My Child Was Caught Shoplifting: What Do I Do?

Though you do your best to teach your child right and wrong, they will inevitably make mistakes along the way. These errors can range from harmless slip-ups to run-ins with the law, leaving you disappointed and frustrated in your teenager. However, if they are caught shoplifting, knowing how to respond to the situation is crucial to helping your child to the best of your abilities. This includes contacting a McAllen, Texas juvenile crimes lawyer to represent your teenager.

What Are the Consequences When Caught Shoplifting?

First and foremost, you should understand what could happen to your child if they are caught shoplifting in Texas. If your child is found shoplifting, a few scenarios can occur.

The most favorable option is that the store owner or manager reaches out to you directly, as this is a positive sign they have not contacted the police. However, your child will need to return the items or pay the retail price for what they took. Similarly, they may be barred from returning to the store.

However, if the police are contacted, they may have to go to juvenile court. If they stole property worth $50 or less, they could be charged with a Class C misdemeanor and expected to pay a maximum fine of $500.

For many first-time offenders, the court tends to be more forgiving. Generally, your child could be expected to participate in a diversion course, helping to steer them in the right direction.

What Constitutes Shoplifting?

While shoplifting may seem as definitive as stealing an object from a store, there are other ways someone could steal from a retail establishment. For example, purposely manipulating a price tag or putting a different price tag on an item to give the illusion it’s been paid for is an example of shoplifting.

Also, your child could face intent to shoplift if they conceal an object on their person, even if they haven’t left the store. This includes hiding merchandise under clothes, in pockets, or inside bags.

You may also find that your child has shoplifted by stealing a shopping cart from the premises. Generally, teenagers like to take these due to their accessibility, as they are often left in parking lots away from store employees.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If your child has shoplifted, you may be hesitant to contact a lawyer. After all, if it’s only their first run-in with the law, it’s not necessary, right?

Wrong – when possible, you should always reach out to a lawyer, even if it seems improbable that your child will face severe consequences for their actions. Retaining the counsel of an attorney can help ensure this mistake doesn’t negatively impact their future by leaving a permanent stain on your teen’s record.

If your child faces charges in Texas, you’ll want to contact the Law Office of Angel Davila today to help learn how we can help your child receive the best possible outcome in their case.