Theft convictions as an adult can really come back to haunt you. If you want to try it alone, give it a shot. You can always ask the prosecutor/judge for the opportunity to get an attorney if you don't like the way the case is being handled.
In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.
I am not an Oregon lawyer, but I can tell you that when a family member of mine got arrested, we hired an attorney. I didn't even handle it myself. The short term cost far outweighs the long term risks.
Yes, you do. You may have the right to be appointed an attorney, at taxpayer expense, if you can't afford one; so, no excuses. Representing yourself in court is like doing surgery on yourself, with no medical training. It's not illegal, but it's incredibly stupid. If you ever want to have a job that involves handling money - which, you know, a lot of them do - then a theft conviction would be a serious problem for you.
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Yes, get an attorney. If you have to ask yourself or wonder if you should have one, it is likely that you do. You have nothing to lose by consulting/getting an attorney.
Nothing discussed should be taken as legal advice. Posting details of your case on an open forum could be used against you, so use extreme caution. The best way to get legal advice is to consult privately with an attorney.
You should at least consult with an attorney, then decide whether or not to retain one. Many people go through the initial criminal court process alone, then later on when something goes wrong (e.g. probation violation, new crime, job application) they wish they knew what they were getting in to. If you are appointed an attorney, you can at least know your rights and the consequences of entering a Diversion program, taking a plea, or going to trial.
A theft III in Oregon can carry a maximum punishment of 30 days in jail and a fine of $1,250.00. Although it is unlikely you would face a maximum term on a first conviction, you will almost always end up in a better position with qualified representation. You may even be able to avoid a criminal conviction all together. Definitely get an attorney to represent your interests.