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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 110391
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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my (14 yr old)son was with a friend on the school playground

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my (14 yr old)son was with a friend on the school playground at night. The 13 year old friend had a lighter and spray cologne and was spraying into his hand and then lighting it in fire they did this several times. My son walked off and the other child sprayed the cologne on the playground shredded rubber, he said he thought it would just do the same thing it did in their hands make a puff of fire then go out. It started a fire, my son ran over to help his friend put it out, they couldn't. They got scared AND GOT ON THEIR BIKES AND LEFT. when they got down the street they heard a loud pop. they went back to see if it went out like it did in their hands and it had caught a piece of equipment on fire. He heard a lady on the phone to 911 reporting the fire. This happened on a friday night. They did not tell anyone. they were turned in by someone who saw them out there. The police called and met my husband and I at the school on Wednesday morning. He was released to us to call and set up a meeting at juvenile court. My husband said he would rather the boy not make a statement at that time. The other child told police he was the one that started the fire and that my son had nothing to do with it. They were both charged with 2nd degree arson and 3rd degree criminal mischief. The damage to the playground was $30,000. are we held responsible for restitution and will my child have 2 felony convictions, what is the penalty if the charges hold.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Your husband is WISE, your child should make NO statements and your husband cannot represent your son, so you need to immediately get your son an attorney, because even as juveniles, these are serious charges which carry jail time up until they turn 21 (even though they are not likely to get that much, it is the maximum sentence) and this is in addition to you being liable for restitution.

At the least, your son's attorney could seek to discuss a deal with the prosecutor to save his own skin and give testimony on the child who actually lit the fire, since your son was only an accessory and not the one who committed the offense. With the other boy admitting to his role and that your son had nothing to do with it, this would give your son's attorney good argument to seek to get the DA to dismiss charges against your son because it was not a crime for him to be doing this in his hands before he left and he did not help or have anything to do with the other boy doing it on the tires.

Thus, your son has a good case for getting off if what the other boy said and the evidence matches up, but he will need an attorney to negotiate this for him with the DA.

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