What you paid is the civil shoplifting recovery penalty, this has nothing to do with the criminal
case. The good news is that it is a misdemeanor
and not a felony and it is a first offense, both of which mean that the prosecution has much more leeway in making a deal with you. If you do not have an attorney yet and cannot afford one, you are entitled to one by law. On this court appearance all you will do is plead not guilty and then you would ask for a conference with the prosecutor (many prosecutors will not talk directly to a defendant because anything you tell them can be used against you in court, so this is why you may need an attorney but try it out on the first appearance). Ask the prosecutor if they will give a dismissal or deferred sentence
with a dismissal, since it is your first offense. What that means is you do some community service and/or pay a fine and get probation for a year and at the end if you have no other arrests for anything they will dismiss the case and you can get it expunged. If the prosecutor will not deal with you, then you need to get an attorney for your return to negotiate a deal.
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