Cook County has available a “theft school” for a person who is charged with Retail Theft.
A person is not automatically entitled to attend theft school. Theft school is a disposition that is negotiated by your attorney. If your attorney is able to come to an agreement with the prosecutor (state prosecutor or city prosecutor) that you will be given an opportunity to attend and complete theft school, then the case will be continued for a period of approximately 3 months to allow you time to attend the theft school.
Factors such as circumstances of the present criminal charge, any prior criminal charges, and other background details will all be factors to determine if theft school will be a possibility.
Once you have completed the theft school, you return to court with your attorney and the prosecutor will dismiss the case without you having to plead guilty or pay any fine.
Theft school is a great opportunity because you do not admit you did anything wrong, you do not have to pay a fine and there is no record of a conviction that could prevent you from getting a job or attending a school.
As an attorney, if a prosecutor will not offer theft school, I usually continue the case to keep working on the prosecutor.