What if your teen is charged with shoplifting?

On Behalf of | May 30, 2024 | Juvenile Criminal Defense |

Whenever our children get into trouble, we feel like we fail as parents. That simply is not true. Even when we try to instill good values, other external forces are at play, such as peer pressure or a need to prove their independence through rebellion.

Usually, these incidents are minor, but some result in more severe consequences, such as being caught shoplifting. If that were to happen, you would likely feel a wide range of emotions; however, it is important to focus on your teenager and help them through this challenging time.

What are the penalties for shoplifting in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, shoplifting falls under the broader category of theft. It can include actions such as:

  • Concealing merchandise
  • Altering or removing price tags
  • Transferring items from one container to another
  • Pretending to ring up merchandise at a self-checkout

The value of stolen items and whether the theft is a first offense are two significant factors the court considers when evaluating the potential penalties for a juvenile offense. The juvenile court system understands the possible consequences of having a criminal record. Therefore, for first-time offenders, the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice will likely offer a diversion program aimed at rehabilitation rather than punishment. These programs can include:

  • Participation in counseling sessions to address underlying issues.
  • Attending courses on the consequences of theft and making better choices.
  • Paying back the value of the stolen items to the affected store.

Encourage your child to cooperate with law enforcement and court officials if they are caught shoplifting. However, it’s crucial that you are with them during any periods of questioning. You can also use this experience to speak to them about the serious consequences of shoplifting and the importance of making responsible choices in the future.

It’s also crucial to contact someone who can explain the legal process, provide guidance on the best course of action, and work to minimize the consequences.


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