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Thread: Shoplifting

  1. #1
    lisa521 is offline Junior Member
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    Shoplifting

    What is the name of your state? Indiana
    My 17 year old brother (will be 18 in Feb.) was recently found shoplifting a box of condoms from a K-mart. They handcuffed him in the store and brought him down to the jail. He didn't get fingerprinted or anything like that but they said to expect to be "served" papers in a couple of weeks. He has nothing on his record he has never gotten in trouble before. My couple of questions are A) What usually happens in this sort of procedure? and B)He was going to go to school to be a firefighter in the fall of 2008. Is this probably unlikely? If he has a criminal background check will this appear on it even though he's 17?

    Any information would be much appreciated.
    Thank you,
    LisaWhat is the name of your state?
  2. #2
    buggy119 is offline Junior Member
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    If it was a first offense he will likely only get community service.
    All juvenile records are sealed. Once he is 18, no charges from his childhood can be shown so when he goes to fire school, if they even check to see if he has been convicted of any crimes, nothing will show up.
  3. #3
    Ozark_Sophist is offline Senior Member
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    Who told your brother he was going to be served? If it was the police, it will be a criminal complaint. If it was loss prevention, it will be a civil claim/suit.
  4. #4
    garrula lingua is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by buggy119 View Post
    If it was a first offense he will likely only get community service.
    All juvenile records are sealed. Once he is 18, no charges from his childhood can be shown so when he goes to fire school, if they even check to see if he has been convicted of any crimes, nothing will show up.
    I bet any law enforcement job background check will see this conviction.
    It will probably appear on his rap sheet if he is convicted; a Prosecutor can see juvie records in CA - I can't believe an Indiana Prosecutor is less informed and a background checker has fewer tools.

    It's worth the $ to hire an atty who can negotiate with the Prosecutor.
    Many attys will get a laugh/feel sympathetic re what was stolen; most jurisdictions give a pass to 'necessities' (such as food stolen by homeless people); I'd rank this case with them.

    The conviction can prevent future employment in law enforcement (he can be charged with commercial burglary or petty larceny/theft).
    It's worth having an atty who can show his school records (if good) and plead for a dismissal or a reduction to a charge of an infraction given his prior unblemished record.

    Diversion may be offered in your jurisdiction, but it will likely be seen by LE background checkers.

    PS: Fingerprinting is frequently done by 'scanning' now & some people don't realize they have, indeed, been fingerprinted (& booked).

    Egad, I can hear Bubba asking him what he's in the joint for !!
  5. #5
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by garrula lingua View Post
    It's worth the $ to hire an atty who can negotiate with the Prosecutor.
    Many attys will get a laugh/feel sympathetic re what was stolen; most jurisdictions give a pass to 'necessities' (such as food stolen by homeless people); I'd rank this case with them.

    Sorry but I had to snicker when I saw that you are equating food for a homeless person to condoms for a horny teenager.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  6. #6
    Indiana Filer is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by buggy119 View Post
    If it was a first offense he will likely only get community service.
    All juvenile records are sealed. Once he is 18, no charges from his childhood can be shown so when he goes to fire school, if they even check to see if he has been convicted of any crimes, nothing will show up.
    WRONG! Juvenile records are not automatically sealed, at least not in Indiana. The juvenile has to request that the case be expunged. I'm a juvenile probation officer, but I worked adult cases for a while. I've had several years experience in dealing with NCIC records requests. I've seen juvenile records from just about every state.
    Last edited by Indiana Filer; 06-19-2007 at 10:11 PM. Reason: Stopped typing too soon
  7. #7
    Indiana Filer is offline Senior Member
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    Lisa,

    Since your brother is a juvenile, here's probably what will happen. (I'm a juvenile probation officer in Indiana. I don't think this happened in my county, since we haven't received a police report on it.)

    Your parents and brother will have to go to the probation department for a Preliminary Inquiry. The probation officer will read his rights to him, and then, if he and your parents agree to discuss the case, will read the police report to them. He'll have the opportunity to say if he agrees or disagrees with the police report.

    The probation officer will write up the interview and send the case to the prosecutor's office. As part of the write-up, the probation officer will make a recommendation to the prosecutor about how the case should be handled. The options are: Dismiss the case, refer the child to another agency (i.e. dept of child services), file a petition (goes to court in front of the judge), or to informally adjust the case.

    An informal adjustment is sort of like "probation light". It has a lot of the same probation terms as probation following court, but there are less fees, since there are no court costs, initial probation user's fees, or admin fees. I'll give you some advice here: If he denies the charges during the preliminary inquiry, he can't get an informal adjustment. An informal adjustment is given when the juvenile agrees that he committed what is essentially a minor offense. (Hint: ADMIT during the preliminary inquiry to get a informal adjustment.) Stealing the condoms is theft, a class "D" felony. Informal adjustments can't be used for felonies, but the prosecutor might be willing to reduce the charge to conversion, which is a class "A" misdemeanor. This will only work if it's a first offense, and it's a relatively cheap item that was stolen. If he violates the informal adjustment by not following the terms, the prosecutor can still files the charges, so he needs to obey the terms.

    An informal adjustment is a lot easier to get expunged. In addition, an informal adjustment means that he is NOT adjudicated to be a delinquent child.

    If this is his only offense, even if it does go to Court, he should be able to get it expunged. Once it's expunged, it won't affect his future as a firefighter. (I know for a fact that an offense that has been expunged is gone. We went to the police department files, the prosecutor's files, and the court records, and searched for an offense that was supposed to have been expunged. It's nowhere to be found. An NCIC check was run on the individual, and the offense didn't show up.)

    If the offense doesn't get expunged, he should be able to explain this away as long as it's the only offense. He'll have to explain that he was young and stupid, and learned from the offense. Hopefully the fire department will realize that, since it was the only offense, he did learn.

    The recommendation is just that: a recommendation. The prosecutor can still decide to file a petition. If a petition is filed, here's what to expect:

    Your parents and brother will get issued summons telling them when to appear in court at an initial hearing. At that hearing, your brother can request an attorney. Since he's a juvenile, the court should appoint a public defender regardless of income and assets. I know a lot of people say that public defenders aren't good. We have two guys who mainly get assigned as PD's for our juveniles. I'd hire either of these men if I needed an attorney.

    If he chooses not to get an attorney, the initial hearing will procede at that point. If he gets an attorney, he'll probably get told to return in a couple weeks. He'll get asked if he admits or denies the allegation. (Juveniles aren't guilty or not guilty.) If he admits, a date will get set for disposition (sentencing). If he denies, the case will be set for a fact-finding hearing (juvenile trial). At the fact-finding hearing, the state will have to prove that he committed the offense with a preponderance of the evidence. That means with more than 51% of the evidence. If he is found to have committed, then they set it for disposition.

    In our county, we set the disposition about a month after the initial hearing. That gives us (the juvenile Probation officers) a chance to meet with the juvenile and his parents again so that we can do an assessment and figure out which areas of the juvenile's life are in need of rehabilitation. If there's no substance abuse issues, for example, we don't want to waste time on that area when there are other areas where attention is needed.

    For this offense, as a first time offense, without knowing all the details, I'd probably recommend 6 months probation, 12-24 hours community service work, a curfew, and a few other terms, depending on what the assessment shows is needed.

    Any questions?

    ----I worked late today writing preliminary inquiries from the 5 new clients that were assigned to me today. Usually I only get 2 or 3 new cases a week, since we're a small county, but the police busted a party of underage drinkers so we had to deal with all of them.

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