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What if your teenager is caught shoplifting?

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2024 | Juvenile Charges |

As parents, we understand the necessity of teaching our children right from wrong; one of those “wrongs” is stealing. So, when you receive a phone call that your teenager was caught shoplifting, it’s understandable that you would be upset.

Educating yourself about the juvenile justice system will allow you and your teen to find a way to navigate this challenging situation.

Juvenile offender laws

The juvenile justice system is for individuals under the age of 18. If a teenager commits an act that would be considered a criminal charge if committed by an adult, their case will be referred to Iowa’s juvenile court. 

Juvenile delinquency proceedings in Iowa typically begin with filing a delinquency petition, which outlines the alleged offenses committed by the juvenile. The court then schedules hearings to review the charges, assess the juvenile’s needs, and determine appropriate interventions or dispositions based on the circumstances of the case.

Shoplifting offenses in Iowa can result in various consequences depending on the value of the stolen items, prior criminal history and circumstances of the incident. Iowa’s juvenile justice system aims to offer rehabilitation, education and intervention programs. 

Therefore, penalties may include fines, community service, restitution to the store, educational programs, probation or placement in juvenile facilities to address underlying issues and promote positive behavior change.

If your teenager is caught shoplifting, keep the following in mind:

  • Remain calm, provide emotional support and refrain from judgment or blame.
  • Cooperate with the authorities involved in the situation.
  • Use the shoplifting incident as an opportunity to address root causes.

It’s crucial to discuss your teenager’s situation with someone who can advocate for their rights and work on a strategy to mitigate the consequences of the shoplifting incident.

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