With schools opening back again in a week or two, teens all over Texas will be heading to stores and malls for school clothing and supplies. These necessary items can sometimes stretch a family’s budget to the breaking point, making a teen more inclined to employ a five-finger discount.
If you are the parent of a teen who gets caught shoplifting, what should your response be?
Your first obligation is to your child
While no parent should minimize the seriousness of a shoplifting arrest, it is important to keep in mind what the consequences of a conviction could mean to your teenager. If they are involved in sports or other extracurricular activities, a criminal conviction could get them tossed off the team or denied admission to scholastic achievement groups like the National Honor Society.
If your teen had been hoping for some tuition assistance for college, criminal convictions can slam those doors tight. Even juvenile convictions can bar admittance to some types of employment, e.g., the FBI (in some cases).
Parents can arrange for legal representation for an arrested teen
Everyone is assumed to be innocent until proven guilty — but they are not always treated that way in the criminal justice system. Relying on court-appointed advice can cause underage defendants and their worried parents to get pushed into plea bargains that may not be in the minor’s best interests.
Learning about their rights under the law can help a wayward teen avoid a conviction. Parents may want to pursue therapeutic options for their children who get charged with a shoplifting offense to deter further illegal behavior from occurring.