My question involves criminal law for the state of: NJ
My 16 year old son was arrested for shoplifting a $50 item in a NJ department store with a friend. Both were released and we were told we would get paperwork about court in about 3 weeks.
Although this is his first (and hopefully last) shoplifting offense, he has gotten in trouble in the last several months for spray painting a fence with some friends (needs some new friends, I guess) and entering an abandoned, bank owned home (trespassing). Since they were his first offenses, they were referred to a volunteer board in the Township instead of juvenile court.
Given his past offenses, he is now scared to death that he will go to "juvy" for this shoplifting charge. While I'm inclined to let him be scared for a bit so hopefully his stupidity sinks in, for my own sanity, I am wondering if that is a possible punishment for this shoplifting offense. I am sure we will get to pay some fines, but my son is a solid student who is active in school sports, but has just made some stupid choices lately. I wouldn't want those choices to ruin his life.
What can I expect his punishment to be for this offense. Forgot to mention, he paid his share of the fence repair in the previous offense, and had to do 12 hours community service for both offenses combines. He also had to write an essay on making choices, which was actually a very good essay, but apparently, he didn't take his own advice.
Please help. Do I need to get an attorney for this?