My question involves criminal law for the state of: Missouri
What do I need to do about my recent shoplifting arrest?
Today I was arrested for shoplifting at my local Missouri Wal-Mart. This was my first offense of any kind, I've never been in any sort of trouble with the law nor have I ever been caught shoplifting for a Wal-Mart before.
The Wal-Mart employees stated that because this was my first time shoplifting at a Wal-Mart that I will be able to return to their stores unless it happens again, in which case I will be removed from the premises (unless I misunderstood her, which is a concern I have. I don't want to be arrested for being at a Wal-Mart if I misunderstood her)
She also handed me a brief letter, saying that a Wal-Mart attorney would be in contact with me shortly in regards to 'civil damages'
The policeman wrote me a ticket and released me without taking me into custody. The ticket states I have a court date in September. The officer said I must show up for that date, which is fine, I can do that.
I am 19 years old, the items taken were an auxiliary cord for a car and a 'digital FM transmitter' (plugs into car and ipod to play music through the radio) I'm not entirely certain what the total cost of these items is, but I believe it to be right at or under 50$
My main concerns are as follows:
1- Can my University be contacted or notified by the police regarding my arrest?
2- Will I actually be allowed in Wal-Marts in the future?
3- Should I find a lawyer? I really cannot afford one, but I'm not certain how public defense works.
4- Will Wal-Mart take me to court? I really can't afford to go against a huge corporation.
5- What kind of punishment should I expect from the legal system? Fines, community service, jail time?
6- Is it possible to have this kind of offense expunged from your record, given enough effort and money after the sentence is served?
I know shoplifting is a really, really stupid thing to do, and I'll never do it again. I just don't know what to do and can't go to my parents. Any previous experience or answers to my questions or legal advice would be so greatly appreciated.