First, please do not post any more specific facts in a public forum like this. Second, go for a consultation with a qualified experienced criminal defense attorney or two in your area. Learn your options and get fee quotes. Generally, at the first court date, the Court will ask if you are going to hire an attorney. while most likely punishment won't be severe, this is the kind of charge (especially with a conviction) that can follow you for a long time and have impact on future employment opportunities. Talk to an attorney. Good luck
You should retain an attorney to advise you and represent you in court. The attorney you hire will explain everything to you. Put down your keyboard and get into an attorney's office. An experienced criminal defense attorney's office. Best of luck to you.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney--San Diego County--Free Consultations.
When you go to court, the judge will ask you to either plead guilty or not guilty. If you plead guilty, the judge will sentence you. If you plead not guilty, the judge will set your case for trial and you will have to decide whether to represent yourself or hire an attorney. I strongly recommend that you hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you. Your attorney may be able to get the charge reduced to a lesser offense, without your having to appear in court at all. The outcome of your case depends on the skill and experience of your lawyer, which court your case is in, the specific details of your case, and your criminal history. Maximum potential penalty in Missouri for misdemeanor stealing is 1 year in prison and a $1,000 fine. (If this is being prosecuted in municipal court, the maximum penalty is $500 fine & 6 months in jail.)
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It is unclear exactly which court you are in, but if it is Independence Municipal, then you will appear in front of either Judge Helm of Watkins. They always ask you to plead, "Guilty, Not Guilty, or Continuance."
If you plead guilty, the judge will sentence you. If you plead not guilty, they will probably tell you that you should get a lawyer and if you decline, set the case for trial. If you ask for a continuance, the court will continue the case on the first setting for roughly one month to six weeks.
You should get a lawyer, you might even be able to keep this off of your record.