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What Happens if You Are Under 18 and Caught Shoplifting?

Teenagers are likely to make mistakes. It’s part of growing up, as mistakes can translate into valuable life lessons. However, some lapses in judgment can be severe, with legal repercussions that can leave a stain on your record. If your child is caught shoplifting, knowing how to proceed is crucial to help protect them. A Spring Valley, New York juvenile crime lawyer can help your child secure the best possible outcome, given the circumstances.

What Should I Do If I’m Caught Shoplifting?

If you are caught shoplifting, knowing how to respond is crucial. Store owners and managers have the right to detain a minor for a reasonable amount of time and can conduct searches if they have probable cause to believe that they have stolen something.

Though you should not shoplift due to the legal ramifications, if you have stolen something and are caught, it’s best to not resist. Similarly, if you are accused of stealing and have not, you should not argue with employees. Simply inform them you have not stolen and provide receipts if they help.

However, if you are searched, the store manager and owner can only check bags. They are not allowed to search your clothing. If the item is discovered, they may contact the police. From there, the process turns legal.

What Counts as Shoplifting?

Even if you have not stolen an item, shoplifting is a broad term. There are many ways to shoplift, so ensuring you are aware of them is essential.

The most blatant form of shoplifting occurs when you steal an item from a store without paying. Concealing the object in a bag, under clothing, or hiding it among other items constitutes shoplifting. Similarly, placing a price tag over the barcode of an item of high value for it to ring up at a lower cost also counts as shoplifting.

One of the least common forms of shoplifting is popular with teenagers, as it involves stealing shopping carts from stores. If you remove a shopping cart from the premises, it counts as shoplifting. This is typical among teenagers due to the accessibility, as they are often left unattended in parking lots.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you are caught or accused of shoplifting, you should obtain the legal counsel of a lawyer. Whether you are guilty or not, a seasoned lawyer can help you avoid ruining your future over one mistake.

Regardless, New York requires all juveniles to have an attorney present during the Family Court proceedings.

If your child is facing shoplifting charges, ensuring you have the best attorney is crucial to protecting them. The Law Office of Kevin T. Conway is here to help. We will fight to secure the best possible outcome for your child.

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