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Your question is very important to me, but please remember that I can only respond to the information you provide and I do not know your entire situation. My response is limited to what you have written to me and the answer may change with additional facts.
Also, due to site reasons, there are times I am initially only able to see a portion of post, so I apologize in advance if it means that you have to duplicate information.
There may be future facts that are as yet undetermined in your matter, that can and must leave some areas of information provided by me broad in nature. However, don't hesitate to ask for clarification if needed! At times, there can also be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be helping other customers or taking a break. Now, let’s address your question!
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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Please remember that we have not created an attorney-client relationship, and that my post is not intended to be specific legal advice. The answers given are limited to the information you have provided in your post. For specific legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed in your state.
DISCLAIMER: Please understand that the complexities of most legal problems cannot be adequately addressed in this setting, and that I am only licensed to practice law in the states of Florida and Mississippi. Accordingly, you acknowledge (1) that we have not formed an attorney-client relationship, and (2) that my post is general information only and not specific legal advice.