What Happens If a Juvenile is Caught Shoplifting in New Jersey?

retail store

Many teenagers go through the rebellious phase of sneaking out or neglecting school responsibilities. However, in some cases, this rebellion can expand into unlawful territory, including drinking alcohol or shoplifting. If your child was caught shoplifting in New Jersey, you might not know where to start in order to help them. Luckily, a Middlesex County juvenile offense attorney can help represent your child and fight for the best possible outcome.

What Constitutes Shoplifting in New Jersey?

Though shoplifting may seem as black and white as removing an item from a retail store without paying for it, this is not always the case. While stealing without paying from a store is shoplifting, there are other instances where this crime can occur.

Other examples of shoplifting include manipulating the price tag on an item to “under-ring.” This involves placing a different price tag on an object of higher value. The intent of this is to scan the item, avoiding suspicion, despite paying a significantly lower amount of money for the item.

Your child may also be charged with shoplifting if they conceal an object on their person, even if they never leave the store with the item. This can be construed as intent to shoplift, which is a punishable charge.

Also, one commonly stolen item from shops and retail stores is shopping carts. Many teenagers steal shopping carts due to their accessibility.

What Charges Can a Juvenile Face?

If your child is caught stealing from a store, there are a number of charges and penalties to face. The fines for shoplifting include:

  • Up to six months in detention for items valued at $200 or less
  • Up to one year in detention for items worth $200 to $500
  • Up to two years in detention for items valued from $500-$75,000
  • Up to three years in detention for items worth over $75,000

Similarly, if it is your child’s first offense, they may not face the same penalties as someone who has committed crimes before. Instead, they may be required to return the stolen goods or pay the full price of the item. However, if your child is a repeat offender, they may face harsher penalties due to the recurrent offenses.

Should I Hire an Attorney?

If your child is charged with shoplifting, it is essential to hire legal counsel as soon as possible. Though the charge may not seem that bad, ensuring you have legal counsel available is essential to obtaining the best possible outcome for the circumstances.

Though it is vital for your child to learn from their mistake, hiring a competent attorney from the Law Office of Michael A. Policastro is crucial to ensuring your child has the best opportunity to succeed in the future, despite a lapse in judgment.

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