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My son, who is 17, was arrested for a 1st shoplifting offense. Is there some type of program in VA to keep this off his record ?

Charlottesville, VA |

This is the 1st time he has ever been in any trouble of any kind. He is being punished at home and was brought up to be better than this. The value of the items was about $180.00, which I offered to pay the store, but they refused and want to make an example of my son. Are there any programs in VA to keep this out of the court room (such as a judification program, not sure if that is spelled right) and keep his punishment to a minimum, such as community service, etc. ? I want him to learn a lesson, but I don't want some retailer taking out their anger on an otherwise good kid who made a mistake. I would like to keep this 1st offense off of his record. If does anything this dumb again, he will have to face the consequences.

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Attorney answers 2


I have not practiced in Cville, but I have done a good amount of juvenile cases in Northern Virginia. Because he is a juvenile, this with be in the juvenile court. I know up here, there are some instances where the Commonwealths Attorney can choose to divert it to a non-court proceeding and order community service. For some reason, I cannot remember the exact name of that process (though it is on the tip of my tongue). However, that is unique to each circumstance, and again I am not sure if they have that program in Cville.

Nevertheless, because his case is in juvenile court, the Commonwealth has the ability to do a "deferred finding" in which he would acknowledge his guilt and the case would be continued for dimissal if he did everything right. If it is dismissed, he could also try to get an expungement.

Again, if this were in Northern Va, I imagine a Commonwealth would be willing to do this. But you need to get his attorney to confirm that with the Commonwealth.

However, if not permitted, it would be because he is almost 18 and the amount was close to the 200 necessary for a felony. You just need to speak with his attorney for more guidance.

James S. Abrenio

This answer does not create a attorney/client relationship, but is intended solely in the court of discussion. It is always my recommendation to retain an attorney whenever a court appearance is necessary. This recommendation is highlighted when it relates to an individual's criminal record.


I would agree with the previous respond that where I practice there are alternatives but each is unique to that particular Court. I have seem programs, namely Newport News, that have an ant- theft education. It is great because I have had the Commonwealth willing to immediately dismiss the case if the kids successfully complete the class. Other jurisdictions are different with some level of community service, but you must speak to an attorney in that area to find out what is available.

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