In the eyes of many youths, shoplifting does not seem like a big deal. To some, it may even feel like a rite of passage during the transition from juvenile to adult.
What they may not understand is that the law takes a harsh stance against shoplifting, regardless of the age of the defendant. The consequences are often severe, meaning that a youth charged and convicted of theft will likely struggle to overcome the incident.
In general, the offense of shoplifting must include two important elements.
- Willfully taking and/or concealing items for sale
- Intent to deprive the owner of the value of the items by not paying
When it comes to building a good criminal defense, it is important to understand what shoplifting really means. The element of intent mentioned above means that a person does not have to take an item out of the store to be charged with shoplifting. Simply concealing the item could indicate to a store owner or manager that a person intends to take the item without paying for it.
Additionally, shoplifting or theft charges may result if a person attempts to avoid paying the established purchase price of an item. For example, altering a price tag, switching price tags or placing items into other containers are also prosecutable offenses.
Without question, juveniles charged with shoplifting will benefit from a solid criminal defense strategy. The right attorney can often help defendants avoid the most severe consequences and may even facilitate having the charges dropped altogether.
This will give your child or teenager the best chance of moving forward after the incident with a blemish-free record as a California citizen.
Source: FindLaw, "Shoplifting," accessed Jan. 04, 2018