If your child has been accused of shoplifting, it is important to take action to get them good legal representation right away. While in some cases it may make sense to reach a deal or agreement, the charge can also be challenged. There are ways to fight against a shoplifting charge, but it's harder to do on your own. You need an attorney who knows the law in that area, and who will use all the proper defenses to the charge.
The Intent of the Crime Matters
Whether your child meant to take the item and deliberately removed it from the store does matter. If an attorney can prove that it was an honest mistake, it's possible that the charges will be dropped. If someone has their hands full, for example, and sticks an item in their pocket so they can reach for something else, there's no real intent to steal that item. They may forget to take it from their pocket at the checkout stand, but they aren't deliberately trying to shoplift or get away with anything. Trying to return an item or pay for it once they realize their mistake can also show that their intentions were not toward stealing.
What Did Witnesses Really See?
Not all stores have video surveillance. For those that don't, or for those where the alleged crime wasn't captured on video, witness testimony is often what is used. However, it's possible that a witness saw something incorrectly, and several witnesses will usually have very different stories about what happened. That makes discrediting their testimony and getting the charges reduced or dropped a possibility.
Working with a criminal defense lawyer when your child is facing a shoplifting charge could change the outcome of a case. In some cases, the charge may be dropped entirely. In other cases, the charge or the sentence that comes with being found guilty of it may be greatly reduced.