My question involves criminal law for the state of: Arizona
I am 18 years old and have a clean record before the arrest. So about last week, I was caught shoplifting at a local Wal Mart store for 9.98 worth of stuff. They escorted me to their surveillance room where they asked me a series of questions about what I had stolen and what were my intentions. I replied to them as honest as possible and police were called in, read me my Miranda Rights, and arrested me. At the police station, I was finger printed and issued a court date (the arraignment) in a months time. I was also forced to pay a civil restitution charge of around $260.
This event has made me question where my life is going, my parents taught me better than this. I did not take into account the consequences of my actions, and let simple greed get in the way of that. I know that I have to take into account the consequences of my actions from now on (I will pay the restitution fee and other reasonable court fees) and I hope for a second chance (of not getting a conviction). I am going to a university and it made me realize how stupid those choices were because I am going to school on scholarships. I jeopardized a lot of my future goals for doing this one stupid thing. I am beyond remorseful because everyday leading to this arraignment, its been on my mind 24/7. In my thoughts, I have realized how many people I have hurt by doing this one thing, the american people, my family, and me. I do not want to turn this into a sob story, but this is just how I am feeling at this moment.
Since my arrest and charge, I have been feverishly looking at threads (such as this one) about people who had committed shoplifting. I have also talked to about six or seven private attorneys via free consultations. What I found out was that I could be eligible for a diversion program, but after talking to private attorneys, they attempted to convince me that I could not attempt to get this on my own. Also, I may be eligible for a public defender, despite the fact that private attorneys tell me otherwise. I do not currently have a job and have no substantial income ($ that is in my savings). My questions to you guys are that:
1) what are the chances of me getting a diversion program for being a first time offender and minimal value of items were taken (9.98 worth of stuff) and achieving this on my own accords in court? What are the chances of leniency?
2) what are the chances of me getting a public defender at a minimum cost (<$400) with my current unemployment and minimal income? Do they look at how much money is in your savings?
3) if I were to hire a private attorney on my behalf, should I do it before the arraignment or after?