ARE THERE ANY ALTERNATIVE PROGRAMS FOR FIRST TIME THEFT OFFENDERS?
Most of the municipalities have alternative sentencing programs for first time offenders. Most municipalities in Kansas are not looking to put somebody in jail for low level theft charges, especially a shoplifting charge. However, municipalities also do not want people stealing from their business owners and want to protect the business owners in that community. For example, in Overland Park, any time you are convicted or you do a diversion for a theft charge, and get probation they are going to require that you go to an anti-theft class. That class is designed to prevent you from repeating the theft behavior in the future.
There are always different types of alternative sentencing. If you are convicted of a felony, it does not always mean that you will have to go to prison. The judge might offer probation or offer to put you in a residential center for treatment. If the crime is drug or alcohol related, a judge might let you do therapy in a treatment centers. There can be different types of alternative sentences other than just going to prison and trying to obtain one of those alternative punishments is part of what your lawyer does for you.
How Can A Theft Or A Shoplifting Charge Impact Someone’s Life?When it comes to employment, theft is probably the worst crime you can have on your record other than child molestation or murder. Most business owners or employers who are hiring people can forgive a DUI or drug possession but are unwilling to be so forgiving with a theft conviction. Hiring managers will run background checks and a theft can be a real red flag. To avoid this lifelong red flag, most people are concerned with keeping it off their record. For a first-time theft, there is going to be ample opportunity to keep it off through a diversion process. Generally, on a first-time offense, there is a lot more of an opportunity to keep it off someone’s record. If it is multiple offenses, that is when it becomes more difficult and no diversion program will be offered.
How Can A Theft Charge Be Kept Off Someone’s Record?The only way a theft charge can be kept off a criminal record, is to complete a diversion or to win in court. The first option “diversion” is a bargained for agreement between your attorney and the prosecutor. The diversion process is essentially where you sign a contract. The person charged with the crime signs a contract that says “I admit that I did this theft, however I don’t normally get in trouble. I will do certain things that are required to me by the contract.” Some of those requirements will be to attend an anti-theft class, pay an amount of money, go into counseling if necessary, report to a diversion coordinator to make sure that the person is following the rules, and abstain from drug and alcohol use.
After a certain period of time, usually a year, if the person has fulfilled all their requirements under the contract, then the prosecutor will dismiss the case. Even if this does occur, it does not automatically remove it from your record completely, but it will not go on your record as a conviction. When filling out job or school applications, you can mark the box stating that you have never been convicted of a crime. However, it will be shown on your criminal record as a diversion program. In other words, if you interact with law enforcement down the road, or have some other offenses, it will be on your record for law enforcement purposes.
For more information on Alternative Programs For Theft Offenders, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (913) 451-9500 today.