I was arrested for petty theft (under $400) from Target. The security staff had caught me and then called the police. I am working in public accounting, and this is my first time committing this. I am located in California and my court hearing will be in San Francisco.
The officer said that it will be a misdemeanor, and that hiring a lawyer probably won't help me, but I was wondering if this was true or not. I am truly sorry for what I did - I regret it and am ashamed of myself and my stupidity, and am so scared. I am worried about the consequences - 1. jail time, 2. probation, 3. maintaining employment, 4. lawyer fees, and 5. how this will affect my record (and if a misdemeanor is permanent on record). Would I have a public defender for a misdemeanor? I am willing to do thousands of hours of community service, whatever it takes to get the lessen sentence. I'm not really sure if San Francisco has any diversion programs, and not sure on where to look.
I am truly sorry and would be grateful for any help with this.