What will my punishment likely be for shoplifting?
Question Details: I was caught stealing items from a store valued at under $100. This is my first offense ever. I'm only 19, a full-time college student and have 2 steady jobs. What will my punishment likely be?
First of all, for a first offense, the courts allow for a special probation called "diversion" (or your state's equivalent). This is an alternative sentence that allows a person to clear their criminal record upon its successful completion. The way it works is that the defendant goes to court and pleads guilty to the offense. The judge then places the defendant on probation (typically community service, payment of the fine, resitution, etc) and when the sentence is fully completed, the plea is withdrawn and the case is dismissed. In other words, the case is "diverted" out of the criminal justice system. This means that you will be left with a clean criminal history record.