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If this is your first criminal charge, this should be fairly simple. But do not take this lightly. You have been accused of a theft crime and it can cause you problems in getting jobs or even getting into professional or graduate schools.
In most cases, they have a diversion program where you pay the damages, a fine, do community service and take a class and once you have completed all of the requirements without committing another crime, the charges are dropped and all you have is an arrest record.
You really need a lawyer to represent you on this, and if you cannot afford one, you may qualify for a public defender, but your income must be very low.
Since you were 17 you may qualify as a juvenile, however, they may charge you as an adult. You or your attorney can request that you be charged as a juvenile, however, it may mean that you have to spend some time in a juvenile detention center. The good thing about being charged as a juvenile is that your record is sealed. This is something to discuss with your lawyer or public defender.
When you go for your hearing on the 13th, make sure you either have a lawyer with you or your request a public defender. You could call the number on your citation or release papers for the clerk of court and ask now for a public defender.
When you go to court, please dress appropriately. I cannot stress how important this is. Do not wear jeans, t-shirts or revealing clothing or clothing that is tight. Dress as if you are going to a funeral is a good example. You must show respect for the Court.
I wish you the very best.
Thank you again for trusting us with your problem. Good luck and Godspeed.
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