Although many young Florida residents walk the straight and narrow, others stray; some even begin committing crimes. Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes committed by juveniles, and this activity can have serious consequences for young people.
Shoplifting falls under the category of larceny. In spite of being a theft crime, shoplifting carries its own laws and penalties if a person is convicted. It happens when someone deliberately takes items from a store without paying for them.
When a minor shoplifts, there may be different reasons behind it. They might do it to “fit in” or experience a thrill from getting away with the crime. Others may shoplift because they are rebelling against their parents or authority figures. Some kids may not even know why they’re shoplifting.
When an adult is caught shoplifting, the store usually detains and waits for the police to show up. Store officials can only do this if they have probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime. When a minor shoplifts, it’s considered an act of delinquency, which means they go through the juvenile justice system for a hearing instead of being arrested.
Penalties for juvenile shoplifting
A juvenile who goes to juvenile court for shoplifting doesn’t face the same penalties as an adult who goes through the traditional court system. Instead, the goal is to educate the child so that they learn a lesson; penalties depend on whether the minor is a first-time or repeat offender.
Typical penalties for juvenile shoplifting include an educational course, community service and being ordered to stay in school and maintain good grades. Some kids are ordered into counseling, placed on probation and may be required to make restitution to the retailer. Another potential penalty is suspending the minor’s driver’s license.
Shoplifting as a minor can escalate later in life. This is something the justice system tries to curtail; many kids stop after they get caught.