What happens if a juvenile is caught shoplifting?

juvenile shoplifting handcuffs arrested charged convicted

Stealing merchandise from a store is a serious criminal offense that has significant repercussions. The penalties vary in severity, the consequences ultimately depend on whether this is an individual’s first offense and the monetary value of the stolen goods. However, juveniles will face different penalties for their criminal behavior. A juvenile is anyone under the age of 18. Juveniles who are caught stealing merchandise, alternating price tags, or combining items to avoid having to pay for everything will be charged with shoplifting. Juvenile shoplifting is no laughing matter as penalties can affect an individual’s future. If your child has been convicted of juvenile shoplifting, contact a determined Monmouth County Juvenile Crime Attorney who can help defend your child’s rights and interests. 

What are the potential penalties for juvenile shoplifting?

The potential penalties for juvenile shoplifting may include:

  • Release to parents. If this is an individual’s first offense, they will usually be released into their parent’s custody. They will also be issued a warning.
  • Restitution. A common consequence of juvenile shoplifting is restitution. This requires an individual to pay a store owner back for the stolen merchandise. Depending on the monetary value of the stolen goods, individuals may have to pay a higher amount than what the price tag reads.
  • Fines. If an individual stole an item with a high monetary value, they may be required to pay additional court fines.
  • Driving privileges. The court may suspend an individual’s license, revoking their driving privileges for some time. If a juvenile is not old enough to legally acquire a driver’s license, they will face ineligibility which will postpone when they can acquire a standard driver’s license.
  • Counseling. If the court believes it is in a juvenile’s best interest, they may have to attend individual or group counseling sessions.
  • Community service. The completion of a certain amount of community service hours may be required. This type of punishment may require individuals to participate in handing out food to homeless shelters, cleaning the front sidewalk of the store they stole from, or speaking to other youths about the consequences of shoplifting.
  • Diversion program. Individuals may also be required to complete a diversion program, which is essentially probation. However, the conditions are less strict than juvenile probation. In a diversion program, juveniles may have to meet certain requirements such as completing an education program or community service.
  • Juvenile probation. Typically, juveniles face this type of punishment for felony-level charges. Juveniles will have to comply with the conditions of their probation which may include keeping a certain grade point. Juveniles will have to report to a probation officer who will regularly check to see if they juvenile is complying with the conditional terms of their probation.
  • Juvenile detention. Lastly, juveniles may face placement in a youth detention center or another form of confinement as a punishment. They will be placed in a facility until their hearing. This is one of the more serious penalties and is usually required if a juvenile’s delinquency is due to their home environment.

If your child has been charged with juvenile shoplifting, reach out to one of our skilled and dedicated team members. Our firm is dedicated to helping our clients have their juvenile records sealed.