing program and your future.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • gabny
      Sun, 17 Feb 2013 at 12:03

      I was caught in belks shoplifting two shirts costing 58.00 in suffolk va will i be offered the diversion program this is my first offense!!!
      Dear Gabny: There is a good chance you’ll be offered diversion. Once you finish the terms of diversion, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • gabny
      Mon, 18 Feb 2013 at 08:09

      is a diversion progran in suffolk va this my firsst offense for shoplifting
      Should I plead guility ? I have a hearing tommorow and scared to death
      Dear Gabny: When you go to court, everything will be explained to you. We can’t advise you how to plead. That’s your decision. If diversion is available through the court, it’s a good option since it prevents you from getting a record that can affect your future. You’ll have a chance to talk with a probation officer or defense attorney about your options. Since this is your first offense, relax and good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Andrew
      Mon, 18 Feb 2013 at 07:40

      Hi I was caught stealing from Macy’s last year. It was a 25 dollar shirt. I ended up taking classes and I’m pretty sure the case was closed because of diversion. But will this show up on my backround check? I got a job and Starbucks, but they have to run a backround check first. It was my first offense.
      Dear Andrew: If you successfully completed a diversion program, this shouldn’t appear on a background check. That’s the purpose of diversion – to keep a minor incident in the past from affecting your future. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Andrew
      Mon, 18 Feb 2013 at 08:00

      One more thing. It was just one eight hour class? So that should still count as diversion right?
      Dear Andrew: If that was the extent of the diversion program and you completed the class, then you should be okay and no formal record of the incident should appear in a background check. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Brittany
      Mon, 18 Mar 2013 at 04:36

      I was caught shoplifting at Macy a yr ago and I’m 23. I got arrested,and they took my finger prints and everything. I went to court over the next few week. And they told me to take a shoplifting class and if I completed before the next court date, I didn’t have to go. But I’m wondering if after all that. Will it still be on my record because I’m 23. Mind you this was my first time. Very dumb decision I made to fit in. But yeah like I said, would it be on my record. Like if I someone looks me up, or does a background check on me. Would it show I was arrested for shoplifting. Like I’m really worried about it. It’s very embarrassing to be constantly reminded of your mistakes. I don’t want to be constantly judge for a dumb mistake that I made a year ago.
      So if you finish the diversion. You won’t have a criminal record. Does that include like if someone was to look up your criminal records for a job or no.
      Dear Brittany: The purpose of diversion is to keep first-time offenders from getting a record that follows them around in their adult life. If you successfully completed the diversion program, as required by the court last year, then the case should be closed and no record should exist that would appear in a background check. You can confirm this by checking with the court you were in. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Josh
      Mon, 25 Mar 2013 at 11:45

      Hi, I took a diversion program after getting arrested for an MIC. I completed the program and the case was dropped. I am filling out an application and it asks “have you ever been convicted of OR plead guilty to a misdemeanor?” I know that I haven’t been convicted, but I am wondering if I plead guilty during the diversion process. Thanks.
      Dear Josh: It depends on the laws in your state and your age at the time. If you were under 18, you probably didn’t plead guilty – you may have “admitted” the offense but it’s not necessarily the same as a guilty plea. The purpose of diversion is to keep you from getting a record that follows you around in your adult life and affects it. Once you successfully completed diversion and the case was dismissed, this incident became history. There’s nothing to report or bring up in an interview or written application. How the questions are phrased is important – read them carefully and don’t feel you have to volunteer anything beyond what’s asked. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • alex
      Tue, 02 Apr 2013 at 07:23

      This is my first crime and I stole a 200+ wireless spesker and I was wondering if I would get the diverson program. .. help please
      Dear Alex: It’s possible that you will be offered diversion, but just depends on the policies of the court, prosecutor’s office and/or probation department in your county. It’s typically offered to first-time offenders, but it may be capped at a certain dollar amount. In other words, if you steal over $250 worth of goods, you are not eligible. You will find out more when you go to court including what your options are. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Atticus
      Fri, 05 Apr 2013 at 07:09

      Last February I was pulled over and caught with marijuana in Payson AZ. I was placed under a diversion program around June so the one year mark is almost up. They mentioned after the year if all programs and hours of community service were finished I’d successfully complete the program. All has been completed except the payments of the fines. I have not been tested once and my question is this, do they normally not test at all or will they test me when my year is up?

    • Judge Tom
      Sat, 06 Apr 2013 at 11:24

      Dear Atticus: You need to refer to either the plea agreement or the terms of your diversion program. If you originally met with a probation officer or another court officer, you could contact him/her to find out whether drug testing is part of the terms of your program. If you were never told that you would be tested subjected to testing, then you shouldn’t be. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Andy Loleas
      Mon, 29 Apr 2013 at 06:08

      Dear Tom,

      I was recently charged with reckless driving, i never did what was alleged in the report, the officer has a personal vendetta against my friend who is the other suspect and his family. The evidence which was fabricated, is weak at best (no radar gun based solely of officer testimony ) . Initially I was offered pre-trial diversion 2 years of no criminal charges, 800$ fine, and a defensive driving course. That same day my attorney got it down to 400$ fine, 1 year of no criminal charges, and a defensive driving course. two days after this pre-trial hearing the prosecutor came back unprovoked by my attorney with an offer of 6 months of no criminal charges, 400$ fine and a defensive driving. I read this new offer as the prosecutor realizing that there is a lack of evidence. Furthermore the judge glanced at the 3 page report for about 15 seconds before granting probable cause. My attorney informed me that pre-trial diversions for reckless driving are very uncommon in the state of Washington. I am strongly considering the diversion despite my innocence, because of the cost of going to trial and the risk of losing the trial.
      My questions are:
      1. Based of your knowledge would you take this to trial or take the diversion?
      2. I am moving to California soon, if i were convicted of say an MIP in CA would the WA state court (my municipal court)find out about it?

      Thank you very much for your time I’m sure as you know it is very stressful dealing with corrupt police and judges that won’t even read your report, your advice is greatly appreciated.
      Dear Andy: AsktheJudge.info doesn’t provide legal advice to any of our readers – adult or teen. We are an educational site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them.
      We suggest you talk with your parents and lawyer about your options here. The offer seems reasonable considering that there’s a risk if you go to trial. Trial is your right especially if you maintain your innocence. However, the purpose of diversion is to keep you from getting a record that may affect your life as an adult and follow you around in background checks, etc. That may affect future applications (job, college, military, etc.). Also diversion may keep this incident from coming up on any other state computer checks if there’s no record of it due to your successful completion of the diversion program. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Edward
      Wed, 01 May 2013 at 02:24

      I’m 16 and I was attacked in my front yard by a 50 year old man, my mom, has taken his side, he grabbed me by the throat and threw me down, so I hit him back, I got a letter saying “child in need of supervision,” when I didn’t even do anything but curse, I have been in trouble with the police but never anything to big. How would I go about defending myself having no witnesses..?
      Dear Edward: When you go to court, tell the judge or probation officer you may meet with what happened. You’ll have a chance to explain your side of the story, so just be honest. As for your other question about THC being in your system, it’s very unlikely that you would be locked up just for that. However, if you’re on probation and continue to violate by using drugs and having positive UAs, then the judge may think a little time in juvenile detention is necessary. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jennifer
      Wed, 01 May 2013 at 09:18

      Hi, I want to know. it was my first offender as “battery” misdemeanor. I was accepted into the pre-trial diversion thru state of attorney but I accepted enter the pre-trial intervention that placed on probation for one year, I paid all fines, community service, and etc till I completed all the programs, the state of attorney dropped the charges against me and the all cases are closed, will I still 12 months supervision under the pre-trial diversion after I terminated from the probation pre-trial intervention? because I paid cost of supervision $50.00 monthly and it status 12 months of supervision.. all I need know
      Dear Jennifer: It sounds like the intervention program you completed is a diversion program. Since you successfully completed it, another 12 months of supervision is unlikely. However, you need to contact either the prosecutor’s office (state attorney) or the probation department to confirm that you are done and do not need any additional supervision. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jon
      Sat, 04 May 2013 at 03:10

      I have a question concerning if I have a record of any kind. Me and my brother were out one day that is now five years ago, in March 2008. I was 13 at the time. My brother lit a fire on some dead leaves, fortunately it did not get very big, and burned itself out without causing any form of damage. But, pedestrians saw the smoke and called the police. Given that nothing bad happened, me and my brother did a diversion program for two months. We had to complete fire safety and awareness programs and other things of the sort. After it was over I have not heard from it since. I am now 18 years old, and I am trying to enlist in the Military. So my question is is there any form of record that could still be found?
      Dear Jon: You most likely do not have a record as the point of diversion is to divert you away from the justice system and give first-time offenders of minor offenses a second chance at avoiding a record. To confirm that you don’t have a record, you could contact the court or the probation department that you had to report to and ask for a copy of your record. If you are asked about having any convictions, you can answer “no.” Best of luck to you.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Alyssa
      Mon, 06 May 2013 at 08:54

      Hi! I was caught shoplifting couple years ago and I was age 16 at that time. When I went to meet my probation officer, he dropped the case as he knew what I did was a mistake that I’d never make again. Now, I’m 17 and I’m applying for a job, and I was wondering if my case would appear under any of my criminal records? The case was dropped so I’m not sure if it would appear or not.
      Dear Alyssa: Since the charges were dropped (or possibly never filed), you should not have any criminal record. When applying for a job, you can answer “no” to having any record including any convictions. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Seth
      Fri, 31 May 2013 at 09:07

      I received a Minor in Consumption ticket when I was 19 I got a diversion on this ticket. I completed the diversion requirements. This was 10 years ago. I am wondering can jobs I apply for now find out about this??? I’m a teacher and debating whether to divulge this information if they can’t find out about it.
      Dear Seth: It’s unlikely that your current employer would find out since you’re already working there and it’s not probable that they will conduct a background check at this point and since you completed diversion and therefore, have no record of a conviction. While your record may reflect the initial MIC arrest or charge, ultimately, it should state that the charge was dismissed. Different employers conduct different kinds of background checks. It would be best for you to contact the court where the charges were originally filed and request a copy of your record so you can see what, if anything, is on it. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Bart
      Sun, 02 Jun 2013 at 07:15

      I stole a phone at work and the phone is work 550$ and a detective had found out I had taken it but after he asked if I had it I gave it to him but now I got cops coming to my house looking for me with a warrant for my arrest and told my brother I have a class d felony I live in Tennessee is there any way I can get a diversion?
      I’m 21 by the way judge
      Dear Bart: Diversion is a program usually offered to first-time offenders. It also depends on the policies of your police and prosecutor’s office. When you go to court for this, your options will be explained to you. You can also talk with a criminal defense lawyer before your court hearing. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Sarah
      Sun, 02 Jun 2013 at 09:14

      Hi, my name is Sarah and I got I trouble for shop lifting at Macy’s 3 years ago (when I was 15in a half). They police took my fingerprints and they ended up sending me to a diversion program where I was told that this would no longer show on my record. I got a job when I was 16 and have been working there for 3 years. Im 19 now and they have been talking to me about promoting me as a manager. They WILL do a background check and so I’m wondering whether or not the incident will show up on my record. Will it show up that I got arrested but took the diversion program? Or will nothing show up at all? I was thinking of doing a live scan on myself to see whether or not my background check says I’m good. I would like to know what would show up since I took the diversion program and paid all my fines at Macy’s that they charged me with. I would also like to know what exactly the terms of diversion is good for. For example, my friends dad is a cop and he said that jobs such as mine wouldn’t be able to see anything on my background check, but if I were to get a job through the government it would show up. Is that true? Would it be smart of me to just get my record sealed now even though I wasn’t 18 at the time? I want to save myself the embaressment. Please let me know when you think!!
      Dear Sarah: The purpose of diversion programs for juveniles is to keep them from getting a record that follows you around in your adult life. Once you successfully complete all the terms of diversion, the case is closed and there’s no official record that would appear in a background check. You can always check with the court you went to to be sure. Contact them and ask if they have a record on you that would be disclosed in a background. If they have a record, ask about having it cleared or what’s called expunged. You don’t need a lawyer to do this and the court should have a form that you complete and file. You may be able to do it online. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Enzo
      Mon, 10 Jun 2013 at 12:59

      Can I get diversion for a first time trespassing? And do I have to plead guilty sorry for not knowing
      Dear Enzo: Yes, diversion may be an option for you depending on the laws in your state as well as the rules and policies of your local court and prosecutor’s office. Some diversion programs require you to plead guilty, but the judge defers acceptance of the plea giving you the chance to complete the program at which time the charges would be dismissed and the case closed. However, some diversion programs do not require you to plead guilty. You’ll find out more when you go to court about your options and the court process.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Bob
      Wed, 12 Jun 2013 at 01:06

      My son was with some friends who were stopped by the cop who then asked if they had been drinking the cops asked only 2 of his friends if they had been drinking, not him 30 minutes later he was charged with underage possession of alcohol, how ever was never breathalyzed and was never told to walk the straight line i basically was never actually proven to be drunk. This is his first offense what should he do What should we do?
      Dear Bob: Since this is his first offense, he will probably be offered a diversion program when he goes to court. However, if you and your son believe you want to fight the charges and not enter into a diversion program, you may want to consult with a criminal defense attorney who handles matters in juvenile court. He/she should be able to assess the facts, review the police report, etc. and let you know if he has a chance of winning at trial. Good luck to you and your son.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Kristin
      Thu, 20 Jun 2013 at 06:26

      Hi my wife (we are in a domestic partnership) got caught stealing popcorn, something worth less than 5 dollars. They gave her a court date but she is an illegal citizen brought here as a baby. I don’t know if us being “married” yes I know it’s technically only a partnership will help at all in this but we are both terrified of her being deported. She is only 19 and this is her first offense. We live in Southern California. Thanks for your help!
      Dear Kristin: Your wife needs to consult with an immigration attorney for further information. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation consisting of 30 minutes or so or perhaps they can address her concerns over the phone. She could also contact a local criminal defense attorney who is familiar with any immigration consequences. Good luck to her.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Sarah
      Thu, 27 Jun 2013 at 06:34

      So I was caught shoplifting in Utah at Walmart for 50 dollars worth of stuff I am under 18 and I am going to I think they called it “Arbitrary” where I go sit down with a member of the court (Not actual court in front of a judge)I have to bring my report card. Walmart has already fined me $175. I was wondering how much the “Court” will cost and if I will be drug tested.
      Dear Sarah: You may be referring to “diversion” which is available to first-time offenders. This means when you finish some community service and attend a class or counseling, the case is dismissed and you won’t have a record. When you go to court the process will be explained to you. Usually, depending on your age, there’s no fine. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Fred
      Sat, 06 Jul 2013 at 11:55

      Hey,

      I am signing a plea deal in August for diversion. Is there anyway I can get off diversion quickly if I pay all fines, restitution up front, and do the community service before the court date. Or do you have to wait 11 months to get off of it?
      Dear Fred: Every state and court jurisdiction has its own policy regarding the handling of diversion. Your ambition to take care of everything as soon as possible is admirable, but check before you start anything early. Otherwise, you may complete some community service but not receive credit for it from the court. Contact the person who supervises the diversion program with your questions. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jason
      Mon, 08 Jul 2013 at 04:25

      If you steal 10dollars out a purses old you go to jail but if you stole 50 dollars or up you would?
      Dear Jason: If it’s your first offense, then you most likely are not going to jail even if the amount stolen is more than $50. Every court has its own rules and policies concerning diversion programs and who they may be offered to. First time offenders of shoplifting and theft are likely going to be offered diversion, if it’s available in that county, so long as the dollar amount stolen is relatively small (even up to a couple hundred dollars in some cases). Thanks for asking.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Sean
      Mon, 08 Jul 2013 at 06:57

      I am about to start my diversion program in kansas for possession of marijuana. I’ve got plans to move out of state for college and I was wondering if they will allow me to move or require me to stay here to complete the program. Thanks
      Dear Sean: Moving out of state for college most likely will not be a problem, but be sure to let the probation officer or whoever is in charge of being in contact with you know your plans. It would be best to try to complete the terms of your program (community service, etc.) before you leave so that you can show you’ve already complied with the terms and won’t have to worry about it once you start college. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Tony
      Wed, 10 Jul 2013 at 08:00

      I was wondering what will my charges be on minor possession of tobacco? Will I have to attend diversion?
      Dear Tony: Yes, diversion is likely for this offense. It may include completing some community service and attending an educational class or counseling. You’ll find out more when you go to court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jennifer
      Mon, 15 Jul 2013 at 08:52

      Hi, thank you for taking the time out for this. I feel horrible about what’ve done and there’s not a day that goes by where I wish I could go back or be anywhere but here. I have a charge for embezzlement less than 250. I think the value was less than $50. I have a lawyer and he said we are looking for a diversion no guilty plea. I am so confused, I just graduated and I know I have a degree and should’ve been smarter. I feel like my life is over and I won’t have a future. I terribly regret everything I did and am driving myself sick everyday because I’m so ashamed. I am a first time offender and am terribly terrified. What’s does this diversion mean if everything works out in New Mexico?
      Dear Jennifer: First, relax. Since, as you stated, you’re a first-time offender and you have a lawyer who’s trying to get you into a diversion program, you’re off to a good start. It sounds like you’re eligible for it and that would be best. The purpose of diversion is to keep you out of the formal criminal system and prevent you from getting a record that could affect your life. Once you successfully complete the terms of diversion, the case will be dismissed and you won’t have a record to worry about. Keep in mind that diversion is usually available to first offenses only. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Keem
      Sun, 21 Jul 2013 at 07:58

      When I was 16 I was caught stealing, it was my first offense ever and I went through the diversion program and probation and passed everything, now I’m 18 and about to do biometrics for citizenship, will it come up or prevent anything ?
      Dear Keem: You really need to talk to an immigration attorney about this as background checks in every state and for the federal government tend to vary. Also, depending on the state’s laws where you completed the diversion program, it’s possible that a background check will reveal that you completed diversion and that any charges were dismissed. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation. You can ask about this when you call an attorney in your area. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Lori
      Mon, 29 Jul 2013 at 01:43

      I was caught shop lifting and was able to get a deferment without seeing a judge. However, one of the stipulations is to write an apology letter. Could this get me into more trouble? Is it the same as admitting I’m guilty?
      Dear Lori: Most diversion programs require an admission first followed by consequences such as community service and a letter of apology. Writing the letter will not get you in trouble but if you’re unsure about this talk with your parents or a criminal defense lawyer first. Letters of apology are common in the juvenile justice system. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Michelle
      Mon, 29 Jul 2013 at 07:05

      I’m 21 and got in trouble for shop lifting. I didn’t have to go to court or anything but was told I could get it deferred with an apology letter and taking a theft course. My question is if I’m doing this to keep it off my record an an apology letter is basically admitting guilt how does that work? Will they turn around and find me guilty
      Dear Michelle: Most diversion programs require an admission by the offender. Then, once the diversion terms are completed, the case is closed and you don’t have a record to worry about. It’s unlikely your letter of apology would be used against you. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Dylan
      Fri, 02 Aug 2013 at 10:10

      Hello, Sunday me and two of my friends were caught smoking pot at a state park. A park officer filed a report and made our parents pick us up. I have no criminal record and am 17 years of age. Neither the pipe, nor the pot, were mine. I only smoked it. I live in Ohio. What will I be charged with and how long will it take for a prosecutor to reach me? Thank you so much.
      Dear Dylan: If you didn’t already receive a court date, then you will get a notice in the mail to appear in court. Since this is your first offense, you may be offered a diversion program and given the chance of avoiding a record so long as you complete the program. This usually consists of community service, a fine and having to attend a class or counseling. It may take a month or even a few months for you to receive your court date. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Kristi hollis
      Fri, 23 Aug 2013 at 06:40

      My daughter age 15 was charged in OK for larceny of merchandise and has a court date next month. Will this stay on her record even after she turns 18? What would be a good result legally for my daughter?This is her first offence. Also is common to receive civil fine. I received a letter from an Attorney asking for payment on a settlement for this.
      Dear Kristi: Shoplifting or larceny are handled two different ways in most states: criminal and civil.The shoplifter can be charged with a crime, go to court and suffer the consequences. Stores are also authorized under civil laws to impose civil fines on shoplifters. Usually a lawyer who represents the store will send the shoplifter or family a request to pay a fine of several hundred dollars. Once the fine is paid, the case is closed and there’s no official record that would affect the person’s future. The same for your daughter. Since this is her first offense, she’ll likely be eligible for diversion. That means if she admits the crime when she goes to court she’ll be required to complete some community service, attend a class or counseling. Once she successfully completes the terms of diversion the case is closed and she won’t have a record. Remind her that diversion is usually for first-time offenders. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Nick
      Sat, 31 Aug 2013 at 11:49

      Hi i have a prowling charge i got about a uear ago i went to court they gave me differed judgment or whatever its called diversion. And i paid my fine on time did my 2 day classes on time and did about 27 hours out of 50 on my community servicev i have court in three days are they going to throw me in jail or is there some way of getting a short extension?
      Dear Nick: It’s common for the court to offer an extension especially if it’s your first offense, you’ve complied with the other terms of the program and you’ve made an honest effort to get the hours completed. It might be a good idea to try to line up some additional community service hours so you can tell the court that you are scheduled to complete your hours or at least do more of them within the next few weeks. Also, if you are reporting to a probation officer or someone else who is making sure you are completing the terms of the program, ask him/her about getting an extension. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Ana
      Thu, 19 Sep 2013 at 01:03

      My son was given the diversion program in the state of AR. Is he allowed to leave the state for a holiday visit? He has not begun his hours of service yet, we are still pending to hear from the officer. Thanks in advance for your reply.
      Dear Ana: The rules on travel vary from state to state, but even if there are restrictions on travel, your son may be able to get a travel permit from his probation officer or whoever he reports to. Have him call the officer to discuss this. Good luck to him.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Alim Idriss
      Sat, 12 Oct 2013 at 07:02

      I stole four phones in my place of work, but later I realised that what I have done is wrong and returned back to the authorities, what will be my faith in the court and would this be in my records permanently?
      Dear Alim: It depends on whether your employer wants to press charges. If charges are filed, you may receive a notice in the mail to appear in court. If this is your first offense, it’s possible that a diversion type program may be offered depending on the facts, laws in your area as well as the policies of the local court. You did the right thing by turning in the phones rather than keeping them. You should be given some credit for coming forward and for your remorse. If you have to go to court, you’ll find out more at your first appearance. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • zach
      Thu, 17 Oct 2013 at 10:05

      i was caught with my freind trying to smuggle two bottles of booze under my shirt, they caught me the police came and i was issued a ticket this is my first offence and hopefuly my last what should i expect
      Dear Zach: Because it’s your first offense, there is a good chance that you will be offered a diversion program. If this is the case, you will be required to complete some community service, pay a fine and attend a class or counseling and the charges will be dropped. Therefore, you should not have a record if you successfully complete diversion. You will find out more when you go to court including what your options are. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jackie patterson
      Thu, 07 Nov 2013 at 05:32

      My mother who is 75 years old and has no criminal background history at all was at dollar general buying her cat food and told was not thinking at all and she put cat food in her purse instead of the cart..the total amount of product was about 7 dollars. The owner called the police and they took my mom police station and charged her petty theft? she is overwhelmed and scared to pieces..she has lived in the town for 50 years and its very small town. She is scheduled to go to court in december..Could you please tell me what they are going to do and what her fine would be..lives in Missouri..
      Thank you so much.
      Dear Jackie: AsktheJudge.info is an education site for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      However, we will tell you that with your mother’s history, age and decades in her town, once she explains to the judge what happened, there’s a good chance the charge will be dismissed. If it’s not, the fine will likely be small and she can ask for time to pay it. As we all know, these minor mishaps are common as we get older. Even Judge Tom has experienced such with no criminal intent – just absentminded behavior. We wish her the best. Thanks for writing us.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Travis
      Tue, 12 Nov 2013 at 06:49

      Fail a drug test first one being on bond for 3 months have court in 3 weeks Will the judge give me Another chacce?
      Dear Travis: It’s possible that you will be given a second chance, but ultimately it’s up to the judge. It sounds like you are on pre-trial release and required to submit to drug tests. If the judge believes that you cannot follow the terms and that you are going to continue to use, he/she may believe it’s best that you spend the time in custody. If you have an attorney, be sure to talk to them about this. Otherwise, you could ask your probation/pre-trial officer, if you have one, what they are going to recommend to the judge and put together any mitigating evidence to help show the judge why you should continue to be on pre-trial release. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jessica
      Mon, 25 Nov 2013 at 02:20

      Hello, i recently was arrested for a misdemeanor retail theft frim khols in illinois. i ate a candy bar in the store ans walked out with a wallet in my hand. i got arrested for tgis. biggest mistake of my life. i was aiming at what my possible sentences would be. i got charged with a battery juvenile at age 15. im working in the healthcare field and going to school for nursing. so this little mistake can control my life forever. i was wondering would i be able to qualify for a diversion plea??
      Dear Jessica: If you don’t have any record as an adult, then diversion may be an option. Ultimately, it depends on the laws in your state as well as the rules and policies of the prosecutor’s office and the court. You will find out more when you go to court including what your options are. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Hannah
      Sun, 01 Dec 2013 at 11:11

      if got caught shoplifting in Georgia, 17years old, misdemeanor, clean record, and a total cost of 53$, what will the fine be? will my parents find out? can I call the number on the ticket and pay the charge and not have to go to the court date? please help. sick to my stomach
      Dear Hannah: You can call the number on the ticket and see if you can take care of this by paying the fine. However, since you’re under 18, you may have to appear in court with one of your parents. Every jurisdiction across the country handles shoplifting matters differently. Whatever you do, don’t miss the hearing if you’re required to appear. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Trisha Shivers
      Sat, 14 Dec 2013 at 06:28

      Hello, my son was recently charged with “Organized Retail Theft in the Second Degree” (which is a Class C felony) in Washington State. The offense took place on his 16th birthday when he went to the mall with 4 other boys. Together, they took over $750 worth of merchandise. However, my son only took $200. This is his first offense and the prosecutor had the choice to either send the case to diversion or to file formal charges and he chose the latter. My question is: is it still possible to receive the diversion program for this crime even-though formal charges have already been filed? If not, how do I go about getting the charge reduced? I do not want a stupid mistake he made as a child to adversely affect him for the rest of his life. Please help.
      Dear Trisha: Your concern for your son’s future is well-founded. Once he goes to court, the legal process will be explained to both of you. Since he is a minor, he may have a chance to complete diversion if he admits what he did. Every jurisdiction handles juvenile crime according to their own policies. Even if he pleads guilty to the charge or a reduced crime, he may be able to clear his record before he turns 18. You can discuss this with either the prosecutor or the public defender. You can also hire a lawyer on your own to represent him. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ana River
      Sun, 15 Dec 2013 at 10:35

      I was in junior highschool when I was detained for trying to steal a cd. The police officer came hand cuffed me and took me to the station. I was finger printed, can’t remember if they took my picture and then I sat down in a detention room for half an hour before the police man drove me home. I never received a court date, I never received a fine. Do you think this will show up in my national background check ?
      Dear Ana: It’s unikely that anything would appear in a background check since you didn’t go to court or plead guilty to a crime. You can contact the police depaertment and ask if you have a record with them. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Justin
      Thu, 19 Dec 2013 at 06:29

      Am 18 years old and was charged with Minor in Consumption. I have been giving diversion and am wondering if I get all my community service hours done before my court date If there is a possibility of me getting off early. I don’t know when the classes I am required to take are but maybe when I get those done possibly?
      Dear Justin: Yes, it is possible to terminate from your diversion program early, but it ultimately depends on the rules and policies of the court and whoever oversees diversion in your county such as the probation department. You can try asking either a probation officer or the person you need to report to about being able to get off the program early. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • sh
      Mon, 06 Jan 2014 at 12:26

      please advise i went to court today was told my daughter was a good canadite but then was told she was not as she was arrested for assult and battery however i called the police under the advise of her psychiatrist without the knowledge she would/could be arrested for this and am told the only way to keep her from having a record is by doing this ? but now they tell me i dont qualify the judge is giving us a week to try to change there mind however i am not hopeful is there any advise you can give to make it a possible outcome for my daughter ?
      Dear Brandy’s Mom: You could try speaking with a public defender or private defense attorney about this. That person may be able to arrange for her participation in the program after talking with the prosecutor. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • sh
      Mon, 06 Jan 2014 at 01:42

      thank you we are working on it now any advise what may help change the prosecuters mind ? i would hate for bad advise to ruin my daughters record as she is a great student involved with alot of things & aside from making this one bad decision has never done anything to get into trouble at home or in school i am begging for mercy and really worried they are not going to help. her psychiatrist is in shock she was arrested & i am mad this was handled so poorly and feel this is her first offense & she should have a chance to redem herself as anyone doing other crimes would i am not for violence & THAT WAS my reasoning for calling for help was so she knows it will not be allowed not to ruin her record for life
      Explain to the prosecutor and judge, if you get the chance, just what you’ve stated above. Your daughter will also have a chance to comment in her own behalf. Be honest and straightforward and this will work out. If she isn’t offered diversion, she can apply to the court after all is said and done to expunge her record. You can ask about this at court or obtain information from the prosecutor’s office. Once expunged, she can start her adult life without a record. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • sh
      Mon, 06 Jan 2014 at 03:01

      thank you for your thoughts i am told that this state does not offer expunging a record & that this will follow her for the rest of her life if she can not do this program ..
      If she is charged as a juvenile, access to her record will be limited in the future as the point of the juvenile system is to focus on rehabilitation and give the young offender a second chance. Check out this very helpful resource about the collateral consequences of having a juvenile record (just click on your state for the specific information). Best of luck to you and your daughter.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Brit
      Wed, 08 Jan 2014 at 10:44

      I was arrested when I was 12 years old for a dispute my father and I got into. I believe I was arrested for domestic violence but I am unsure. I was taken into custody and my parents picked me up from the holding cell, shortly there after. I did have my mug shot taken but I do not recall being fingerprinted. I was given a date to speak with a magistrate and he told me that as long as I did not get into any more trouble for the next six months this would all be behind me. I am now a junior nursing student and have had a BCI check done, which revealed nothing. I am terrified my past will haunt me since the Board of Nursing can see everything. Recently, I requested my juvenile record and it states, “disposition ordered” and under that it states, “no official record found.” What does this mean? Will the FBI background check reveal my juvenile arrest? What do you think the FBI background check will reveal?
      Dear Brit: We understand your concerns. It sounds like you were never convicted or “adjudicated” (the term used in the juvenile justice system). However, every state differs as to how background checks are handled. It is possible that the initial arrest will appear, but that ultimately charges were not filed or at least that they were dismissed. Contact the police department, explain your circumstances and see if you can obtain an FBI background check so you can see what, if anything, is on it. Also, check this resource about how juvenile records are handled in your state (just click on your state’s name). Finally, if the nursing board finds out about the arrest, you may have to explain what happened, but it does not seem likely to prevent you from moving forward with your career goals. Good luck to you.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Kassandra
      Thu, 09 Jan 2014 at 08:31

      I’m being charged with a $250 shoplifting crime they said it was a misdemeanor and I have to go to court. only problem is I lied about my age and said I was 17 when I’m really 19. the police took my fingerprints gave me A ticket saying to show up to juvenile court. what will happen because I lied about my age?
      Dear Kassandra: It would be best to come clean and let the police and/or prosecutor’s office know about your real age rather than not say anything and they find out on their own. Talk this over with your parents if possible and either call the police officer who gave you the ticket or the police department. It would probably be best to get this cleared up before your court date. You’re not the first person to lie to the police about their age and sometimes a little honesty can go a long way. Finally, you could try contacting a criminal defense attorney in your area for advice based on the laws in your state/city. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Kee
      Mon, 20 Jan 2014 at 04:23

      4 months ago I got into a fight. The girl I fought decided to press charges now she wants to drop them.
      Dear Kee: If she notifies the police or prosecutor that she no longer wants to press charges, the case may be closed and the charge dismissed by the court. It’s not automatic though. Someone in authority needs to take action on this. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Anna
      Tue, 28 Jan 2014 at 12:17

      I was arrested in November 2013 for stealing a total of $440 worth of merchandise from Macy’s in TN. I do have a prior theft under 500 charge on my record from 2012. I’ve hired an attorney, but a nervous wreck from the stupid mistake I’ve made again. I have a good job, and am very afraid of losing it. I had to sign an agreement with my employer for them to run a background check on me after the 1st theft charge. My question…do you think there would be any way I can avoid jail time, or the possibility of a lesser charge – I’ve had this current job now for 18 years. I am 37 years old, I know this site is for teens. I am desperate for help. I’ve read your entire site & at this point am reaching out for any information I can find. My husband has threatened to leave & I don’t know if I need to tell my employer about my upcoming court date or not! Thank you for your time,
      Dear Anna: Sorry to hear of your recent troubles. But, as you mentioned, we are a teen-law site and we don’t provide legal advice to teens or adults. Discuss your concerns with your lawyer – that’s why you have one. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ben
      Mon, 03 Feb 2014 at 10:40

      I went on diversion for a tabacco ticket and was given a baseline but told my p.o that I just wanted to drop the program and pay the fine, my court date is march 11th and I was wondering if I was going to be issued another ua when I go in front of a judge, I’m from idaho by the way
      Dear Ben: It’s ultimately up to the judge and/or your P.O. as to whether or not you will have to submit to a UA. If your P.O. told you that random drug testing is part of your program, then you shouldn’t be surprised if you are required to have one. If the court is willing to let you pay the fine and not participate in the diversion program, then you may not have to go through any drug tests. You should find out more when you go to court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Ali
      Fri, 07 Feb 2014 at 06:33

      Hi, I was caught shoplifting something of $6 value at an Ontario Walmart. It was my first time doing it, and it was my first offence. There were no police present but rather Walmart security; however, they called the police and gave my name to do a check on me. I was told I will be doing a diversion program since it was my first offence. I signed three papers; one stating a ban for three months and one as a ‘notice of apprehension’ where it says i am being detained for theft under $5000, and a criminal summons will be obtained by the Regional Police (and that the summons is separate from the civil proceedings that the victim store may have against me). The third is from the company ACLAiM, stating that Walmart will be seeking full reimbursement for losses that include but are not limited to cost of merchandise, cost of investigators time, the adverse impact on customers of Walmart Canda Corp. In the event that the amount is not paid, Walmart reserves the right to commence legal proceedings against you before Civil Court and to claim all damages it has incurred. My question is what will actually happen to me? How much will I be fined, and will I be called to court even though he said I will be going through diversion? Can Walmart do this without presence of police? and they said I will not have a criminal record but it will be on file; how long until I may remove it from my file? Thank you
      Dear Ali: You should receive a notice in the mail to either go to court or possibly a probation department, which is where you would find out more about the diversion program. The civil fee that Walmart can ask for is separate from diversion and/or any criminal case. You will receive a letter requesting payment of this civil fee if Walmart chooses to send one. If you choose to not pay it, then it’s possible that Walmart will take action for payment of this fee, but whether or not it’s worth Walmart’s time for a $6 stolen item is another matter. These civil fees often range from $100 and up to several hundred dollars. There could also be a fine through the diversion program. If you end up paying Walmart the civil fee, let the person running the diversion program know this so that any fine could possibly be reduced or even waived. In the U.S., diversion does not result in any criminal conviction on a person’s record. However, depending on state laws, the original arrest and/or charge may appear, but then it would say that the case/charge was dismissed. You can ask about what will be on your record, if anything, when you go to court or meet with a probation officer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Anna
      Sun, 02 Mar 2014 at 09:20

      Hello, nearly 2-3 years ago I was caught stealing with my sister in OR. We stole something under 20 dollars and when the courts fined to our house, it only included her name. She was able to get the records explunged because we were minors at the time. However, will those records still be shown on my background checks?
      Dear Anna: If you went to court for the matter, then the incident may appear on your juvenile record. Contact the court and ask for a copy of your record so you can see what if anything is on it. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Mei
      Tue, 04 Mar 2014 at 06:33

      My friend was caught shoplifting when she was 15. She is not a US citizen. She came to the US for a vacation. She is not sure if the police was involved. She only got a letter from the store asking her to pay $75 fines. She is now studying in the United States. If she were to apply for green card or citizenship and the government performs a background check, will what she did come out?
      Dear Mei: It sounds like the store handled the matter by requesting payment of a civil fine rather than reporting it to the police. If this was the case, then your friend would not have a record that would show up in a background check. However, since she’s not sure if the police were involved, she should contact the court and ask for a copy of her record so she can confirm that there’s nothing on it.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Holly
      Sun, 30 Mar 2014 at 07:48

      I was caught shoplifting in target and was offered the diversion program and i completed it and the told me i could get it expunged from my record when i turned 18, and a year and a half later i got caught shoplifting again and got another ticket. what is going to happen to me now? Im still a juvenile and i wasn’t on probation.
      Dear Holly: Since you already completed a diversion program, it may not be offered a second time for this recent offense. You may be placed on probation this time and given community service, fines and possibly educational classes or counseling to complete. You will find out more when you go to court including what your options are. We hope you have learned from this second mistake as the consequences will increase for additional offenses. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jakob
      Sat, 05 Apr 2014 at 11:40

      Hello, back in august I had possession of marijuana and paraphernalia but the charges were dropped, but, 1 1/2 months ago I was Caught again at school with weed and paraphernalia and they pressed charges this time. I am currently 14 years old (minor) and I was wondering what would happen to me? I have juvenile court on the 16th of this month. It was just 2 grams and a One-Hitter (shooter, type of pipe). To be honest I just smoke it because it helps get things off my mind, I know I should just talk about my emotional problems with people but they include my family and I also don’t talk well about my feelings with other people. I plan on quiting as soon as I am able to apply for a job. Which I will be turning 15 on May 1st and I will be getting my work permit and start looking for a job. Sadly, just 2 months before I originally planned quiting I was caught and got myself in this mess. If you could just inform me what I could do to not get sent off to juve it would be greatly appreciated. I will also be switching schools starting next year so I will no longer be around bad influences, considering I never got in any trouble and had good grades before I can to my current school.
      Dear Jakob: Since this is your first time in court over a drug charge, you may be eligible for a “diversion program.”
      So, when you successfully complete diversion, the case will be closed and you won’t have a record. You may be required to drug test on a random basis and it’s your job to test clean. If you continue to use marijuana and test dirty, you’ll be facing greater consequences including probation and detention. Your future is entirely up to you. You can also talk with the assigned probation officer or the person who will supervise your diversion about counseling. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Rachel
      Sat, 12 Apr 2014 at 01:00

      i am 16 and didnt finish my community service for a diversion plan i had to do 20 hours and got an extention what is going to happen
      Dear Rachel: You could be given another extension when you go to court. Explain to the judge or whoever is supervising your diversion program why you weren’t able to complete your hours. Also, if you make an effort before your court date to at least get scheduled to do some community service, it will look better. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jacky
      Sun, 13 Apr 2014 at 06:54

      I am 18 years old and was recently charged with a minor in possession (MIP) in the state of Arizona. IN addition I was also arrested and spent a night in jail, where I was printed and had a mug shot taken. I have been granted the opportunity to take the Adult Diversion Program. I wanted to know if I complete the class and the allotted number of hours of community service if I the MIP as well as the arrest will be cleared of my record? In addition what exactly do they mean when they say that my offense will be cleared from my record? Is it off my record for good or will employers and schools still be able to see what I was charged with?
      Dear Jacky: Yes, the purpose of a diversion program is to keep you from a record that follows you around in your adult life. Once you successfully finish the program, everything is erased as if the incident didn’t occur. Employers and schools will not know of the shoplifting event. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Alvaro Orozco
      Wed, 16 Apr 2014 at 09:13

      I have a kid she is in probation for 6 months ago. my question is
      a,Juveniel Probation Oficcer have the right to go to my kid high school and let know to the high school consuler my kid not pass her alchohol test.
      Dear Alvaro: It depends on the laws in your state and the policies of the court and probation department. If your daughter is on probation, she probably signed a paper spelling out the probation terms. She should have a copy of her probation terms. Take a look at it and you may see something about contact at school and sharing information. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Hannah
      Sun, 27 Apr 2014 at 07:37

      Ok, I’m on diversion for 4 months for petty shoplifting. It was really dumb, I know. I know there are rules against hanging out with other people on diversion. But my bestfriend who commited the crime with me isn’t on diversion yet because she has to get a formal one. Are we legally allowed to hangout?
      Dear Hannah: Since you’re on diversion you most likely signed or received some papers explaining the rules you need to follow. Take a look at them and see what they say about associating with others. Just because your friend isn’t on diversion or probation doesn’t mean you can hang out with her if your terms prohibit it. You don’t want to violate your terms and make things worse for yourself. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Zach
      Mon, 28 Apr 2014 at 08:30

      I am in the Diversion Program in Ohio for misdemeanor Marijuana possession and have almost completed but just a couple days ago got a citation for under age drinking, what should I expect? I am 19 and this is only the second time I’ve been in trouble, would this effect my Diversion even though they are different charges?
      Dear Zach: Yes, the new charge could affect the successful completion of your diversion program since one of the terms is typically to stay out of trouble. It’s common for the probation officer or whoever is supervising the diversion to run a criminal history check before any charges are dismissed. Any new charges will most likely appear and then it’s up to the probation officer, judge, or the person supervising the program as to how to proceed. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • charles
      Wed, 30 Apr 2014 at 07:59

      About 4 yrs ago I got caught stealing energy drinks I went to court pleaded guilty and was told to do 50 hrs of community service and had to pay a fine well I got caught with retail theft today and possession of small amount of cannibas and paraphernalia all misdameanors they let me go now I have a Court date am I going to jail and would I be eligible for the diversion progam I’m 20 and in the military
      Dear Charles: Whether diversion will be an option for you depends on the laws in your state, the facts of the case and the court’s policies. Diversion is usually offered to first-time offenders, so it may not be an option in your case. It’s unlikely that you would go to jail for this even if it’s your second offense. You will find out more when you go to court, but you may be facing probation with fines, community service and having to attend a class or counseling. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jen
      Mon, 05 May 2014 at 02:13

      Judge Tom,
      I have been in the diversion program for two years and have completed everything except the fine, my family’s situation prohibited that a majority of the time. I still owe 2,700.00 and I pay as much as I can every time I go. My time is up in six days, my grandma said she will help but I don’t think it’s going to be enough.
      I guess my question is, what happens if I can’t pay the fine before my sentenced amount of time?
      Thank you for your time
      Sincerely, -Jen
      Dear Jen: You may be able to buy additional time. Explain the circumstances and your efforts to make payments. Judges and courts understand the economic stress many people are under. As long as you’ve made some effort to pay the fine, it will be considered. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Hannah
      Wed, 14 May 2014 at 01:48

      I have to take a class that’s apart of the diversion program so I don’t get a MIP. I got caught in a state where I don’t live in. Am I allowed to take the class in the state where I live?
      Dear Hannah: It is possible that you can take the class where you live. However, first check with the place where you got the MIP (Minor in Possession) charge to see if they’ll accept an out-of-state certificate for the class. Most states recognize programs and classes from neighboring states. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • mymomdied
      Fri, 23 May 2014 at 01:03

      I was caught shoplifting at a high end department store, it is my first offense. I have a lawyer (3,500) and have been to the arraignment. The DA offered 1 year probation and expungement from my record if I took the deal. When I hired my lawyer he said that I would probably get diversion but the DA is only offering the 1 year probation. On the day of court my lawyer relayed the offer to me me and I said I really wanted diversion as a first time offender. He suggested that we go ahead to pre-trail and he try to talk with department store to make a deal with the store itself outside of court and get them to drop the case by me paying the store restitution. I have court next week and my lawyer (who truly hasn’t done anything, as far as I can tell) says he hasn’t been able to get in touch with the right people at the department store and maybe we can continue the case so he has more time to find the right people but then the DA might take the year probation deal off the table. I am feeling very jerked around and want to know what my options are and if you can make an educated guess as to why the DA does not want to offer diversion to me. The day I shoplifted I found out my Mother was going to die and I actually missed her death because I was in jail for the first time in my life. I am in my 40′s and the past three years of my life I have lost most everything important to me and now that I have gotten some therapeutic help, I understand that the shoplifting was a way for me to have control over something as so many things were spiraling out of control in my life, obviously a poor choice. The problem I am having with the case is that I am not being heard at all and it doesn’t seem like I will get a chance to be heard. I did wrong, I want to stand in front of a judge, explain myself, say what I have done and take the punishment but I feel like it doesn’t even matter what I did or why and that the battle is just between my lawyer and the DA and that I am just an inconvenience. I am hoping that you shed some light onto what I should do and perhaps help me with some closure issues I am having?
      Dear Marei: First, we’re sorry about your loss. AsktheJudge.info is an education site for about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We do not provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      We suggest you explain to your lawyer what you want to do and if you’re not satisfied with his representation, you have the right to fire him, hire another lawyer or represent yourself. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Joseph
      Sun, 25 May 2014 at 12:16

      I am on first offenders program in El Paso Texas for possession of marijuana I’m sixteen and I got a citation in New Mexico for holding a beer can and drinking four beers? It was a ticket so I just have to go to court and pay does it break my program?
      Dear Joseph: You would have to review the terms of your program, but most likely to abide by all laws is one of your terms. Whether or not Texas runs an extensive criminal background check including all states at the end of your program is something else to be considered. Some diversion type programs may review a person’s criminal background only in that specific state and not look into other states, but each state and jurisdiction has its own rules and policies. We hope you have learned from as the consequences will increase for multiple offenses. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Rayna
      Thu, 05 Jun 2014 at 10:39

      I have a civil citation from a year ago, I cleared up for petit theft, 50$ I was on probation and done community service hours. I got off probation, the a few months later I got charged with a first offense petit theft of 5$, I am waiting for court , which is June 24, 2014.. When I was being assessed at jac my mom signed a paper that gave the court permission to look at my school records such as attendance. I am passing everything. But my attendance isn’t that good, what is the worst punishment they could give me ?
      Dear Rayna: The penalty depends on the laws in your state and the policies of the court and prosecutor’s office. You may be placed on probation for a brief period or another diversion program if the judge thinks it’s appropriate. Truancy is taken seriously by courts across the country, so limit your unexcused absences as much as possible. Some states punish parents for their kid’s absences. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ashley
      Thu, 12 Jun 2014 at 02:04

      Caught shoplifting at Wal-Mart in ga for first time ever… and went to jail for 12hrs and note I have a court date in August… they said I had $78 worth of merchandise. What should I do? Never been in trouble at all…
      Dear Ashley: First, don’t miss the hearing in court or the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest. Since this is your first offense, you may be eligible for a “diversion program.” Once you finish the program, the case is closed and you won’t have a record. Keep in mind that diversion is usually meant for first-time offenders, not repeat offenders. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Hunter
      Sat, 14 Jun 2014 at 12:07

      Hi i got caught stealing movies that were worth $50 all together and i got a fine from walmart that i paid but now have to go to court and thi is my first offense. What do you think i will get?
      Dear Hunter: Since this is your first offense and you already paid a civil fee to the store, there’s a good chance that you will be offered a diversion program. This means that after you complete some community service, possibly pay a fine and attend a class or counseling, the charges would be dropped. You will find out more when you go to court including what your options are. Good luck.

    • Bobby
      Sun, 22 Jun 2014 at 10:08

      I live in tennessee and I’m currently on a diversion program will a employer be able to see this on background check?
      Dear Bobby: It’s unlikely since you have not been convicted of anything. However, what information is provided on a background check varies in every state and it also depends on the type of background check conducted. You could ask someone at the probation department, court or whoever is supervising your diversion program. They should be able to provide the answer. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Alex
      Mon, 23 Jun 2014 at 07:10

      I was supposed to call my diversion counselor on April 15 to schedule another appointment but still havnt called him. It’s now almost July. He hasn’t called me either though. Has the prosecutor just decided not to file formal charges? Can I go to jail because of this? My offense was a felony theft. (Over$500) state LA.
      Dear Alex: It’s hard to say what may come of this. You may not have heard anything due to the volume of diversion cases, or maybe your case has slipped through the cracks. You shouldn’t assume all is well sine the charge was a felony. You might think about contacting your diversion counselor, although late, and explain how time got away from you, etc. If you’re a minor, talk this over with your parents. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Catie
      Tue, 01 Jul 2014 at 07:14

      I am 20 years old and got an drinking charge when I was 19, I haven’t completed my hours, its also only my first offense. I blew an 0.054 and was only given 50 hours but I’m about 15 short. I meet with my p.o. for the last time tomorrow morning and Im just wondering what to expect.
      Dear Catie: That depends on the PO and his/her position when the assigned hours aren’t completed. You could get an extension of time or the PO could send the case back to the prosecutor or court for prosecution. Explain why you’re late in doing the hours, be remorseful and polite when requesting a brief extension. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice)

    • nciole
      Fri, 04 Jul 2014 at 03:45

      I stole from a mall yesterday, they caught me at one store but I had stuff from 2 other stores in my bag and I had a bag full of my makeup from another mall. Iam 16, this is my first time stealing. What is gonna happen to me, what if I miss my court date?
      Dear Nicole: Because this is your first offense, you may be offered a diversion program. You will find out more when you go to court including what your options are. Don’t miss your court date since a warrant may be issued for your failure to appear. If for some reason, you cannot make your court date, be sure to contact the court beforehand and explain the conflict. They may be willing to move your court date to another date/time. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Brandon
      Sun, 13 Jul 2014 at 05:57

      Do they do drug screenings when u first appear there I am from Florida so idk if it’s diffrent
      Dear Brandon: Every court and juvenile probation department has its own rules and policies. You can call and ask if you’ll be subject to a drug screening. Remember, some drugs stay in your system and show up on tests for weeks after the last use. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jennifer
      Fri, 18 Jul 2014 at 03:53

      Hello Judge Tom,
      I know a teenager who is on probation in Odessa Tx. He has failed severally drug tests, for marijuana, and nothing ever happens to him. The probation officer just tells him he failed but never does anything about it. I don’t understand why their are never any consequences. I know he failed at least 5! I know if you were an adult you would go to jail for a violation. He is 16 and has been in trouble a lot. I feel as if they are condoning his actions!
      Dear Jennifer: Probation officers typically have quite a bit of discretion. Positive drug tests for more serious drugs like cocaine or meth usually result in harsher consequences, but that’s not to say that there should be no consequences for marijuana use. Thanks for writing.

    • john
      Sun, 27 Jul 2014 at 05:49

      I have recieved a juvenile petition for being caught drunk under age, will I have to take a drug test in court
      Dear John: Although you could be tested when you have to appear for court, it’s more likely to be tested once you’re on probation or start a juvenile diversion program. The terms of probation or diversion vary from court to court and county to county. Because you were cited for an alcohol related offense, you may not be facing any drug tests, but ultimately it’s up to the court or the prosecutor’s office. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Aaron
      Mon, 28 Jul 2014 at 08:07

      I was caught and charged with Marijuana possession and paraphernalia, and I was put on the diversion program for 5 months. My first UA came out positive, as one might expect, but as long as my THC levels continue to decrease and eventually hit 0, is it possible to be let off of Diversion early? My Probation Officer said that I might, but could he just say that as an incentive for me to behave? I live in Idaho
      Dear Aaron: Every state has rules and laws regarding diversion programs. It is possible that if you successfully complete your diversion terms, you could be released early. That’s especially true, as you said, if your THC levels go down, reach zero and stay that way for a period of time. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Cody
      Tue, 29 Jul 2014 at 06:12

      I was caught for trespassing in a construction zone which was fenced off. I went into an abandoned building and took a box cutter. I was charged with Trespassing (which might be a felony) and petty theft. They told me i could do the diversion program but i had THC in my system from the day before. Am i still able to do the diversion program if i failed my drug test? I live in Florida in the Pinellas area and i am 15.
      Dear Cody: Whether or not you still qualify for diversion depends on the rules/policies of the program and the court. If you already have an assigned probation officer or contact person for the diversion program, you can ask him/her or just wait until you hear more. You may still qualify but have to complete some other penalties like completing a drug awareness program. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Sharon
      Wed, 30 Jul 2014 at 10:12

      If a person (just turned 18 yrs) is given non traffic citation for ‘Retail Theft’ in Chester county in PA. What should be done to reduce the repurcussion to minimal so that there is no record and his studies, visa and future career is not impacted. By what time next step has to be taken.
      If he gets ARD, will it be necessary to complete it in same state – PA. Or he can do it where he will be going to study?
      Thanks a lot !
      Dear Sharon: Diversion programs frequently are completed in another state especially when it’s a student who was home visiting parents, etc. and got a citation but goes to school out of state. Diversion usually results in either charges being dropped or no charges being filed. If completed successfully, there will be no record of any conviction. Whether or not his record will continue to show the original charges, but that ultimately they were dismissed depends on the laws in your state. You can call the court and speak with a clerk about your questions/concerns or contact the probation department or whoever is responsible for supervising him while on diversion. As for the case possibly affecting his Visa, he really needs to speak with an immigration attorney who will be able to fully advise. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • miracle
      Sat, 02 Aug 2014 at 12:59

      If I went through the diversion program will it effect my chances at geting an appartment as an adult
      Dear Miracle: If you successfully complete the terms of diversion, this incident shouldn’t be on your record or affect your future. That’s the purpose of diversion – to keep you from getting a record and the crime following you around throughout your life. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Lauren
      Sat, 02 Aug 2014 at 01:15

      Last night I got charged with 1. OPEN CONTAINER IN MOTOR VEHICLE 2. MINOR CONSUME ALCOHOL BEVERAGE. So basically a Class C Misdemeanor. I live in Texas and I am 18 and have nothing on my record and have never been in any trouble or received any kind of ticket before. I am a college athlete and the only thing I am worried about is whether or not they will contact my coach about this. I am also curious about if they would work around my tight volleyball schedule as far as community service or alcohol classes. Is there any chance I will only have to pay a fine and show up to court? Do you think they would work with me or hold that I am a college athlete against me?
      Any input on this would be great because I have never dealt with this and I am clueless. Thank you so much!
      I was also wondering how community service would work. If I wanted to, could I knock out all the community service hours in 1 or maybe 2 days if I were dedicated to doing it like all day? Is it on your time or do they basically tell you what to do and when to do it? Because with being a college athlete I will not have time to be doing this often. I can only afford to miss maybe several days if I am lucky. If I was really lucky, I would end up only having to pay a fine.. is this possible?
      Thanks again
      Dear Lauren: When you go to court, explain your circumstances to either the judge you might see or the person in charge of the diversion program.
      Courts will usually work with your schedule as long as you express an intention to meet the terms of diversion and not avoid them. So, you may be able to arrange to complete any hours you get in a chunk of time rather than spreading it out over weeks or months. It depends on the nature of community service where you live. It would be unusual if anyone from the court, police department or probation department contacted your coach. If, however, you live in a small town, word gets around fast as you know. So, it’s possible your coach could get wind of this incident. And finally, the fact that you’re an athlete and college student won’t be held against you. Consequences are meant to learn from rather than penalize you for your current success in school and on the court. You will now experience the “other court” that you should strive to steer clear of. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • tim
      Wed, 06 Aug 2014 at 12:16

      I go caught stealing and items under $25 and I was over 130 days when I received papers in the mail and I had to go get finger printed and no cops where ever called what does that mean and there was no fine and set court date ?
      Dear Tim: It sounds like you may be offered diversion. Keep your eye on the mail to be sure you don’t miss any notice from the court or another office through the court like probation. If you don’t receive anything in the mail after so much time passes, you could try calling the police department where your prints were taken to find out why your prints were taken and if you should expect to receive a court date in the mail. It’s possible that this is routine so the department has an internal record so that if your caught shoplifting again, you may be arrested or cited. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Natalie
      Fri, 08 Aug 2014 at 03:23

      I got caught smoking weed at school and having it on me. I’m currently in a drug diversion program. I have tested clean on all my drug tests which is all I have left to do to complete the program. I was wondering if I will still be required to randomly get tested even after I successfully completed the program? Thank you for your time
      Dear Natalie: No, you will not have to be randomly tested once you complete diversion. As soon as you complete the program and the charges are dismissed, that will end your responsibilities with the court or whoever is supervising the diversion program. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Moses
      Fri, 15 Aug 2014 at 02:26

      I recently got a mic minor consumption charge in arizona at my arraignment I was offered the diversion program can you detail what I should be expecting
      Dear Moses: Diversion often means that you will have to complete some community service, pay a fine and possibly attend an educational class or counseling. You may have six months or so to complete everything. Once the program is successfully completed, the charges would be dropped and you would not have a record of any conviction. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Philly Willy
      Wed, 20 Aug 2014 at 06:29

      Ik this is off the whole stealing topic been ther done tht , but i was put on the diversion program for 6th months for getting caught smoking at school with weed on me and im 2 months in and they havnt drug tested me yet are they not aloud to or will they not or do u think ther just gunna suprise me
      Dear Philly: Yes, they are most likely allowed test you since you’re in a diversion program for being caught with weed. Typically, random UAs are a common part of diversion or probation for drug related offenses. Also, one of the terms of your diversion program is most likely to be law abiding so they could test you to make sure that you’re complying with this term. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • janice
      Wed, 20 Aug 2014 at 08:52

      Hello,
      I am on the diversion program in gwinnett county for simple assaulted. Last night I was arrested in Fulton county for an DUI. The police draw my blood kept me for 4 hour gave me bond for $300 and gave me a court date for 11 November. Am I in violation of my probation
      Dear Janice: Yes, you most likely are in violation of your probation/diversion since one of the terms is probably to remain law abiding. It’s up to you whether or not to disclose this to your P.O. However, he/she is probably going to find out when they run a records check at the end of your program to make sure that you didn’t pick up any new charges while on diversion.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • E
      Thu, 21 Aug 2014 at 04:10

      Judge Tom, sir, what if you are on probation and are turned in for stealing $300 at the age of 13-14?
      Dear E: That will depend on the outcome of the new charges. If you admit the theft or are found guilty at trial, the judge will decide the penalty. It may include more time on probation, intensive probation, restitution to the victim or even some time in detention (juvy). Take your probation terms seriously because the court does. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • cori
      Sun, 24 Aug 2014 at 10:59

      okay so i got caught shoplifting a little over $60 worth of clothing from walmart. i talked to the probation officer and i didnt qualify for the division program because i didnt pass my drug test. what will happen when i go to court?
      Dear Cori: You may be placed on probation and have to complete some community service and pay a fine. You will find out more including your options at your court date. Since diversion is not an option, this offense will likely stay on your record unless and until you get it expunged/destroyed. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Hunter
      Mon, 25 Aug 2014 at 01:55

      I am 18 and I am getting charged with theft most likely. I turned 18 in March. I recently met a guy online that cracked gamestop accounts(hacking) and best buy accounts. With these he would offer me half of what he got to me. So we got about 2500-5000$ total from these gamestop and best buy accounts. I have returned everything I have to the police under my free will and gave information on the guy that I met. He is out of the country so secert service is involved. I have hired a good lawyer that Costed me 5000$ but not sure where my conviction will go. I start college august 29 in the field of cyber security for 2 years. I don’t want this to on my record due to me wanting to join the Air Force or Homeland security for cyber sec. Or go to jail cause I wanna go to school for my career. I have received a scholarship from my college, was in the band and had good grades. What should I do? I am looking at coming a informant or trying to get probabtion.

      I was also wondering if I could do this “In October, Holly’s attorney argued against jail time, asserting that his client should get credit for cooperating with the FBI by providing “information about others that he was aware were involved in illegal computer-related activities.”
      Dear Hunter: Since you have an attorney, you really need to speak with him/her about this. The possible penalties depends on a number of factors including the laws in your state (or possibly federal laws if you are charged in federal court), your criminal history, and the specific facts and circumstances. As for your future employment, a criminal record is not usually going to help if you want to work for the government. At the same time, the fact that you have the skills certain government offices may be looking for (hacking, etc.), it could be to your advantage. You will probably want to get your record destroyed/expunged if possible once you complete the terms of your sentence. Check out this article from a few years ago about the federal government hiring hackers and training them to become white hat hackers. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Brittany Smith
      Mon, 25 Aug 2014 at 02:39

      I received an M.I.P for underage drinking when I was 18. I received the diversion program, did all the required steps and had my charges dropped. Will I be able to pass a level 2 background clearance for a teaching position in Florida?
      Dear Brittany: The purpose of diversion is to keep you from having a record. So, if you successfully completed a diversion program, nothing should appear on a record check. You can contact the court you were in and ask if they still have a record of this incident. If they do, ask about applying for an expungement. It’s an easy process and doesn’t require a lawyer. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • melissa
      Tue, 26 Aug 2014 at 11:56

      im a social work student, i must set up and intervention program for a client for committed a serious murder @ 17 years, he is now 18. Is Diversion possible their.
      Dear Melissa: Diversion is only an option for low level offenses (misdemeanors and petty offenses) such as shoplifting, underage drinking and possession of a small amount of marijuana. It would not be an option for any felony especially murder. Thanks for asking.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Stan
      Thu, 28 Aug 2014 at 01:52

      Hello. I am 35 years old. I been caught shoplifting in Morris County, NJ Shop-Rite on 7/20/14. I did not follow LP person to stop, since he did not properly identified himself, and he forcefully pulled me into small room. They also called the police. I tried to explain to them that I was scared and this is first time this is happening to me, that is why I did not follow the directions. When police came they handcuffed me and put me into police cruiser. After running my license, and finding out that my record is clean, they let me go WITHOUT citation or summons to appear in court. Moreover, they adviced me that they (the police) will not be pressing charges against me, but the shop rite might. The item that I took was $3.49. I also paid for two items ($16.28 at cash register). I had to sign the only paper that I will not return to that shop-rite ever again. Please advise if there will be any criminal charges against me, as I do not want them on my record. I already paid $150.00 civil fee and included explanation with my check stating that I am sorry, but this was a big misunderstanding. I asked one of the local lawyers, and he advised that 99% chance they will not follow thru with criminal charges once civil charges were satisfied. Your input in this is greatly appreciated. I am glad to have found this website. By the way, it was over a month now, and so far I just got Civil Demand letter, that I satisfied in full.
      Dear Stan: Since the police came to the scene, but did not issue a ticket or citation and considering you already paid a civil fee to the store, it’s unlikely that you will hear anything more about this. However, we cannot guarantee anything of course. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Stan
      Fri, 29 Aug 2014 at 03:27

      Thank you for quick response. Interesting to add that 16 years ago I been employed for about 6 month by one of those shoprites (Glass Gardens Corporation), where I have been an outstanding employee. I mentioned that in the letter with civil remedy check, so hopefully this will be a favorable factor also.
      Dear Stan: You’re welcome. Good luck and take care.

    • Brittany
      Fri, 29 Aug 2014 at 08:25

      Hi I live in the state of Kentucky. I got caught stealing with two others at a Kohl’s about two years ago. I was offered Diversion Program and currently am still in the Program. I was courted to get a G.E.D but while the other two people who got caught wigh me were fined. It was Felony Theft and they were dropped down to misdomemors(sp?) But I had to pay $400 for the Program cause it was Felony and not misdomenor. I’m just wondering if I didn’t get a misdomenor? I’m having a hard time completing my Diversion due to not being able to get the G.E.D. It is a big process where they make you take classes and you fail one subject you have to re-test all over again. It has been two years and I’m just wondering what is going to happen to me in court? Will I just be fined? Or facing jail time? I’m really scared and this was my first time ever being in trouble with the law. I haven’t had any new charges since this incident.
      Dear Brittany: Diversion is usually only an option for midemeanor offenses so it’s likely that your charge was a midemeanor. Explain to the judge the problems you’re having obtaining you GED. If possible, bring any documentation you may have showing that you’re trying. The judge may give you more time or a fine or community service. Jail time is often reserved as a last resort when someone is not complying with the court’s order. Good luck.

    • Symone
      Mon, 01 Sep 2014 at 02:17

      I was charged(summon) with assault but was never arrested or got finger printed. What happens when my case is dismissed. Will those charges show up when I get finger printed for immigration?
      Dear Symone: It depends on the laws in your state as all states have different laws and procedures when it comes to dismissed charges and criminal background checks. You can check this site about the laws in your state concerning juvenile records. Otherwise, you could try contacting an immigration attorney. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Hannah
      Wed, 10 Sep 2014 at 11:22

      About 3 months ago I had a charge for driving with no liscence, I got it diverted and told that all I had to do was stay out of any trouble for 3 months. I then met a guy and he left me and moved to New Hampshire. I had stayed clean and did my own thing, just sitting at home watching netflix’s sad romantic movies. Then I was invited to a friend thing by some friends. I went and consumed alcohol, my friends didn’t have license and they seemed worst off driving than I did. I decided to drive and the was stopped in a license check. By the end of it I was charged with DWI- Level 1, drinking underage, driving with no license, resisting arest, as well as assault on a government official. I’m 15, I got a letter from the same lady I had last time and she checked the box saying I don’t have to go to court yet and there’s chance for diversion plan. What do you think will happen? The only thing was a huge mistake.
      Dear Hannah: It sounds like you will be very lucky if you’re offered diversion again. Not only is diversion usually offered to first-time offenders, it’s also reserved for minor offenses like shoplifting and underage drinking. DUI and assault on a police officer are not usually considered minor offenses. You may be placed on probation and have to complete community service hours, pay fines and attend educational classes or counseling. You may not be able to get your driver’s license for years from now depending on your state’s DMV rules/policies. Drinking and driving is no joke, so if you find yourself in a similar situation, please remember how serious and fatal it could be – call a cab or make sure you have a designated driver. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Lord Mercado
      Mon, 15 Sep 2014 at 07:22

      Dear Tom: I’m summon to go to court in October of 2014 because of probation I have completed everything else but court fine and tickets. I completed the class for my driver license I completed my community service and paid off my probation but the court fine and tickets I couldn’t because I have no work and I live in a hotel in scared because I don’t want to go back to jail for a vop because of court fine and my traffic ticket and this is in the Osceola county what can I do
      Dear Lord: Explain your circumstances to the judge. You may be granted an extension to get the fine paid off. It is common for the court to work with you and set up a payment plan if necessary. It helps to show that you’ve completed all other terms of your probation and that you’ve put any money you possibly can towards paying off the fine. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Lord Mervado
      Tue, 16 Sep 2014 at 11:55

      Dear Tom: its lord again so I don’t have to worry about going to jail then just explained my situation as I said I completed everything on my probation just the court fine and tickets is my only issue and as I explain I have no work and live in a hotel just don’t want to go to jail so just ask for an extension
      Dear Lord: Yes, calmly explain your situation to the court and request an extension to pay the balance of the fines. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Zjon Rayne
      Sat, 20 Sep 2014 at 08:07

      Hello, I’m Rayne and I got two tickets one was a paraphernalia charge and the other was a misdemeanor and alcohol I believe. The alcohol was not mine but I for charged for it and the paraphernalia charge was for a bong and a pipe.
      I was just put into the diversion program and I was just wondering if I should expect to get drug tested or not. And also around how many hours of community service should I end up getting? (By the way this is my first offence.)
      Dear Zjon: The amount of community service hours is up to the court and the rules/policies of the prosecutor’s office. It may be somewhere between 24 hours and up to 100 or so. Yes, you may be drug tested especially since you are in a diversion program for a drug/alcohol offense. You should have a copy of the terms of your program or you can ask the probation officer or whoever is in charge to review the terms with you. Since obeying all laws is typically a term, that means you could be drug tested to ensure that you are not breaking any laws. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Stella
      Sat, 20 Sep 2014 at 08:29

      Hello Judge. I am 19 and from NY; I was caught shoplifting and was arrested. I signed a paper to pay civil demand and received a court summons. This is my first time getting arrested and the items totaled $75. I was caught before at 17 but never arrested or summoned to court. I was told by cops that I will be safe but I am scared and have learned my lesson. What are my options when I get to court? It is safe for me to not disclose the first time which isn’t on my record?
      Dear Stella: Since this is your first offense as for being charged and having to go to court, you may be offered diversion. It is not necessary to disclose the previous incident which did not result in any consequences. You will not be asked about it, so you don’t need to worry about discussing it. You will find out more when you go to court including what your options are. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Jeremy
      Tue, 23 Sep 2014 at 09:36

      I am 19 and was charged with simple possession of marijuanna and paraphernalia. And I just started going to court for it and I believe I will be put on diversion. My question is will I be able to move to a different state if I’m on diversion?
      Dear Jeremy: If you’re placed in a diversion program, there will be a court or probation officer supervising you. Ask him or her about leaving the state. Or you can ask the prosecutor involved with your case, or the judge assigned to your case if you appear before a judge. Don’t assume you can leave without permission. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • emily
      Fri, 26 Sep 2014 at 01:00

      hi I am 19 years old and me and my boyfriend got caught with a credit card we prob spent about 130 in all now its a warrant out for my arrest will I get jail time but I have a clean record and this will be my first time offense
      Dear Emily: Since there’s a warrant out for you, you may spend some time in jail until you see a judge. If you turn yourself in, you may avoid any time locked up. You can also talk with a local criminal defense attorney about this situation. Some offer free initial consultations, so ask about this when you call. Take a look at our Resource Directory for lawyers in your area.:
      http://www.askthejudge.info/directory
      Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Raheem Hasan
      Fri, 26 Sep 2014 at 06:23

      Well, I’m 16 and I got caught stealing a $35 box of perfume. I did all my Diversion agreement EXCEPT my community service. I did not complete my 35 hours of service (only did 10 hours) and I was summoned to court. What is the worst case scenario?
      Dear Raheem: Judges take court orders that are ignored seriously, especially in a diversion program where you’re already getting a break. The judge will decide how to handle this. It may include additional hours or an extension to complete the original amount. Or the prosecutor could proceed with formal charges, thereby ending your chance at a successful diversion. We suggest you complete the hours before you appear at court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jose
      Mon, 29 Sep 2014 at 12:05

      Im 20 years old in the state of Indiana. I got charged with minor consumption, I’m yet to go to court. I have read that with this offense I might be sentenced up to 60 days in jail, I wanted to know what are the chances of that happening, and the best way to avoid it.
      Dear Jose: If this is your first offense, there is a decent chance that you will be offered a diversion program and given the opportunity to avoid a record so long as you complete the terms of the program. Jail time is unlikely. Sixty days may be the maximum penalty under the level of misdemeanor you are charged with, but very unlikely especially for a first offense minor consumption. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Sam
      Mon, 29 Sep 2014 at 01:17

      When I was 16 I got a reckless driving ticket (no arrests) and did the whole defensive driving course (no community service or parole or anything). Now that I am 22 I got caught shoplifting (under $500), was given a summons to turn myself into the police station, where they said I’d get a date for court. Am I eligible for diversion?
      Dear Sam: Whether you are eligible for diversion depends on the laws of your state and the rules/policies of the court and prosecutor’s office. First-time shoplifting offenders are often eligible for diversion programs in courts across the country, so there is a chance that you will be offered the program. It may not matter about the reckless prior since you were a minor at the time and it was handled in juvenile court. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Chris Carter
      Tue, 30 Sep 2014 at 01:48

      When I was a minor I was charged with possession of marijuana under 20 grams. I completed diversion a few months ago. I was told by counselor of diversion that I would still be able to join the military and that they would just have to talk to her and know that I completed the program. After talking to all the branches they all told me that they are not accepting anyone with any drug charge. I need help.
      Dear Chris: You need to look into whether or not you can get your arrest record destroyed or expunged as it often is not destroyed when a person completes diversion or even has a prior offense/record destroyed by the courts. The reason is usually because an arrest record is through the police department whereas a criminal record goes through the courts. In some states and cases, you may be able to get your arrest record destroyed, which could result in you having no record whatsoever since you completed diversion. Click here and click on your state to find out if you can get your arrest record destroyed. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Max
      Thu, 02 Oct 2014 at 03:20

      Basically, I was caught with Marijuana possession and paraphernalia. I live in Pennsylvania and was 17 at the time of the incident but am going to be turning 18 when I meet with my P.O. Since it is my first offense, what could be the maximum and minimum punishments if I pass my initial drug tests?
      Dear Max: As for the maximum punishment under your state’s laws, click here (be sure to confirm that the information is current since laws are changing all of the time). Diversion may be offered since this is your first offense. Diversion could be as simple as a fine, but may involve more to complete the program like community service, counseling and/or educational classes. You will find out more when you meet with your P.O. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • yancy
      Mon, 06 Oct 2014 at 07:50

      i have court for a second shoplifting.the first one was like 7 year ago. the second one wass one week ago what to spect in court? do i applide for diversion? i am 30 years old. live in georgia atlanta. amount the food was $80 dollars
      Dear Yancy: Diversion may not be an option since this is your second offense. You may be placed on probation with community service, fines and having to attend a class or counseling. You will find out more when you go to court. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • yanc
      Tue, 07 Oct 2014 at 09:19

      thank you for you responds. do you think am going to serve jail?
      Dear Yanc: Since $80 is relatively low, it’s unlikely that you would serve any jail time at this point.
      (This is information only – not legal adivce.)

    • Michelle Sabin
      Thu, 09 Oct 2014 at 02:38

      I was recently charged with a petty theft misdemeanor in California for $200, and would really like to go through the diversion program. When I go to my court date how do I ask the judge if I can participate in the program? When they ask for my plea do I simply say “is there any way I’d be able to participate in a diversion program?”
      Dear Michelle: When you go to court, the legal process will be explained to you. You will be told if you are eligible for a diversion program. Most require that you admit what you did and then complete some community service, attend a class or counseling. Once you finish the terms of diversion, the case will be closed and you won’t have a record. You can also talk with a local criminal defense attorney about this before you appear in court – it’s your call. See our Resource Directory for lawyers in your area:
      http://www.askthejudge.info/directory
      Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Ana
      Fri, 10 Oct 2014 at 08:39

      I am 14 years old and I was caught shoplifting in target and they send me a letter I have to pay $200 (the items I took were less than $20) and then they send me a second letter that I have to pay or they might send me to the judge.is the fine too high? This is my first offense. And my mom can’t afford to pay that much money. I live in NYC and am I going to Julie for this ?
      Dear Ana: If you pay the fine to the store, that will end this incident. You won’t be going to court or have a criminal record. That’s the purpose of settling these shoplifting cases “out of court” through a civil process. The amount is common although it seems high to you. You can ask the store if they will accept payments. Many stores allow this but you must make the monthly payments to avoid further action. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • angelica
      Fri, 10 Oct 2014 at 11:52

      My friend is 15 years old and this is hes second high speed chase , the second time was in a stolen truck. How much time is he facing ? Can he do house arrest instead ?
      Dear Angelica: What happens to your friend depends on the laws in your state, his record, the position of the prosecutor assigned to this case, and of course, the judge. He can discuss his options with his lawyer (public defender). He may be facing time in juvenile detention or department of corrections, house arrest, probation, etc.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Hael
      Wed, 15 Oct 2014 at 01:26

      I’ve just received a second offense on shoplifting and I believe a civil penalty and I don’t know what to do. Any advice?
      Dear Hael: Wait until you receive the paperwork on this and instructions as to how to handle it. If you get a civil fine, you’ll be told how to pay it and where to send payment. Once you do, the case may be closed and that’s the end of it as far as the store goes. If you get notice of a court date, make sure you attend. If you miss court, the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest. Usually, first-time offenders are offered diversion. You may get lucky and have another chance at diversion. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Jackie
      Mon, 20 Oct 2014 at 03:23

      I’m 22 I got caught shoplifting at cvs. I had taken 54$ worth of stuff. I got a letter in the mail for civil claim. I’m currently paying it..
      It’s my first time steeling, no cops where called they just told me that I’m not allowed to go in to certain cvs anymore. They got my ID and took a picture of me and that’s all. Should I continue to pay and just hope that I don’t get arrested or should I call a lawyer and see my options?
      Oh and does this go on my record even though I wasn’t arrested?
      Dear Jackie: If you hear nothing from the police, there will be no criminal action. That means there won’t be a criminal report or record that will affect your future. The only record that exists is with the store.
      Once you pay the civil fine in full, the case will be closed. This is a common way stores are allowed under the law to deal with shoplifters. Although the fine is higher than what you took, it’s a legal method of resolving many shoplifting cases.
      As long as the ban from CVS is in place, don’t return. Otherwise you can be charged with trespassing. Good luck. We hope you’ve learned from this.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Lei
      Tue, 21 Oct 2014 at 01:57

      Hi! I’m 16 and I have 2 MIP charges and for the last 2 and a half months i’ve been sober (from marijuana and alcohol) those are some of the terms, as are my 12 hours of community service which I’ve completed, and a 2 hour class about marijuana i’ve went too. I struggle with depression, anixety, neck pain, and constant severe headaches and migranes. I let all that get to me and have smoked 4 times in the last 2 weeks. My court date is November 3rd. :( Even if I drank tons and tons of water, excercised the thc would still be in my system. I am screwed. I don’t believe in pills. I believe they are alot more addicting and dangerous and their not for me. I’m so beyond stressed out. I don’t have health insurance. Cover Oregon is taking FOREVER. You’re probably wondering how I know I have depression/anxiety without getting tested. Well I’ve done my research and I have my resources. I also know all the downfalls of marijuana. But there’s good and bad and I’m a supporter. I thought I was strong enough but I allowed my emotions and body pain get the best of me when tyenol and excedrin weren’t working
      Dear Lei: First, don’t miss your court date or things will just get worse for you. The judge can issue a warrant for your arrest which will find you in juvenile detention.
      Discuss this with your parents. They may want to contact a lawyer to represent you before you go to court. Take a look at our Resource Directory for professionals in your state:
      http://www.askthejudge.info/directory
      Explain to your lawyer and probation officer, if you are assigned one, about your anxiety and emotional state. These factors may be taken into consideration in the court process. Try to stay away from marijuana, etc. that will show in any urine or blood tests you have to take. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Theodore Caulking Jr.
      Fri, 24 Oct 2014 at 12:03

      I have two charges pending for desperate dates, one for simple marijuana possession in a drug free zone and the other for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. I live in the state of Louisiana, so I’m sure you understand how brutal the judicial system is here. Any advice, tips or help before my dates arrive?
      Dear Theodore: We are an education website for & about teenagers and the laws that affect them. We don’t provide legal advice to adults or teens.
      We suggest talking to a local defense attorney before your hearing or wait until court and ask for a public defender to represent you. Take a look at our Resource Directory for professionals in your area:
      http://www.askthejudge.info/directory
      Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

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