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Stealing at Christmas

Every year in Northern Kentucky many shoppers are arrested for theft and shoplifting charges throughout the area. This increases exponentially during the Christmas and holiday shopping season. The reason is obvious, there are more people shopping with the added pressure of getting everyone a gift, often one that they cannot afford. Most stores both at the malls as well as the independent locations beef up security to try to curb shoplifting. In Boone and Kenton counties, a noted increase in arrests is found at Macy's, WalMart, Sears, JC Pennys, and Dillards. The person arrested is often a housewife without a criminal history who has put herself in a precarious predicament. The embarrassment is often worse than the punishment which may be doled out by a court. A common refrain heard was, "I had enough money to pay for the item in my purse." Unfortunately, this does little good after you are already nabbed and charged with theft. Theft in Kentucky for misdemeanor (less than $500), is punishable with a $250 fine and/or up to 12 months in jail. First time offenders may have other options available, depending on the county, the charge and the severity of the offense. Often diversion may be available which enables the defendant to have the case dismissed and ultimately expunged from their record. Neither diversion nor expungement are automatic. The prosecutor has to agree and the judge must approve a diversion program. The program often consists of community service and theft related education. There is also a fee for the diversion, generally $100. If diversion is successful, the case is generally dismissed at the end of the diversion period. A attorney can assist a defendant and may persuade a prosecutor to make an offer. The attorney can also follow up with the filing of expungement paperwork. Even if the case is dismissed, expungment is not automatic... a filing must be made together with a criminal background check. Also, most courts require the physical appearance of either the defendant or an attorney for the expungement to be final. If you have questions or have been arrested, contact an attorney. For a free consultation regarding charges in Boone, Campbell, Kenton or Hamilton County, contact Michael Bouldin at [email protected] or call 581-MIKE, 859-581-6453 to schedule an appointment.

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