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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23529
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My 16 year old was just arrested $70 from his

Customer Question

My 16 year old was just arrested for stealing $70 from his employer. He has admitted to doing this. I am told he is being charged with a class h felony but I thought this amount was a misdemeanor especially since this is a first time offense. What should I ask for in court? I've never done this before.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
My name is ***** ***** I am an experienced criminal lawyer.
I understand your confusion. If this were just a regular theft offense, a theft of only $70 would be a misdemeanor. However, it's embezzlement.
North Carolina has a special section of the penal code for a theft from one's employer.
Under GS 14-90 it is a Class H felony to steal any amount less than $100,000 from one's employer.
http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_14/GS_14-90.html
At age 16 in North Carolina, your child is considered an adult for purposes of prosectution. That means he will come before a judge facing a felony charge.
There is nothing YOU will be able to ask for. You are not a part of this case and will not get to appear before the judge. Only a lawyer can advocate for your son in court. You need to get him representation.
If you can afford a lawyer for him, have the lawyer appear with him on his court date. If you cannot, then he needs to plead NOT GUILTY when he is arraigned on these charges and then he can ask the court for a public defender.
Do not let him handle this without counsel. Criminal cases can have lifetime consequences and your son's future may depend on how well this case is handled.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So I have not and cannot talk to him to tell him anything. How is he supposed to know what to do? Do I just let him stay there indefinitely? Seems like 10k bond is a bit much for $60 and I can't even talk to him or guide him. How is taking $60 embelzement over larceny?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.
Please read the statute I have linked you to. You will see for yourself that if you steal FROM YOUR EMPLOYER for any amount less than $100,000, you will be charged with a felony.
Will the DA indict this case? I would hope not. I would hope that he would reduce the charge to a misdemeanor theft offense because I think that's what the case is worth. However, that would be at the DA's discretion and if he wants to proceed with this as a felony charge, the law of your state would support it.
Whether you can visit him in jail before his court date is up to the police. However, you will not be able to stand with him when he is before the judge. You will not be able to advise him as to what to do when he's before the judge. Only a lawyer is allowed to advocate in court for his client. If you can afford a lawyer, you need to hire one to be with your son on his court date. A lawyer can also visit him in jail, even if/when you cannot.
Otherwise, if you are indigent and as he is a jail case, there's a good chance that there will be a public defender appointed to him for his first court date, and if that's the case he will take care of the arraignment for you. If he is alone when he comes before the judge, he needs to plead NOT GUITY at his arraignment and ask for a free lawyer. That's the only way his rights stay open so that a deal can be worked out later with the prosecutor and your son's lawyer, which, with any luck, will allow him to come out of this without a theft conviction on his record. Theft convictions, even on a misdemeanor level, can substantially restrict a young person's career opportunities. This case has to be handled correctly.

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