What Are Juvenile Shoplifting Penalties?
April 22, 2022
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania takes juvenile shoplifting seriously, however, its penalties are designed to teach and not necessarily to punish. The goal is to demonstrate to the youth that they have made a mistake and they should not engage in that activity again.
It is still a serious affair if your child has been arrested for shoplifting, and any charges or convictions could haunt them for the rest of their life. If your child has been accused of shoplifting, you will need a lawyer on your side who can vigorously defend them.
What Is Juvenile Shoplifting?
Shoplifting, or retail theft in Pennsylvania, can be a type of larceny. There are multiple examples of this including:
- Leaving a store with an item that is for sale without paying.
- Transferring merchandise or causing the transfer of merchandise without paying.
- Using an item without paying fully.
- Changing or exchanging a price tag to pay a reduced value for an item.
- Planning to remove merchandise from the store by first removing or vandalizing ant-theft tags attached to the merchandise.
- Employees can be accused if they charge a lesser price for an item for their friends.
- Moving merchandise from one contain to another with the goal of paying a reduce price for that item.
What Are the Penalties for Juvenile Shoplifting in Pennsylvania?
As stated, the Commonwealth understands the severity of shoplifting, however, it recognizes that those who engage in the act are not necessarily hardened criminals. Many could be young people who make a mistake or are subject to peer pressure from their friends. As a result, most penalties for juvenile shoplifting are meant to teach and not punish.
The penalties associated with juvenile shoplifting include:
- Release to parents: In this instance, a juvenile is not punished but is instead given a stern lecture by the court before being released into the custody of the parents. The goal of this is to “scare” a juvenile into not doing it again.
- Restitution: The juvenile will have to pay for the full value of the item that they stole. If the person has a job, the court may require that they stay working until they pay the amount off or the court may require a juvenile of working age to start working to pay off the debt.
- Probation: The court may place a juvenile under probation for about six months. In that time, the person must engage in certain activities, including staying in school, obeying their parents, and routinely reporting to a probation officer during the probation period. Failure to engage in these activities could result in more severe penalties.
- Diversion: This is similar to probation except it is a specific program. They may require the juvenile to participate in an education program, perform community service, or maintain a specific grade-point average. These programs are usually available to first-time offenders.
- Counseling: This occurs if the court believes that the juvenile has other issues that could be the root cause of the problem. Counseling could be conducted through state services or require that the parents find a counselor for the juvenile.
- Confinement or placemen: In an extreme case, the court may order that the juvenile be confined at a juvenile detention facility. These instances are reserved for those whose shoplifting offense is severe or a repeat offender. Another reason could be if the court believes the juvenile’s home situation is a contributing factor to the crime.
Will Juvenile Charges Remain With My Child?
Your child might avoid significant punishments if they are found guilty of juvenile shoplifting. However, even if they avoid the harshest punishments, they could still have a record. That record could impact your child in the future if they wish to:
- Work in certain field.
- Join the military.
- Own a gun.
- Obtain government benefits.
It is important that you consult with a lawyer if your child is accused of juvenile shoplifting as soon as possible to avoid any long-term consequences.
West Chester Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes Will Protect Your Child if They Are Accused of Juvenile Shoplifting
If your child has been taken into custody or accused of juvenile shoplifting, you will need someone on your side who will fight for your child and protect their rights. Our West Chester criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes will vigorously defend your child to help them obtain the best outcome possible. Call us at 610-431-7900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Chester County, Bucks County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.