The wallet had just a SS card in it, my son had just found it under his seat when he went to clean his car. He had given a ride to a friend of his friends parents back in April, only knew the boys first name. He was in town with the friends parents. They took him out to see the city. He called later that night and asked if my son saw the wallet. He did not find it. Must have stuffed way under the seat. The boy said no big deal. My son had just found it now 2 months later, and had put it in the console where the police found it. The boy travels and cannot be found. The parents friend of the boy can also not find him. The man who had the boy with him, recalls the incident and will attest (sign a paper, etc) of what happened.
This story if can be proven should help your son's case. But, saying something is true and proving something is true is a completely different ball game. A letter will not be enough, especially if the case goes to trial. But, if the boys parents are willing to help, you may have some luck.
You should definitely contact a criminal defense attorney to see what if anything can be done about this case.
Penal Code 485 (theft of lost property) can be prosecuted just as a regular theft offense. The goal should be, if at all possible, to avoid a conviction through whatever means available.
That code section requires a person to appropriate the property for his own use without making reasonable steps to find the true owner and return the property. If he was just holding that wallet to return it to his traveling friend, that can potentially be a defense to this charge.
This is all assuming that that social security number hasn't been used for any fraudulent activity that could complicate this situation.
If the DA's office files charges (I'm not sure they will - this all depends on how the police report reads, the circumstances of the original loss/theft of the wallet, etc.), then your son will absolutely need an attorney. There may be factual defenses like I discussed above or legal defenses (search or Miranda issues). If not, then there still may be a way to work this out without a lasting theft conviction on his record.
Your son should NOT discuss this situation with anyone except his attorney. Nothing to the police or his friends. No Facebook posts, text messages, emails, etc. If they don't have a case against him now, why help them make a case by making statements that could be used against him?
The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case.
It sounds like your son has a viable defense, assuming it can be presented in a coherent and believable manner to the D.A. D.A.'s are inherently skeptical of stories presented to them, especially one as involved as this.
I am sure there are more facts connected to this case that you couldn't possibly fit in a question here. Perhaps there are phone records of the friend calling our son after your son dropped him off? If so, that would back up your son's story somewhat. If the parents confirm that they cannot find their son, that may also corroborate your son's explanation of what happened. You state there is a man who was privy to the incident and is willing to sign a statement as to what happened. While this alone is not a complete defense to the 485 charge, it will certainly benefit your son, along with the other facts mentioned.
Why was your son pulled over in the first place? An attorney would be able to review the case and determine whether or not the police had the right to pull him over or detain him. A motion to suppress may be raised, during which the defense could argue that the police violated your son's 4th amendment rights to search and seizure. If granted in your son's favor, the evidence would be suppressed, which means the case would be dismissed.
As you can see, there are many unknown factors that will influence the outcome of this case. The best thing you can do is consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to provide the full picture. You will then receive a proper evaluation of your son's case and make a more informed decision as to how to proceed.
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