What should I do if my autistic son was arrested for retail theft?

Q: My 16-year-old autistic son went to a store last week by himself. He was arrested for stealing $5.53 worth of donuts and candy. He was cuffed and taken to a police station to be fingerprinted and all without me. When I got there, I was not able to go in the center. My son came out and they gave me a citation. He now has a plea hearing on April 29th. Do we need a lawyer? Can charges be dropped since he is autistic? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: If they questioned him, they should have called you first for consent. The charges could potentially be dropped whether or not he has an attorney, given his age and it is presumed to be his first offense. You will have a better chance of accomplishing this result with a lawyer.

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