Consequences of Shoplifting, Theft as a Juvenile

In terms of juvenile crime, shoplifting and similar forms of larceny often start as just childish pranks, but the crimes can have real implications for a juvenile defendant. A South Florida juvenile criminal defense attorney will work to protect a juvenile defendant’s future.

Depending on the value of the goods stolen and whether it’s a first-time or repeat offense, the penalties for shoplifting can be severe.

According to the non-profit organization, National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP), about 1 out of every 4 shoplifters is a juvenile. Of those, more than 73% of them didn’t plan to steal anything when they entered the store.

Most kids today know another child who shoplifts. In fact, according NASP, nearly 90% of kids in a survey said they knew someone who had shoplifted, and 66% of kids said they hung out with kids who shoplifted.

Juvenile crime records are riddled with kids who have shoplifted. More than $13 billion dollars in merchandise is stolen each year in the U.S., and much of that is taken by minors.

Even though it’s a minor crime in the grand scheme, shoplifting and similar forms of larceny can have serious consequences. Fines, legal fees, and possible juvenile detention are all possible outcomes when a minor commits larceny.

Luckily, there are options in the legal system for a juvenile, especially for a first-time offender, to learn his or her lesson and get on with life without damage to his or her record.

A South Florida juvenile criminal defense attorney might be able to minimize the impact of a shoplifting charge by working with prosecutors and a juvenile court judge to resolve the issue with a fine or community service.

Sometimes the incident can be resolved without it ever appearing on the juvenile’s record. A South Florida juvenile criminal defense attorney will be able to evaluate the circumstances of the case and help craft a solution that satisfies the victim of the crime and the courts while still maintaining the best interest of the minor defendant.


Resolving the Case

When a juvenile is moved to a Juvenile Assessment Center, he or she will receive a hearing to determine whether or not the child should be released to the parents or guardians. Often in a first-offense shoplifting case, this is the most likely scenario.

Once the case reaches resolution, a juvenile judge will either accept a plea or will determine guilt or innocence. There is no jury in juvenile court in Florida.

If the value of the property is less than $300, the crime is a misdemeanor, and in the future, will have minimal impact on the juvenile. It’s possible, though, that if the child is a repeat offender, the penalties can increase and even result in a stay at a juvenile detention facility.

Repeat offenders report that it is difficult to stop shoplifting, regardless of whether or not they’ve been caught. NASP reports that 33% of juveniles say it’s hard to stop, even after getting caught.


An Attorney’s Help Could Make a Difference in a Juvenile Crime Case

When a juvenile faces a charge, from a simple shoplifting charge to a more serious felony, the outcome of the case could have a lasting impact for the rest of the juvenile’s life.

The Miami Law Firm of Falk & Ross works on juvenile cases and can provide the best defense for a juvenile crime defendant. Call today at 1-877-663-5110 or 1-305-741-6997 for a free consultation about your case.