I am 18 and was recently caught shoplifting in a large department store. I was charged with a petty theft misdemeanor and have already paid the civil demand notice for $395. I am trying to get a diversion program. I have read on a few legal message boards that if I plead not guilty, they will appoint me to a Public Defender and they can help get me into a diversion program, but if i plead guilty, there is no chance of a diversion program and I will have to pay the fine, or do community service without the option of a diversion. Is this true? Also, because my parents have decided not to help me, but have claimed me as dependent, will their income be counted when I ask for a public defender? Or will I be able to get a PD because I am 18 and my parents incomes will not be counted?