I am 19 years old. I stole a wallet from someone !I work with, I got caught. It was a huge mistake. I feel horrible that I did something so badly. I returned the wallet with everything in tact. The police gave me a citation for court. I have never been to court as I've never been in trouble before. I'm not sure how court really works. I don't make very much, Therefore I cannot afford an attorney. On my court date, how would I go about getting a public defender? I am hoping to try to stay out of jail, that's my main goal. I know I am guilty and I should be charged but I don't want to go to jail. Returning and apologizing to the lady I stole from made me learn my lesson and I will never steal again. On my court date do I plead guilty? As I am. Or not guilty to try to lessen the charge. :/
I would suggest consulting with a criminal defense attorney in your area. A theft conviction is not one you want on your record, especially at 19 because it could screw up anything from future job opportunities to housing. An attorney can help you explore your options for keeping it off of your record or help you negotiate a lesser charge that will not be so damaging. If you wish to pursue the public defender route, you can ask the court on the day of your first appearance for a public defender.
I don't believe you will be going to jail, but that should be the least of your worries. You need to minimize the impact this will have on your future. The smart thing to do now is to find a way to retain an attorney to represent your interests and attain the maximum result for your future.
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A theft offense can be very serious.
A theft with a value under $500 is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail. A theft with a value between $500 and $1000 is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, and a theft with a value over $1000 is a felony with penalties that can result in prison time.
The collateral consequences of any theft can often be as serious as the criminal penalties offering a lifetime of frustration which can impact employment, renting apartments, entrance in to post-secondary education and anything that requires a background check. Accordingly, a strong defense is necessary.
If you have n prior offense, a from of community diversion may be available which keeps the offense off of your record and preserves your future.
Many lawyers offer free consultations for criminal matters. You would be wise to take advantage of such a consultation with an experienced attorney.
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At time of your first appearance, you will be arraigned and appointed a public defender if your income is low enough.
most of the time, a fist offender receives a trespass charge. You will have to do a shop life's class and pay a fine. Even if you don't get a reduction, you can get your conviction expunged after completion of your probationary term.
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