My question involves criminal law for the state of: VA
Questions: What will the likely sentence be? Should I hire a lawyer? What should I plea?
Yesterday my friend and I were at Macy's and were caught stealing some cloths from Macy's. Neither of us had ever stolen before, but our friends had told s they had and it was easy and since we didn't have any money we decided to try it (obviously it was extremely stupid). My friend's total ended up being around $375 and mine was around $246. The police were called and we were charged with it as a felony since it was over $200. Some of the officers told us that 9/10 times the charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor and that 9/10 there won't be jail time involved. They also didn't seem to think it was necessary to get a lawyer. I was mainly wondering if this was true, if we should invest in a lawyer anyway, and also what we should plea. It's obvious that we were guilty, but I've read on near that it's always best to plead not guilty. Also what does it mean to plead "no contest"?