My question involves criminal law for the state of: Indiana
Was caught shoplifting at K**** was detained by LP and police were called. I was not "arrested" and was let go but was told I would receive a court summons in the mail and a bill for the merchandise (which I assume is a civil demand) The value of the merchandise was around $100-300 After reading and many many forums, articles, this is what I know so far.
1. The department store is charging me and filing a report. (because they are sending me a court summons letter in the mail) Is this correct?
Does this mean it will go on my record?
2. The civil demand, if I do receive one should I pay it? I'm a student and budget is really tight. There's really no way I would be able to pay the amount they are going to say without asking my parents for the money. (Which I would like to avoid)
3. I cannot afford a lawyer, am I eligible to request a public defender? I've read that hiring a lawyer shows you knew your mistake was serious and that you care, also read having parents show up is good (however isn't this just for minor under 18 years of age?)
4. What exactly happens at a court summons? Is it like a trial where you plead guilty or not guilty?
5. In the LP office I admitted to stealing, how will this affect the court case? Should I plead not guilty or guilty then? My county has a diversion program, and its requirements are that your record is clean. This is my first offense. My record is clean. However is it the judge that decides whether or not the result of the case be a diversion program?
I need help. I know I made a grave mistake, and I don't want this to affect my future career and educational opportunities.
Thanks all for your time and help.