When Ponyboy returns from hiding after Johnny kills Bob, the main issue the brothers face is Pony’s legal problem. They fear that he might be put in prison or that he and Soda might be taken away from Darry. Pony isn’t injured as seriously as Johnny, but he is badly shaken.
Things are complicated when Pony returns. The gang is preparing for a rumble against the Socs, and Johnny and Dally are in the hospital from their injuries at the church fire. Pony participates in the rumble even though he was somewhat injured in the fire, too, and is not as good at fighting to begin with.
When Randy comes to see him, Pony explains to him that he is worried about their family being broken up.
"My parents are dead. I live here with just Darry and Soda, my brothers." I took a long drag on my cigarette. "That's what's worrying me. If the judge decides Darry isn't a good guardian or something, I'm liable to get stuck in a home somewhere. …” (Ch. 11)
At his hearing, Pony is terrified to speak to the judge. He feels a little mixed up about the events in the park, even thinking that he was the one who killed Bob instead of Johnny. The judge is aware of this, and doesn’t really ask Pony any serious questions.
All the judge did was ask me if I liked living with Darry, if I liked school, what kind of grades I made, and stuff like that. I couldn't figure it out then, but later I found out what the doctor had been talking to the judge about. (Ch. 12)
Pony is acquitted, so he has no jail time. He has to figure out how to get his life on the right track. Johnny told him to stay gold. He decides to call his English teacher and use his assignment to write a book about his life experiences as a kind of therapy, so he can move on with his life.