This week I suffered a serious lack of judgment and attempted to shoplift about $40 worth of merchandise from a craft store. I am getting married in less than 4 weeks, but there is so much unique stress and pressure on myself, my current job situation, my long distance relationship with my fiancé, my family, and my finances-- I was feeling helpless and I made a very stupid move. I have no prior criminal record
, and have never been in trouble beyond a few speeding tickets (due to the many hours of the road to see my fiancé over the last 4 years). I have a court
date set for a week from today, and I have a few questions about what is happening, and what to do.
1) What is the court in session to determine? Is it my sentencing? The officer at the scene said I was going to court to "tell the judge why I did it". The officer asked me the same question, but I was so shaken I could hardly squeak out an answer. I can tell the judge my poor thought process that lead to my actions, but I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses. There are 3 main issues that have been plaguing me, the pressure finally was crushing me and I lost my sound reasoning in that moment. Should I attempt to explain these issues to the judge? I'll explain in more detail here, if it would be helpful.
2) Will my employer be notified of the charges? I can't find anything specific for the state of Iowa. The reason I don't live near my fiancé is because I'm working very hard to create a good career, and this is the best job I could get in Iowa, with a possibly future in the same city as my fiancé. I know my performance has been lacking as the wedding draws near. My employer and I have disused a refocus being made on both of our parts after the wedding, but I shutter to think what my employer would think / do if they knew what I did.
3) What can I do to improve my situation? I was reading about an Iowa Online Petty Theft
class. It says taking the class before my court date can show the judge I am taking the charges seriously. I, of course, don't want to go to jail, and I'd like to minimize the monetary changes as much as possible, since being broke is one of the reasons that lead to my actions. That also makes if difficult for me to be able to hire a lawyer... Is there anything else I can do to help myself besides this class, and being very respectful and apologetic for my crime in court? (Also,this class is $70, so I would like to know if it would help me at all to spend the money). Are there any lawyers that would defend me for la minimal fee?
Those are my big questions right now.... I really appreciate any information! I'm so out of sorts with the wedding in a few weeks and now I've put myself in this position. Im so embarrassed and ashamed, I don't know who else to talk to. Thank you in advance for your help!