My question involves criminal law for the state of: New York
I got caught shoplifting at Urban Outfitters. It was my first time getting in trouble with the law for anything. My record is clean. The total amount of the 3 items I attempted to steal were worth $84. I signed a trespassing form stating that I was not allowed into Urban Outfitters and any of the other 3 stores affiliated with Urban Outfitters. I've been reading a lot of threads on this forum and it seems that a lot of people in the same situation had to sign a form informing them of a civil fine that they will be receiving in the mail. I did not sign such a form. Will I still receive a civil fine? If the possibility is there, how can I find out for sure if they are sending one? Can I call Urban Outfitters and ask? If not Urban Outfitters, then who? I really need to know about this civil fine and feel i should not be kept in the dark about whether or not I am getting one for up to two months (or more).
Regarding an attorney, it seems the only advice experienced forumers have to give is "get an attorney". However, I am a college student, I am absolutely NOT telling my parents about this and will go to any lengths possible to have them not find out, and am unemplyed. I definitely can not afford an attorney. Would taking advantage of the free consultations a lot of them offer be enough? If I plead "not guilty" am I guaranteed a public defendant? Will a public defendant in the State of New York be free? It seems that a public defendant isn't always free (which seems to be an oxymoron).
Shoplifting was a mistake that I will absolutely pay for and SHOULD pay for. However, a criminal record for such an offense seems like overkill especially since it was my first and DEFINITELY my last time. Just the humiliation of getting arrested was enough to knock sense into me....and having to pay fines and going to court definitely sealed the deal. If I do get a public defender what are the chances of him negotiating an ACD with the judge? What are the chances of this not going on my record at all? Keeping my record clean is my number one concern.