Interviewer: What sort of programs are available? Is there any leniency first of all for first time offenders? Are there any diversion programs available for theft?
Kevin Roach: There are a number of classes available for first time offenders. There's theft offender program, petty larceny programs, a lot of times you can get leniency by completing those programs. That's a form of a diversion program. It is a lot easier getting leniency for the younger individuals that are charged and / or the first time offenders of course.
The Process of Probation in Relation to Theft Charges
Interviewer: When would probation come into play when it comes to theft charges?
Kevin Roach: Well, on a lot of theft charges you do see probation. When the state has a strong case against you, a lot of times your only option, and your best option, a lot of times frankly, is to go with probation. So you will see, in Missouri there's a common form of probation is when you go on SIS probation. SIS stands for Suspended Imposition of Sentence. So basically the court will put you on a probationary period typically goes anywhere from 6 months to 5 years and if you complete the probationary period typically the guilty plea will be withdrawn off your record and you will not receive a conviction.
Suspended Imposition of Sentence Can Help an Individual to Avoid a Felony Conviction
That's huge for a number of reasons because for instance, if you're charged with stealing over 500 a class D felony, you do not, absolutely do not want a conviction for that felony, you can never vote for the rest of your life, you can't possess firearms, your chances of getting a decent job with a felony conviction are very limited. You want to do everything you can to prevent that felony from getting on your record and if they have a strong case against you, you go to trial, if they got it all stacked up against you, you're just banging your head against the wall. So a lot of times your best option is to go with the Suspended Imposition of Sentence which basically they'll give you a chance if you could stay out of trouble during the probationary period then you will not have a felony conviction, which is a good outcome in a lot of cases.
Community Service is a Typical Component of a Diversionary Program or Probation
Interviewer: So with these probation or diversionary programs, would community service ever be imposed?
Kevin Roach: A lot of times when they grant, the court grants probation, a lot of times there will be community service as well. You see that routinely, the prosecutor will have community service or sometimes they will have you pay a fine, pay a monetary amount to a charitable organization in lieu of community service. You see that a lot in St. Louis County where the prosecutors will put community service on a lot of common criminal offences like DWIs and stealing and possession charges. They like community service in there.
Community Service May Be Utilized as a Bargaining Chip by a Defense Attorney
A lot of times you can negotiate with the prosecutor, for instance they may want your client to do 30 days in jail or something and you use the community service as a bargaining chip. Instead of locking him up and have him lose his job, why don't you give him the opportunity to do some good for the community, do a couple hundred hours of community service or something. It's kind of a win-win, your client stays out of jail and it does good for the community, so a lot of times you use it as a bargaining chip.
Kevin J. roach is a St. Louis DWI defense attorney who has defended thousands of DWI and DUI cases in the St. Louis Metro area. Call us today at (636) 519-0085 or (866) 519-0085 for your Free Consultation!