It’s not unusual for a young child to shoplift. While there are occasions when underage kids intentionally conceal an item and walk out of a business with it, there are many other situations where children unintentionally walk out with a store item in their possession. Usually, the incident is resolved by the parent leading the child back to the store to return the item and apologize. Unfortunately, major department stores such as Macy’s, Kohl’s, Target, Claire’s, Walmart and Sears are not as forgiving as they were in the past.
Many department stores will accept a return and an apology if the item is under a certain amount, but once it’s higher than a set value, loss protection is instructed to call law enforcement officers upon identifying the individual and retrieving the item. For many stores, the price point is around $20. Regardless of the pleas of the parent or the child returning the item, the police will be called, and the child will be arrested. However, there have also recently been cases of someone being charged with the crime despite not being arrested.
Underage kids often make decisions they regret. One poor decision should not soil your child’s reputation. The Orlando juvenile shoplifting lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm can help have penalties lessened and even take the necessary steps toward having your child’s record cleared.
In Florida, the seriousness of a shoplifting charge depends upon the amount taken. Many people assume that if the accused is an individual under the age of eighteen that the crime is automatically a misdemeanor. That’s not the case. Theft of $300 in merchandise or less is a misdemeanor. Theft of $300 or more in merchandise is a felony no matter the age of the accused.
When a juvenile is accused of shoplifting, the case is usually handled in juvenile court rather than adult criminal court. Juvenile punishments typically include fines, restitution, special classes and community service. The most serious consequence can be a juvenile record and potential loss of college scholarships. Even if the individual does not serve jail time, the offense will be on his or her record if found guilty.
Juvenile records are not completely sealed as many would believe. While private businesses cannot access juvenile records, those records can be accessed by the military and the government. If your child is arrested in the future, those juvenile records would be accessible to prosecutors and could lead to your child facing more serious consequences as an adult. Also, certain professions such as teachers, lawyers and, health care professionals may have access to such records as well.
Some juveniles, however, can have their criminal records expunged upon the successful completion of a diversion program. Other than that, they’ll have to wait until they reach a certain age before their record is sealed and even then they can be seen by the previously mentioned entities. Florida law states that:
We are seeing more stores pressing charges against juvenile and adult shoplifters. At The Umansky Law Firm, our Orlando juvenile shoplifting lawyers are here to protect your child from consequences that could harm him or her in the future. We have more than 100 years of combined experience that we use when handling these and other juvenile cases.
Is your child facing shoplifting charges? Let us protect your child’s future. Everyone deserves a second chance. To schedule a free case review with an experienced juvenile theft attorney at The Umansky Law Firm, contact us online or call us.
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