What happens when someone is caught shoplifting while under the age of 18?

shoplifting juvenile

Young individuals may find stealing merchandise from a store makes them look fearless and bold, however, that is not the case. Theft is illegal. If an individual steals from a store they are shoplifting, which is a type of theft charge. Depending on the value of the stolen goods, individuals will face significant repercussions for their criminal actions. Shoplifting also applies to switching price tags and combining items to avoid paying for each item separately. Shoplifting convictions can have detrimental effects on an individual’s future. If your child has been convicted of juvenile shoplifting, contact a qualified Memphis Theft Lawyer who can defend their rights and interests.

What are the possible repercussions for juvenile shoplifting?

The potential consequences a juvenile may face for shoplifting includes:

  • Release. Typically, if this was an individual’s first shoplifting offense and the value of goods stolen had a low monetary value, the courts may simply release them to their parents. However, they will be given a stern warning, if an individual does not adhere to this warning future convictions will have severe consequences.
  • Restitution & fines. Individuals may be required to repay a store owner for the items they stole. They may have to pay the same or a higher amount in restitution. Additionally, the court may find it reasonable to have the juvenile pay court fines as well.
  • Attend counseling. The court may find court-ordered counseling sessions to be a beneficial punishment for individuals caught shoplifting. Individual or group counseling sessions can help juveniles understand why stealing is wrong as well as prevent them from stealing in the future.
  • Community Service. A common consequence of shoplifting is completing a certain amount of community service hours. This may require individuals to clean the outside of the store they stole from or speak to other youths about why stealing is wrong.
  • Loss of driving privileges. Young individuals are eager to get their licenses, however, courts may find a suitable punishment to enforce ineligibility for an individual to acquire a standard driver’s license when they come of age. Furthermore, if an individual already has a license, the courts may suspend their driving privileges.
  • Diversion program. Courts may require individuals to enter a program that is similar to how probation operates. Juveniles will have to adhere to certain conditions. This means they may have to keep a certain grade point or participate in an education program. This penalty is usually only available for first offenses.
  • Juvenile probation. Juveniles who have committed felony-level offenses will typically be faced with probation. Individuals must obey the terms of their probation. This means they will have to report to a probation officer that ensures the juvenile is adhering to the specific rules and regulations of their probation.
  • Juvenile confinement or detention. One of the more severe punishments is confinement. Individuals may be placed in a youth detention center to await their hearing. They may also be placed in a BootCamp-style program. If the court finds it reasonable, they may place a juvenile in a foster home or facility if their home environment is playing a vital role in delinquency.

In the unfortunate event, your child has been charged with shoplifting, reach out to one of our determined and skilled team members. Our firm is committed to helping our clients get their charges sealed or expunged from their records. We are ready to fight on your behalf to protect your child’s future.