Speak Up! - View Question #218
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Question: If you are charged by police with a misdemeanor for petty theft (1st time offense, good student), is there a chance the judge will drop the charge?
Answer: First of all, one should be clear on what judges can and cannot do. A judge will hear evidence and then decide whether to dismiss the case or not. A judge does not have the power to drop the charge. Only the Prosecutor can decide to drop the charge.
Whether or not a judge decides to dismiss the case depends on the facts of the situation, not whether it is a minor or major offense, and not based on whether it is the person's first offense or not.
Being the first offense will however, certainly have influence on the sentencing phase of the case. Also being a good student will have weight when the judge decides the appropriate punishment for the petty theft.
However, only the facts of the particular case and whether there were any victims and money to be paid to compensate the victim will determine whether a judge dismisses the petty theft case.