Misdemeanor, theft by taking, first offense what to do now?
4 attorney answers
The answer to your first question about what to do now: Try to get another job. It may be a bit difficult as your previous employer is unlikely to give you a good reference due to the theft charge.
As far as what to expect, in my opinion, jail time is highly unlikely. Unless you have a trial and win, expect an offer of twelve-months probation, community service and a fine. If you can't afford an attorney, you may qualify for a public defender to represent you. They'll tell you whether there are any defenses you can raise to fight these charges. They'll also make sure the terms of your probated sentence are reasonable.
Even though this is just a misdemeanor case, you definitely don't want this on your criminal record. Theft is one of those "crimes of moral turpitude." If you ever testify in court having plead guilty or after having been found guilty, your testimony can be disbelieved due to the theft on your record. There are exceptions, but I'm painting with broad strokes here just to give you a heads up of what to look out for.
If I were your lawyer, I'd be negotiating a pretrial diversion-type sentence, if possible. With that, your charges may ultimately be dismissed if you complete some "rehabilitative" program. Make sure your lawyer asks about this option in your case. An expungement of your arrest might also be possible using this type of program.
OK, lastly, assuming you did steal these items, learn from your mistake and move on. This is not the end of your life. You screwed up, but you still, presumably, have a lot more of life to live. I wish you luck with your case.!
The information I've provided was general in nature and should not be relied upon in your particular situation. Much more detailed information is required before I can provide you with my advice on how, exactly, you should proceed. My responding to your inquiry does not constitute, in any way, an attorney-client agreement or relationship.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for the shoplifting diversion program. That program requires the payment of a fine, community service, and completion of a shoplifting course. Upon completion of those requirements, the charges against you will be dropped and you will be able to avoid a conviction altogether. However, you need an attorney to determine if you are eligible. You are entitled to an attorney even if you can't afford one. You can contact your local public defender's office now to get the ball rolling, or when you go to your first court appearance make it known that you want an attorney.
If you can not afford to hire an attorney, ask the court to appoint you one, however, you do need an attorney.
If you cannot afford to hire an attorney make sure you ask for a public defender when you have court. You are most likely looking at probation if you don't have a criminal record. That will include reporting to probation, paying fines and fees and possibly community service. If you want to go to trial on the case you have that option as well. Keep in mind that this is a theft offense and will impact your ability to find employment. You may want to see if they offer any diversion classes to avoid conviction. A diversion program would be the best case scenario in resolving your case.