First - take a breath.
Through any and all factual defenses, legal defenses and other means, your goal is to avoid a conviction, not just avoid jail time. Your good background will absolutely come into play here. Aside from your background, when you say this was at Macy's, that tells me their investigation is probably flawed. Macy's personnel routinely violate the law during their investigations. Without discussing this further with you, I can't say for sure they did in your case, but I have my suspicions.
Bottom line - you have time to work with your lawyer and get started on the path to fixing this. Let me know if you'd like to discuss it further.
The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case.
You need to hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you ASAP. This is a public website, your comments are not privileged here. Remove them. Get counsel.
I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this response on the avvo website. I have not been retained to represent you. I am licensed to practice law in Kentucky and in federal court in this state and the Southern District of Indiana. You need to seek legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your area..
You and your family need to retain a lawyer. Depending on your career goals, this may impact your life dramatically. Interview a few lawyers and pick the one you are most comfortable with. Many of us offer free consultations.
As a first offense, and you're young and work hard at school, a good lawyer in the OC can get this problem solved for you. I and most AVVO contributors offer a free consultation.
Contributions on AVVO.com in no way create an attorney-client relationship nor are they intended to be relied upon as a course of action without having first consulted directly with an attorney, where the specific facts and circumstances of your case can be fully discussed.
You should really speak to an attorney about this. You have a ton of options and you don't want to ruin your future by making a mistake and pleading guilty. Feel free to call me with any questions.
This is not the end of the world for you. You made a mistake. My office is in Fullerton, very close to you and would be happy to discuss this matter with you.