IS A LESSER INCLUDED OF THEFT WORTH IT?
A lesser included offense is lesser crime whose elements are encompassed by a greater crime. A lesser included offense shares some, but not all, of the elements of a greater criminal offense. Therefore, the greater offense cannot be committed without also committing the lesser offense. For example, Aggravated Assault is a lesser included offense of Murder.
The level of offense for a theft case is determined by the value of the property stolen. Anything above $50 but less than $1,500 will land a defendant in County Court with either a Class A or Class B Misdemeanor. Most of these cases are shoplifting cases which often times committed by teenagers or young adults. Anything under $50 is a Class C Theft filed in either a Municipal Court or Justice of the Peace Court.
Often times shoplifting cases involve property whose value is not much more than fifty dollars. In such cases it is typical for a prosecutor to offer a reduction to the lesser included theft, a Class C. The thinking is that a Class C offense is better because it is a lower level of crime than a Class B.
I would strongly disagree with this assessment. A theft is a theft. It is a crime of moral turpitude and can prevent you from many opportunities including employment and the ability to get an apartment.
If the case cannot be dismissed and you do not desire a trial, the best alternative would be to attempt to negotiate a Pretrial Diversion which can later be expunged. If you are not successful the least you should be willing to accept is a Deferred Adjudication so that you can have the opportunity to file a Petition for Nondisclosure upon completion of the Community Supervision. Don’t let a youthful mistake follow you around for the rest of your life.