When you receive a phone call concerning your child, you may feel your stomach drop. Unfortunately, when this phone call is to inform you your child has been caught shoplifting, you will likely feel a variety of emotions, from anger and disappointment to anxiety. However, it’s important to set emotions aside and prioritize helping your child through the impending legal complexities they face. Keep reading to learn more about these charges and why it’s in your best interest to connect with Houston juvenile crime lawyers.

What Is Shoplifting?

Anytime someone takes anything from a retail location without paying for the item’s value, they are shoplifting. While many think this is stuffing items in purses or cutting tags off, this is far from the truth. In reality, you’ll discover that many acts constitute shoplifting. For example, if you manipulate an item’s price tag, place another barcode over the one attached to the item, or even take a shopping cart from a store, it constitutes shoplifting.

What Can I Expect If My Child Was Caught Stealing From a Store?

If you received the phone call notifying you of their actions from the store owner, this is a positive sign, as they likely have not contacted the police yet. This allows you to work with the store without involving law enforcement. However, if the call came from law enforcement, you’ll find that this has escalated, meaning you’ll want to consult an attorney immediately.

Whether or not your child will face charges depends on many factors. For example, if it was their first offense, they may be banned from the store, made to return the goods, and released into your custody. However, if the store owner wants to press charges or this is not your child’s first offense, they can face a criminal charge depending on the value of the item stolen.

If the item’s value is less than $50, you’ll find that they can face a Class C misdemeanor, which warrants a $500 fine. However, your child will likely not face jail time for this offense. If the item is higher-value, or your child is 17, however, they could face increased consequences, as the charges they face will increase based on the severity of the crime.

Is There Anything I Can Do to Help My Child?

One of the most important things for parents to do is stay alert to the warning signs. This can include items you know you did not purchase for your child or things they can not afford. If you notice these signs, talking to your child about the severity of their actions and the consequences they can face is critical. Though you’re rightfully angry and disappointed, offer them resources like therapy to help them navigate the emotions they are experiencing.

However, if your child has been caught in the act, the most important thing you can do is connect with an attorney to help you through these challenging matters. At the Sparks Law Firm, we understand that children make mistakes, which is why we are dedicated to fighting for the best possible outcome for your child. Connect with our team today to learn how we can help you.