Posted in Juvenile Crimes on June 21, 2019
A juvenile case involves a defendant under the age of 18. When the suspect of a crime is a minor, that person usually will not go through the typical criminal court process. Instead, he or she will face the unique juvenile system. A juvenile shoplifting conviction can impede a child’s life from an early age. A conviction could become part of the child or teen’s permanent record. A juvenile shoplifting conviction could also result in a range of penalties that the minor or his or her parents will have to face for the crime. Speak to a local Riverside theft attorney if you need assistance or have questions regarding your case.
The crime of shoplifting falls under the umbrella of theft according to California Penal Code Section 484. Thus, the courts punish shoplifting like it would any theft crime. Theft is the action of intentionally stealing or taking someone else’s property. The State of California divides the crime of theft into two categories: petty and grand. Petty theft can refer to shoplifting something worth $400 or less, while grand theft is something worth more than $400. Petty theft convictions come with lesser penalties than grand theft.
The juvenile criminal justice system in California operates differently than the adult justice system. The state recognizes that minors need guidance and intervention more than they need punishments for their actions. Thus, the courts treat these cases and defendants according to different guidelines than adults. In general, the juvenile system focuses on rehabilitation rather than penalties. That being said, a judge will still order penalties to teach a minor theft offender a lesson and to rectify the losses a victim suffered.
One of the most common juvenile shoplifting penalties is forcing the individual to pay restitution to the victim that lost his or property. The courts may order the juvenile to repay the property owner for the value of the stolen goods, or an amount slightly higher than the value of the item as a form of punishment.
If the minor has a job, the courts have the power to force the juvenile to continue working until he or she has paid off the restitution. If the juvenile does not have the money, his or her parents may have to pay the restitution. Otherwise, if the minor is old enough to work, the court may order the individual to find a job to pay off what he or she owes.
Diversion is an informal type of probation program, in which a juvenile may have to enroll in a mandatory duration program, complete community service, maintain good grades, or fulfill other requirements. For more serious offenses, the courts may impose actual probation for an average of six months. Probation requires the minor to attend school, obey guardians, and report to a probation officer.
Detention may be necessary for more serious juvenile shoplifting crimes. Detention refers to placement of the minor in a juvenile detention facility or boot-camp-style detention program. Repeat offenders or serious cases may involve actual confinement of the juvenile in a delinquency center. Working with a criminal defense attorney can help a juvenile minimize the penalties he or she faces for shoplifting crimes.