What To Do If Your Teen Is Arrested For Shoplifting

Suddenly finding out that your teen has been arrested for theft at a local retail store can come as quite a shock to most parents. With that said, your teen still has the right to legal representation. It's true that you may want to have a sit down discussion with your teen about their behavior in the near future, but your short-term focus should be making sure your teen is given the right advice if they are going to end up in court. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Find Out If Other Kids Were Involved

Sometimes teenagers give in to peer pressure. If your teen was arrested but you don't believe they were the main culprit and were acting on behalf of a ringleader, this information could work in your child's favor at trial. Your teen may be able to avoid jail time or just get slapped with a fine if they were not the main actor. You should make it clear to your child, however, that you are not passing the buck and that there will be consequences for them at home after the legal case is dealt with.

An Attorney Might Be Able to Help

You are likely very angry at your teen right now if they did indeed shoplift, but you shouldn't just leave them sitting in jail. A criminal defense attorney can help your teen get bail if necessary. You should also stop and think hard about getting a lawyer if this is not your teen's first offense. A repeat offender may be more likely to get jail time and permanent record, and that could impact your child's future options in life. Find a local defense attorney who has experience with shoplifting and other petty theft crimes to discuss next steps.

Honesty May Be the Best Policy

If your child is especially young, sometimes the judge is willing to go easy on the sentence in exchange for teaching the young boy or girl a lesson. Some states offer rehabilitation programs where your teen might be put in a program to learn about the impact of what they did. Again, it's best to discuss all of your options with a criminal defense attorney.

Finding out your child has been arrested can be infuriating, and there will surely be consequences to pay at some point, but in the short term you should also do what you can to protect your child's legal rights. Contact a criminal defense attorney today if necessary