SV, a 17-year-old high school student, went to a house party. The owners and their children were out of town. A friend of the owners’ daughter knew the location of the spare house key; so, she let herself into the home. What started as a small gathering turned into an out-of-control party.
SV attended the party. He and his friends saw a set of car keys in a basket on the kitchen counter. The boys took the keys outside, pressed the “unlock” button and determined that the keys belonged to a car that was parked on the street. None of the boys had driver’s licenses, but SV had a permit. The four guys got into the car, SV drove away. They took the car for a drive in the densely-packed residential neighborhood. Throwing beer cans out of the window and rolling through stop signs drew the attention of the police. A cruiser turned on its overhead lights. SV did not stop, he drove away at a high rate of speed. SV pulled the car into a commercial parking lot. All four boys got out of the car and ran; SV in one direction, his three friends in another. SV’s friends were caught, SV was not. His friends all told the police that SV was driving. Unfortunately for SV, he left his cell phone on the driver’s seat. In another unfavorable event for SV, his mother called his cell phone several times “wondering where he was.” The police answered the third or fourth call; the officer explained to SV’s mother how he came to be in possession of SV’s phone.
SV ran home. Upon arriving, his mother scolded him. The next morning she brought him to the police station. SV, being somewhat knowledgeable about his constitutional rights, declined to admit to the car activities. Nevertheless, SV was charged with stealing the car, failure to stop for the police and 9 motor vehicle infractions.
SV’s mother hired attorney Henry Fasoldt to help them. SV did not wish to go through a trial. With an idea of going into the military, he wanted to minimize the damage of these charges. Henry worked with the prosecutor to try to reach a resolution. After three court dates and one lobby conference, the prosecutor agreed to charge SV with Use of a Motor Vehicle Without Authority (joyriding). In addition, the prosecutor recommended that SV be placed on pre-trial probation for 9 months, with several conditions. If SV follows his conditions for 9 months the case will be dismissed.
Some of the reasons the ADA agreed to this outcome were as follows: SV had never been in trouble before – at least not with the police. At school he had been having difficulty. Also, he had recently suffered the death of his father.