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What You Need to Know If Your Child Has Been Charged With Shoplifting

 Posted on December 20,2022 in Criminal Defense

Knoxville, TN juvenile criminal defense lawyerYour teen told you they were out with friends—perhaps friends that you have met dozens of times and you know their parents. Then, you get a phone call. At first, you think it is a joke or a prank, but the realization sets in that your child has been arrested for shoplifting. The authorities are letting you take them home for now. What does that mean? The questions begin spinning through your mind, from how you will handle the situation as a parent to how this affects college options and the future. The good news is that you are not alone; we are here to help.

Why Was My Child Released to Me?

Many juvenile shoplifting situations do not result in the young person being taken to jail. Instead, the police will often release the suspect to the custody of his or her parents after taking a report from the management at the store where the incident allegedly occurred. In the days and weeks that follow, you will receive further information about the case in the mail, including the dates and times of required court appearances. Your child must show up for these, and it is your responsibility to ensure that they do so.  Failure to appear will result in a warrant being put out for your child’s arrest and potentially other charges. You can assist your child by watching the mailbox and following up with the court.

What Else Can I Do to Help My Child?

It is common for parents to fluctuate between wanting to hold their children accountable for their bad decisions and wanting to protect them from the criminal consequences. A few helpful tips for parents wanting to achieve the best possible outcome in this awkward situation include:

  • Stress to your child the potential consequences of their behavior. A judgment against them could make it harder for them to go to college, receive job offers, or rent or purchase a home.

  • Enlist them in programs that may reduce their charges. Many judges favor the idea of community service and theft intervention classes. If these steps are started before entering the courtroom, it may impress upon the judge that your child understands they made a mistake and that they are remorseful and willing to alter their behavior

  • Follow up after the case is over to remove the juvenile record. The arrest may still show up on a permanent juvenile record and might not be automatically sealed or expunged at the time your child turns 18. You will most likely want to take the steps necessary to eliminate this record to minimize the influence it can have on your child’s future.

A Knox County Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

Everyone makes mistakes, regardless of their age. With the help of a proven and experienced attorney, your child’s case has the best chance of achieving a positive resolution. If you have questions about how you can ensure that your child has the best possible future, contact a knowledgeable Knoxville juvenile defense attorney with Attorney Jeffrey Coller. Call 865-281-1000 to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation today.


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