Yesterday I received a call from a potential client that was looking for a Houston Theft Lawyer. She was worried because she was in school to be a teacher, and she was about to graduate. The case was a simple shoplifting case from a big box store. After this mistake, she found herself in a scary situation where it was imperative that she get a good Houston Theft Lawyer ASAP.
She expressed to me that she is not a thief, that she had never done anything like this before, and this is was a mistake that she made in those few seconds. But unfortunately, it only takes a few seconds to change your life.
A theft case between $100 and $750 dollars is a class B misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to 6 months in the county jail and a fine of up to $2000. In reality, many people just pay fines or take probation. While this may seem like a quick and easy way out, accepting either of those options in Harris County if you have a clean record is not the best idea. You may be able to partially seal your record in the future, but the government, police agencies, and state licensing boards will always be able to see the case even if you partially seal your record through a non-disclosure. And because they can see that you pled guilty, they are going to hold it against you (even if they legally should not). Unfortunately, that is how it works in the real world.
So what can you do to protect yourself? Luckily this person had read some of my past material and educated herself on the Harris County Retail Theft Pre-Trial Intervention Program. I talked to her to make sure she qualified, and when I was certain she did, I talked to her about the steps. If you do qualify, basically all you must do is reset your case for 100 days, sign up and complete a cognitive skills class, and then appear back in court to receive your dismissal.
Once the case is dismissed you are immediately eligible to apply for an expunction which is a way to destroy the records of the case. It is a wonderful opportunity to keep your record clean if you happened to make a one-time mistake like the individual who called me.
If you are searching for a Houston Theft Lawyer and have specific questions regarding this program, or if you want to know if you qualify, give me a call at 713-222-2828 and I will be happy to talk to you. As always, my goal as a Houston Theft Lawyer is to protect you, protect your record, and protect your future.
Eric Benavides is a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney. He is a co-founder of Benavides & Serrano, PLLC. He is a graduate of the prestigious Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Trial College, and is a proven trial lawyer. He has been recognized as one of the best criminal lawyers in Houston by the Houstonia magazine, and has earned a perfect 10.0 rating on AVVO.