Criminal cases can have lifetime consequences. It's always wise to have a lawyer. If you don't know all your rights and everything that could and/or should be available to you, you may end up making an unwise decision for yourself and end up with a criminal record
This is a class 1 misdemeanor
in North Carolina, the fine for which is in the discretion of the court. The fine for a class 2 NC misdemeanor maxes out at $1,000. But I don't see that it would be that high.
I've already referred to the procedures that could be possible. Best case scenario is a special form of probation called a diversion or deferral. You pay fines, do community service, take an anti theft
class, comply with the rules that probation sets down for you and your case gets dismissed at the end.
Worst case would be a jail sentence
, but that's highly unlikely. The actual worst case would probably be probation without any dismissal of the charge.
You should have a lawyer to negotiate something for you, because many prosecutors will not bargain with an unrepresented defendant. But generally, a diversion disposition could be arranged for at pre-trial
by your lawyer. If you cannot afford an attorney you can plead not guilty when the judge first asks how you plead and then ask the court to appoint you a public defender.