Shoplifting is quite common among teenagers acting out of peer pressure or stress. The consequences of shoplifting are no joke. The severity of consequence depends on a few different factors, including your child’s age, history, and the amount of merchandise. It is also common for young people to be falsely accused by overzealous loss prevention officers.
How serious is a shoplifting case involving a minor or young adult?
As a parent, you may feel disappointed or angry with your child after learning he or she has been shoplifting. There may be legal ramifications as well in the event that the business chose to involve the police. In Michigan, young adults and minors are frequently charged with retail fraud or “shoplifting.” Children under 17, are considered juvenile offenders and find themselves in juvenile court. People who are 17 and older are tried as adults and are held to a higher standard. For this reason alone, it makes sense to hire an experienced attorney who has positive relationships with the judges and prosecutors. A respected and successful attorney is in the best position to get a favorable outcome.
Could my child be detained?
If your teenager has no prior record, the odds are that your child will be sentenced to jail are low. A brief detention at a police station or local lockup is common. If he or she has any prior contacts with the law, the judge may decide to set a bond. In the case of juvenile offenders, the emphasis is on rehabilitation and sentences tend to be less punitive in nature. Most people are not aware, however, that a juvenile criminal record remains public until the person’s 31st birthday. If a bond is set, money may have to be deposited with the jail to secure your child’s release from custody. A successful criminal defense lawyer gives an accused the best possible chance of getting a personal bond. A personal bond does not require that any money exchanged with the court.
What are my child’s rights in court?
Your child has several rights including the right to due process. The right to due process means the right to be treated fairly. Unfortunately, many prosecutors and judges have very little regard for a person’s due process rights and it takes a strong lawyer to make sure someone receives fair treatment. Also, every defendant in a criminal or juvenile delinquency case has a right to be presumed innocent, a right to be tried by judge or jury, a right to be represented by a lawyer at trial, a right to call witnesses to testify and cross-examine the prosecutor’s witnesses. If your child enters a guilty plea, he or she waives all of those rights. Waiving your rights and hoping for the mercy of the court with a bargain lawyer or a court-appointed attorney who will not take the time to fight for your child is a recipe for disaster. Don’t trust your child’s fate to the lowest bidder.
Should my child take a plea or go to trial?
We do not recommend making this decision without experienced legal representation from one of Michigan’s top law firms. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN P.L.L.C. has helped thousands of individuals facing retail fraud charges in the state of Michigan and can provide wise insight into what your next steps should be. Strong, aggressive legal representation is especially important in the case of retail fraud involving a minor because of what is at stake for that teenager or young adult. Even if your child does not want to have a trial, a good trial lawyer will know how to turn a strong defense into even stronger negotiating power.
What about a situation where the evidence is overwhelming and there is no doubt about the defendant’s guilt. At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. we have an unparalleled track record of achieving resolutions that do not appear on a person’s public record, even when there is unequivocal evidence of guilty. A conviction will negatively impact every aspect of their future, and we do not recommend leaving it to chance. Call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 to learn more about how to protect your child or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.