If you receive a phone call stating that your teen is being held for stealing or shoplifting, your first concern will likely be for your child’s well-being.
Your second concern will regard the responsibilities of a parent following a teen theft conviction in Virginia.
What is a parent’s responsibility after a teen’s theft conviction?
Virginia law allows for immediate detainment of a child after committing a misdemeanor, such as shoplifting. If the severity of the crime was minor and it was the first such offense, your child is likely to be quickly released back into your custody.
If the court demands restitution for the stolen goods, it may fall upon you as the parent or guardian to provide compensation. Otherwise, your child could receive orders from the court to seek employment or perform community service to pay off what is due.
What are the long-term consequences for a teen after a conviction?
Many children and their parents believe that a shoplifting charge is a minor infraction deserving of little more than a stern lecture. The harsh truth is that petty theft is severe enough to leave your child with a criminal record. A prior shoplifting offense can be just as harmful as a drunk driving conviction when it comes to seeking employment or enrolling in a university later in life.
When teens make thoughtless decisions, sometimes parents literally have to pay the price. The long-term implications can be much more severe for your child, though. In the event that your teen commits petty theft, a solid criminal defense strategy can help preserve your family’s rights.