Shoplifting doesn't sound like the most serious crime, but if your child is facing the legal aftermath it's important to understand the steps you can take to help them.
While there are many misconceptions about shoplifting, these five points will help clear the air and provide you with the information you need to better understand this crime:
- You don't have to talk: Lashing out or saying too much during a shoplifting arrest can result in additional harm. Anything said during an arrest can be used in court.
- Stores have legal rights: For example, a store owner or security officer has the legal right to detain a suspected shoplifter until police arrive. However, they are not permitted to use unnecessary force, such as inflicting physical harm.
- There is more than one form of shoplifting: Most people understand shoplifting as taking an item from a store without paying. This is the most common form of shoplifting, but it also encompasses things such as swapping out price tags and distracting an employee so a friend can steal.
- Mistakes can occur: It's possible for a store owner or employee to make an honest mistake, thus leading them to believe a person is shoplifting. Share additional information with the store to explain the mistake. This is often the best way to move on without trouble.
- All shoplifters have legal rights: Just as the store has legal rights, the same holds true for all shoplifters. As noted above, you have the right to remain silent. You also have the ability to use a variety of defense strategies to help avoid punishment.
Shoplifting is one of the most common juvenile crimes. Helping your child avoid a shoplifting conviction is a big deal, as this can result in punishments ranging from a fine to community service. If your child is charged, learn more about what happened and the court process to follow. This will help you devise a plan for moving forward.
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