Theft offenses become more serious, depending on the value of the items taken. The kind of crime you're describing (third degree felony) may be eligible for entry into a Pretrial Intervention program (PTI). There are a number of factors that affect eligibility, including existence of prior record. If this person is unable to hire an attorney, the Office of the Public Defender will be appointed and an attorney there can advise whether this person is eligible for diversion. If the person is not eligible for PTI, these types of crimes are punishable by penalties ranging from probation to prison, with probation being more likely if the person has very little criminal history.
The outcome will depend on the circumstances surrounding the arrest, as well as how strong of a case the State Attorney has. If a Defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney, a public defender will be appointed if a Defendant meet is found to be indigent. The small prior record will likely help with a more favorable outcome, but it is difficult to truly evaluate the outcome without doing a full consultation.