Family Law & Criminal Defense Attorneys

What Are the Penalties for Shoplifting If You're Under 18?

In most cases, legal penalties are generally less harsh for minors, but can vary depending on factors such as scale of the crime and previous criminal record. A shoplifting charge is no different. In the state of Tennessee, theft crimes are classified according to the monetary amount of what was stolen, and cases become even more complicated when the suspect is a minor.

What Happens If a Minor Is Caught Shoplifting?

Minors who are caught shoplifting can be detained by police officers or store management present in the business where the crime took place. A minor can be kept in holding while store management investigates the case/questions the suspect, as well as while waiting for parents or legal guardians to arrive if they were not accompanying the child at the time.

The legal consequences for shoplifting vary and often depend on the previous criminal record of the offender. Prison time and fines are a possibility, but additionally, a convicted shoplifter under the age of 18 could be faced with probation or mandatory rehabilitation services such as a counseling program.

Tennessee State Shoplifting Laws

The charges and resulting penalties for shoplifting in Tennessee depend on the monetary amount of the merchandise  stolen. Shoplifting falls into Tennessee’s “Theft of Merchandise” code, which specifies the financial classifications for theft crimes. The charges range from a Class A misdemeanor for stolen property valued at $500 or less, up to a Class A felony for stolen property valued at $250,000 or more.

Generally, shoplifting will fall into the misdemeanor category. The minimum penalty for misdemeanor theft crimes in Tennessee is a prison sentence of 30 days or less, and a fine no greater than $50. For a Class A misdemeanor, offenders can face up to an 11-month and 29-day prison sentence and/or a $2,500 fine.

In cases of shoplifting, the consequences for the crime are often civil liability rather than criminal punishment. Tennessee law outlines potential financial penalties that can arise in shoplifting cases resulting in civil liability. As is the case with criminal consequences, the amounts depend on the amount of merchandise stolen, its worth, and the nature of the crime. The parents or legal guardians of a minor who has been charged with shoplifting can face additional financial penalties if a civil liability agreement is reached.

Contact Our Jackson Criminal Defense Attorneys to Discuss Possible Defenses

Shoplifting as a minor can negatively impact your future as you enter young adulthood. To avoid having a charge on your record (or your child’s record, if you are the parent), you need the representation of a Jackson criminal defense lawyer from Casey, Simmons & Bryant, PLLC.

Call us at (731) 256-0023 or complete the form on our website to contact us for a free consultation.

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