Shoplifting as a Minor in California
When committing any kind of crime while under the age of 18, laws will apply differently than if you commit a crime as an adult. If you shoplift as a minor in California, the consequences and penalties will differ and it’s worth knowing the difference.
Focus on Rehabilitation
As an adult, you will be given consequences that punish you for the crime you commit. These often include heavy fines, jail time, and more. However, it is slightly different for minors. When you commit any crime as a minor, the focus is on rehabilitating the individual rather than punishing them. They are given chances to improve themselves and learn from their mistakes. Examples might include remedial classes. Overall, the minor will be given a chance to grow and learn so they can avoid repeat mistakes in the future.
While there is an emphasis on rehabilitation, there are still consequences that a minor will face if they shoplift. In many cases, judges will require the minor to pay restitution to whoever they shoplifted from. The amount will either be equal to what was stolen or slightly higher. The money is paid in several different ways. If the minor has money already, they will pay the restitution themselves. If they don’t have money, then their parents are often responsible for paying. However, there is also an option for the minor to get a job to pay restitution. They can have a choice of whether or not they will get a job, but a judge may also require them to get a job to pay off the money.
Probation and/or Confinement
Minors can also face either probation or confinement for shoplifting. Their probation may include several factors such as community service, maintaining good grades, classes, and other requirements. They will also have to report to a probation officer until their probation has been fulfilled. Confinement is often reserved for more serious cases. Since they are minors, they are typically placed in a detention center or similar facility. If the severity of the shoplifting increases, they may be placed in an actual confinement facility.
Shoplifting as a minor may not seem like a serious crime, but it does come with serious consequences. They are less than those faced by adults while still punishing the minor for their crimes.
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Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.