Theft, Receiving Stolen Property or if, as I suspect this occurred in a retail establishment, Retail Theft (i.e. shoplifting). Talk with local counsel qualified in the area of criminal defense without delay. One or more of the good ones who participate here will likely respond to your question soon. Reach out to them. Most will offer free, if limited, initial consultations. Take advantage of that and educate yourself while conducting interviews of candidates for the job of helping your son. Good luck to you both.
Retail theft, or shoplifting, can seem like a minor crime, but it’s not. Convictions for retail theft can have serious and lasting negative consequences. Depending on the value of the item stolen, shoplifting can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Convictions can result in fines and jail time. Additionally, retail theft is considered a “crime of moral turpitude,” which can negatively impact citizenship status. If you are arrested for retail theft, it’s important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend you.
With the help of an attorney, you should be able to work out this case for what we refer to as a deferred prosecution. With a deferred prosecution, you will take some form of action (community service, classes, etc.) in exchange for an eventual dismissal of the charges. An experienced attorney will know the options at your disposal depending on the jurisdiction where the charges are pending.
Due to the serious nature of these charges, it is imperative that you consult with an attorney. Most criminal defense firms, including ours, will give you a one time no charge consultation.
Law Offices of Matthew R Gebhardt, P.C.
555 Skokie Blvd.
Northbrook IL 60062
It's a class A misdemeanor and you should hire an attorney who can handle the retail theft charge and also the inevitable civil demand from the store's lawyers' that will surely follow. Most of us provide free consultations. www.galivanlaw.net
A 17 year old charged with a misdemeanor will either be prosecuted by the State in juvenile court, or the child may be prosecuted by the city in branch court.
In juvenile court it's probably court supervision, usual orders to include going to school, staying off drugs and away from gangs and dangerous weapons, and not leaving the State without permission. You may also have to perform community service, write an essay, and stay away from the store.
In branch court it's probably deferred prosecution where if you complete a course the charge gets dismissed; otherwise supervision, a fine, community service, stay away from the store.
This answer is provided for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Follow-up with a licensed attorney who regularly practices in this field is strongly recommended.