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.