What Do I Do if My Child Was Caught Shoplifting?

Harrell & Paulson

As a parent, you strive to educate your children on the difference between right and wrong. However, that can sometimes go down the drain during the teenage years, when children are often experiencing a mix of overwhelming emotions and hormones. This can cause them to act out and rebel, ranging from harmless to illegal. Unfortunately, many teenagers are caught shoplifting. If this happens to your child, knowing how to respond and understanding how a Kaufman County, Texas theft lawyer can help is essential to protecting your child’s future.

What Should I Do After My Child Is Caught Shoplifting?

After receiving the call that your child was caught shoplifting, taking a moment to collect yourself is crucial. Though you may be angry and disappointed, keeping your child’s best interest in mind is essential. Though you don’t want to excuse their behavior, you don’t want to say anything that could further incriminate your child in the chance it was an accident or misunderstanding.

If you received a call from the store owner or manager, you might be able to work out restitution. However, if they call the police, the legal system will take over.

What Are the Penalties For Shoplifting?

If your child is caught shoplifting for the first time, they may face no penalties other than having to pay the cost of the item. However, this is not always the case, and you should anticipate a legal battle. In Texas, stealing an item valued at $50 or less is a Class C misdemeanor, which includes a $500 fine. However, they will likely not have to face jail time in this instance.

Higher-value items can be more serious, however. In some cases, taking merchandise worth over $2,500 is a felony can constitute a felony charge. If convicted, your child could face time in a juvenile detention center.

However, the penalties for shoplifting aren’t just monetary. The impact a record can have on your child’s future is immense, ranging from affecting their chances of getting into college to being denied jobs.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Generally, it’s recommended to have a lawyer if your child is found to have shoplifted merchandise. Though a simple fine may seem like just a slap on the wrist, a competent lawyer may be able to advocate for alternative measures, especially if it is your child’s first offense.

While you may want your child to face the consequences, there are other ways they can be punished. Instead, giving them the best possible chance for success in the future is essential. If you need the help of a lawyer for your child, don’t wait to contact Harrell & Paulson, LLP. We will fight to provide your child with the best possible outcome for their case.