Interviewer: What are the possible penalties for petty theft?
Possible Penalties Include a Jail Sentence or Probation
Dale: It can vary but some judges will sentence even first time offenders to 10 days in jail. Second time offenders can receive 30 days in jail. The problem lies in that if you get convicted of shoplifting and just get probation and have to go to a course concerning the effects of shoplifting on the economy, you still have that mark on your record.
Criminal Record: It May be Impossible to Suppress a Shoplifting Conviction from Becoming Public Knowledge
You can’t get that record sealed until a year after the total disposition of the case, which means you are on probation for a year. It’s a year after you’re on probation. That poses a real risk that if you do go for a job, and they do a background check, now it’s the data mining companies have that record. Once the charge is uncovered, it will be out there forever.
Interviewer: Even if you are able to have the conviction sealed, it’s on the Internet and it can be found?
Dale: Yes. There are a few tricks that I’m learning about how to seal those records, but they’re not tried and true.
An Explanation of Sealing Your Record
Interviewer: In attempting to bury the conviction from public view, is it called “sealing” your record or “expunging” it? What’s the difference in this regard?
Sealing Your Record will Remove Your File and Your Fingerprints from Law Enforcement Agency Records
Dale: Sealing the record” is the legal definition. What you do is you petition to have this done. There’s no arrest record. Your fingerprints are taken off file from the local police department and all law enforcement agencies.
Your Attorney Can Include Credit Reporting Companies in the Sealing Order Issued by a Judge
The next step would be to append the credit reporting companies. There are only a few big ones that actually provide the information concerning background checks. I make them part of the order as well. The court order orders them to seal their records as well.
Interviewer: Will the credit reporting companies cooperate with this order from the judge?
Dale: Yes. Now, it’s not tried and true. I don’t know if it’s 100% effective, but at least it’s something I can do to try and suppress the record.
Interviewer: It’ good to know for people that are concerned that there may be a way to suppress the record of a criminal conviction.
Dale: Yes, it is something I can do that may serve them well into the future.