It isn't uncommon for some people to commit crimes in the spur of the moment, such as due to being under stress for a financial situation. For instance, being in a store with no one paying attention to what you are doing can lead to a desperate act of stealing valuable merchandise, even if it is out of character for you. If you feel embarrassed about committing such a crime and now have to face legal charges, it doesn't mean that you have to fear what you are sentenced with. Being that this is your first time committing such a crime, there is the possibility that you will be given a sentence that is light and easy to cope with. The best way to increase your chance of getting a lighter sentence is with the assistance of a criminal defense attorney, as you will learn below.
Crimes You Committed in the Past
Be ready to explain to an attorney any crimes that you have committed in the past, because past crimes can actually have an impact on the overall outcome of your current case. Basically, a judge can get a good idea of whether or not you made a simple mistake, or if you are likely to commit another crime in the future based on your criminal history. If you don't have any crimes on your record, it will likely lead to you not being sentenced to the maximum extent. An attorney might even be able to get the current incident removed from your criminal record altogether.
Taking Responsibility for Your Actions
Your willingness to take responsibility for the crime that was committed will go a long way in court. For instance, an attorney might ask you to admit your guilt in an effort to get your sentenced reduced. It is called making a plea deal when you admit guilt for a crime, and an attorney knows the exact deal to make that a judge is likely to accept. A plea deal isn't meant to help you get away with committing the crime, but to serve a sentence that might not include spending time in jail, such as serving the sentence in other ways.
Abiding by the Rules of Your Sentence
Keep in mind that you must abide by the rules of your sentence if you don't want to end up in more legal trouble. If your sentence requires doing community service, you must participate no matter how unimportant you think it is. If you make a mistake in regards to your sentence, contact an attorney as soon as possible and he or she will explain how to get back on track.