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How should we proceed with our son on informal probation and getting caught shoplifting

San Diego, CA |

My 17 year-old son is currently on informal probation due to a knife that was found in the glove compartment of his car on school grounds. He recently got arrested for stealing a $3 bottle of beer which was done on a dare by his peers. What will happend to his informal probation and because he does have a record how will this petty theft be handled? Can this be settled out of court? It is somewhat unfair, as he was not aware that the knife was even in his glove compartment (a friend put it in there and never removed it and wrote a letter attesting to it). He is following thru on informal probation orders, i.e. community service, classes, 8 p.m. curfew. Can we somehow not go to court and settle out of court? He was not yet served informal probation when this happened.

Also, when he was caught shoplifting he was thrown to the ground and his face was all cut up. He did go to the store manager the next day to apologize and the store manager wrote a nice letter for him so that his consequences may not be as severe.

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Attorney answers 2


It's too late to litigate the underlying case. He plead guilty and is on probation for it.

Being caught stealing is likely to result in a new case being filed against him as well as an allegation that he's in violation of his probation because of a new law violation.


Your son may have been placed on informal supervision without admitting the conduct in the old case. This means that it may not be too late to fight that old charge. In that case, your son will face charges in a new petition filed by the Distinct Attorney that will include charges relating to the old matter and charges relating to the new matter. On the other hand, if he was given informal probation after admitting the conduct in the old matter, he will now face disposition (sentencing) on the old case as well as charges relating to the new case. I know this sounds complicated, but without having access to the documents in his matter I cannot tell you specifically how this will play out.