Potential Loss of TSC After Dismissed Court Case?

I Hope this is the right place for this. I tried Reddit and received mostly rude responses - no surprise there.

Can add details if needed for I was arrested for shoplifting. I was accused of not ringing up 3-4 items valued under 5 dollars each at a self check-out kiosk. (I had maybe 40-50 items total in cart) It was an accident / carelessness. I was asked for my ID. Figuring this was simply procedure to ensure it’s not a theme with any individual, I did so assuming it would be copied and I will pay for the missing items and be on my way. Instead, I was asked to follow the manager and was arrested. Footage didn’t show me being sneaky or anything, but “we see this tactic all the time, how long have you been shoplifting?” …i’m sorry, what?

Arrested, detained, and horrified. Bailed hot, hired a lawyer to advised me to not try to go to trial as the judge favors retail establishments no matter if there is lack of evidence or not, etc. I was uncomfortable with that because I wanted to plead not guilty, but I agreed to have the case dismissed by prosecution. Supposedly, my record is being expunged.

I know I don’t have to disclose this experience to average employers. (currently prior service, earning PHD, working retail on base) but I am also aware that for future job opportunities requiring TSC or to investigators I SHOULD disclose this awful, embarrassing experience.

My question is: Is all hope lost for me? Is this a game over for my aspirations of working for the NSA? I won’t have a catastrophic meltdown if that’s the case. It will hurt, but I’ll press on of course.

for reference: honorable discharge, linguist, no prior record at all

Yes . . . You have an issue. No . . . All hope is not lost . . .

I understand your desire to fight it out but you need to know the risk. You’re not going to get jail time but a conviction will make this harder when you go for your clearance. Your best bet might be to get a diversion program that will not require you to plead guilty. If you don’t plead guilty, you will be able to present your side in order to mitigate the issue during your future investigation. If you plead guilty, even to a lesser crime, they may not consider that you didn’t actually do the crime.

In the long run, some community service and counseling will not hurt too much.

Hey! Thank you! That was the end result. I showed up to court with an already prepared “shoplifting course certificate” I took online, and the prosecutor dismissed the case. Nothing else happened, no probation period, etc. I am just so worried about how this will look during future investigations.