If I was arrested for shoplifting how can I get my case dismissed and my theft arrest sealed and hidden from the public?
I’ve had dozens of clients to which I served as their legal representation for shoplifting cases and employee thefts from large stores such as K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Dillard’s, Macy’s, Sam’s and Costco. Many of these shoplifting cases were dismissed via deferred adjudication or pre-trial intervention.
Deferred adjudication and pre-trial intervention are fancy terms for what is essentially community supervision/probation.
The court will withhold a finding of guilt pending your successful completion of the probation terms. In most cases the court will require you to take an anti-theft class, preform community service, pay a fine, court costs, and the probation department fees for a period of one year after which your case will be dismissed.
Successful termination of your deferred adjudication enables you to partially erase your record via a certificate of non-disclosure.
Your attorney will be required to pay a filing fee of approximately $225 dollars and file a petition for a certificate of non-disclosure, a hearing will be set and if the Harris County District Attorneys Office and the judge agree, your record will be closed to public viewing, but probably not to a criminal history arrest record search conducted over the internet.
A pre-trial intervention is the best way to go when sealing your record from the public because it will also be closed to law enforcement.
Deferred adjudications are easier to get approved because you don’t have to have a spotless record to be considered as you do with a pre-trial intervention. Essentially any history of a prior contact with law enforcement will dis-qualify you for consideration of this coveted honor.
A pre-trial intervention will seal your arrest record from public viewing, the internet, as well as access by law enforcement.
Will you be able to declare on applications for employment, school, governmental or bonding considerations that you have never been arrested, convicted or charged with a crime before?
Yes and no
With a certificate of non-disclosure, in most circumstances, you will have to fess up, not so with pre-trial intervention – you will be entitled to legally say without threat of retaliation or prosecution for perjury that you have never been arrested or charged with a crime.
To be considered for pre-trial intervention your attorney must submit a packet containing letters attesting to your good character, a drug test record, a letter that explains why, and accepting responsibility, for the crime charged and employment and/or school records.
The process is meticulous and you’ll need an experienced criminal defense attorney that knows the quirks of the court you’re in as well as the Harris County District Attorneys Office.
An inexperienced attorney I know had his clients application rejected simply because the accused had no ambitions in life other than her honorable role as a mother and housewife. If the attorney’s client had professed an eventual interest in returning to school to complete her nursing degree she would not have been turned down for consideration.