What Happens If Your Child Is Caught Shoplifting?

overhead shot of store

As a parent, one of the worst feelings you can experience is getting an unexpected phone call about your child. If you receive a call that your child is shoplifting, you may feel an overwhelming number of emotions. However, your first priority is likely to help your child. Luckily, understanding what happens next and what you can expect is a great way to provide aid. You should also contact Houston juvenile defense attorneys for assistance.

What Does the Process Look Like After One is Caught Shoplifting?

If your child is caught shoplifting, the first thing you will want to pay attention to is how you were notified about their actions. If you received a call from the store owner, this is a positive sign. This means they likely have not contacted the police yet, giving you the opportunity to work things out without the involvement of officers.

However, if you receive a call from an officer, the issue has reached the legal level, meaning you will want to retain the help of a lawyer before speaking with the police.

What Are the Charges?

In some cases, depending on whether or not this is the first time they have shoplifted, they may not face charges. Many first-time juvenile shoplifters are simply released into the custody of their parents.

Generally, if your child is caught shoplifting, they will likely face a Class C misdemeanor if the item they stole was worth less than $50. This can result in a fine of up to $500, but your child will likely not face jail time for this charge.

However, if they steal higher-priced items, they could face more severe penalties, and depending on the value of the item stolen, they could potentially face a felony.  A felony could likely result in detention or jail time if your child is over 17 years old.

How Can I Help My Child?

One of the best ways to help your child is to look out for the warning signs of shoplifting. You should remain on the lookout for items you did not buy, price tags or packaging in the garbage, or products you know your child cannot afford.

If you notice the warning signs, having a conversation with your child about the severity of their actions is essential. Though you are likely angry and disappointed, ensuring your child knows they can talk to you is crucial. You can also offer resources like therapy to help them work through the emotions they have been experiencing.

However, if your child has been caught shoplifting, the best way to help them is to reach out to The Gonzalez Law Group. Our experienced team can help you and your child navigate the charges and fight to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.