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I was charged with theft as a third degree misdemeanor and have a court date in a couple of weeks. I was charged by the police as stealing from the company I work for. I was wondering if I need to talk to an attorney, or if I just appear at my court date what will happen. This is my first offense, I feel terrible, had the intentions of bringing the items back and just leaving them in the store, and am willing to enroll in corrective classes, pay a fine, do community service, etc. I am wondering if there is any way I could get the charges dismissed since I would be willing to do all of this and have an otherwise clean background. I am just in a panic about this because I wasn't thinking when it happened (it was a few times that I took things) and was caught in an emotional panic stemmed from family issues pertaining to abuse. When my head cleared I had wanted to return the items; I had left the tickets attached and hadn't even used any of the items. Is it likely that with the circumstances I could get the charges dismissed and stay on probation, or that the charges would be erased from my criminal history?
Also, I think that when I was charged with the crime the company's security was guilty of violating some of my rights. They told me that what I said was strictly for the company and that it would not turn into a legal issue-that if they were going to contact the police it would have been done already. However, once I talked to the security officer about what had happened they had me make a written statement and then called the police. Also, I am barely eighteen (three months since my birthday) and am still in high school, and asked if I could have my mother or someone else come in during the incident. They told me it wasn't necessary, but when I proceeded to say that if it was going to turn into a legal matter I felt I should have someone, they acted like it was a ridiculous and unnecessary request so I didn't persue it. Do I contact an attorney about their conduct during the incident?
Also, I'm wondering if this will effect my future education. Will colleges and scholarship opportunites be effected by this?
I just would really appreciate any advise over this matter. It happened in Washington state, and I really want to do whatever I can to keep a clean record and make changes in my life so that one dark, weak time in my life won't haunt the rest of it. Thanks for any help I can get.