4 Comments Criminal law, traffic matters, DUI, assault, theft, fraud
First lesson, do not take you legal advice from a police officer.
Read this and then decide what you should do.
My belief is that you should be represented in court, with a view of trying to achieve a 'no conviction recorded' outcome.
It may well cost you far more than the solicitors fee in lost job opportunities by having the stigma of a conviction hanging over you.
40+ years of working life post graduation is at risk here for both of you. Get a solicitor - beg family etc to help pay - and do your best for a no conviction. To put this in perspective - right now the biggest money employers are the mining companies - they won't give you a clearance for most projects without a criminal clearance.
You need a good lawyer fast - someone who will ask you all the relevant questions and present your case in the best possible light.
Reading through your initial post there's no realistic mitigation at all apart from the fact that the offence was impulsive rather than planned. You must have had the money to pay for the goods if you took them to the checkout and then formed the intention to try your luck. I note too that the decision to do so was a joint one and the subject of some discussion at the self checkout.
As for all your noble plans for the future, I'm afraid its all too common for people to get charged with criminal offences and then suddenly decide that they want to join the defence forces, work with children from abusive homes or undertake other socially worthwhile pursuits. If either or both of you have taken any steps in your stated directions prior to the offending, have the evidence ready. You might also like to check whether convictions would really stop you doing these things because courts hear these things constantly.
Shop stealing is a criminal offence.