If my daughter got a shoplifting charge, what should I do?

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If my daughter got a shoplifting charge, what should I do?

She was at a store and was trying to pay for some make up but the cashier said she could not buy it because she was a minor. So my daughter left the line to look for her sister to get it but loss prevention stopped her. She was not trying to steal it but only step past the alarm to call her sister. Their was no sign saying she couldn’t buy the make up because of age limit. What should I do? She has no prior record for any theft. Is it expensive?

Asked on December 29, 2015 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Shoplifting is a criminal offense; accordingly your daughter should retain legal representation counsel. An experienced criminal defense attorney might be able to get the charge dismissed or at least get it reduced. Also, assuming that she is a first-time offender, she may be offered what is called as "diversion" (or your state's equivalent). This is an alternative sentencing program in which she will go to court and plead guilty to the charge, receive a special probation, and upon successful completion, her plea will be withdrawn and the case dismissed. 
That having been said, diversion is only allowed for a first offense. This means that if your daughter ever again get into trouble (let's hope not), it will not be available to her regarding any future charge. Therefore, if you hire a lawyer to defend her, and they get the case dismissed, she will be eligible for diversion should she ever need it.


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