My question involves criminal law for the state of: Iowa
I received a first time offense today for shoplifting at a Gordmans in Iowa (but my current address is in South Dakota, I live less than 45 miles from where the incident occurred). I won't waste you time explaining what drove me to do it because it was wrong and and I know excuses don't matter. But can somebody PLEASE help me regain my potential for my hopeful future?
I stole about $22 in merchandise and as I walked out of the store and a loss prevention employee stopped me and asked me to come back to a private room - she also had another Gordmans employee be present in the room with us. She asked me if I knew what I did wrong and I told her I did and I was compliant and told her that I stole merchandise from the store and handed it over. She asked to search my purse and I allowed her to and there were no other stolen items in it or on my person. I had gone to the store with a friend (who was waiting outside the store) and my friend needed to leave or she would be late for work (but I had her car keys) so I asked the employee if I could go give my keys to my friend, the employee told me 'no' but allowed me to give the car keys to another gordmans employee to deliver to my friend. The employee then wrote a report and waited for a policeman to arrive.
A police officer came and asked what I had done, I told him exactly what happened, he then asked some basic personal information questions and then put me into handcuffs. As he put me into handcuffs he did not say I was "arrested" or anything like it - he just asked me to stand up and put the cuffs on me. He then told me he would take me to the police station where I would be detained for the night unless I or someone else posted my bail. He took me out of the store in handcuffs and drove me to the police station where I was booked, had to change into an orange jumpsuit, and they kept my personal belongings. I overheard one of the police officer behind the glass say to another that I was charged with 5th degree theft but nobody told ME that. I was allowed to make 1 phone call, I called my boyfriend to come bail me out and take me home. While I was waiting I was detained in a single-cell. When my boyfriend posted my bail I was released and an officer told me my court date (5/26/10, 9am) but did not give me a ticket or any kind of paperwork/information he also did not tell me where I needed to go for court. Is this right? Shouldn't I have received a ticket or something on paper?
Anyway, so I'd just appreciate knowing if anyone thinks there is anything suspicious about the process I went through. For example that I asked to leave the room to hand my friend her car keys and they told me to stay there while someone else did it - or that I didn't get any kind of paperwork/ticket at all from the police..
Also, how do I go about obtaining a defense attorney for my court date? Do I do that when I show up for court?? Also can I likely get a deferred judgement for a diversion program? What can I do to avoid prosecution/keep this off my record, expungement, etc??
What, if anything, can I do to help my case - I am applying for graduate school and would like to have a professional job some day.. I am terrified and in one careless moment I have just ruined my chances of obtaining my hoped-for processional career.
I know what I did was unlawful and just plain stupid and I regret it wholly, but thanks so much for any advise.