You know your child has some behavior issues. You have them in therapy and are working on positive reinforcement at home. Unfortunately, despite your efforts to provide the help and support your child needs, he or she made a mistake.
You were nearly asleep when you got the phone call saying your child had been arrested in McKinney. You head to the police station hoping that the owner of the retail store where your child is accused of shoplifting won’t press charges. Unfortunately, that may not be the case and your child could face penalties that have serious and lasting consequences.
What should you do if your child is accused of shoplifting?
Sometimes, the situation can be resolved by offering to pay for the stolen item or by discussing the situation directly with the store's owner. Other times, it's company policy to pursue charges, and you'll need to talk to your child about what happened and begin developing a defense. Your attorney will want to know as much as possible about the situation, including your willingness to compensate the store owner and any steps you're willing to take to help your child.
What kinds of penalties can minors face for shoplifting?
Penalties for shoplifting vary. Minors typically face a misdemeanor charge, unless the cost of the item(s) stolen exceed $500 to $1,000. In that case, felony charges may follow.
Minors may face fines and penalties for stealing or time in a juvenile detention center. In cases where substance abuse was a contributing factor, a child may be required to attend treatment. Alternative penalties are more likely to be agreed upon for minors, so if you're willing to work with the prosecution, your attorney may be able to negotiate alternative penalties that teach your child a lesson without putting them behind bars.
While your child may have committed a crime, the related penalties shouldn’t be excessive. Your attorney will work to reduce penalties and to eliminate the risk of bias. With a strong legal advocate on your site, you and your child can get the help you need to make positive changes.