Shoplifting, as with any other form of theft, is a serious offense regardless of the age of the person responsible. If your child faces shoplifting charges in the state of Wisconsin, you might understandably wish to know how severe the consequences can be.
Juvenile offenses can affect a minor’s future and may also entail repercussions for the family. You can take the best steps forward by understanding the consequences of shoplifting, whether the court tries your child as a juvenile or as an adult.
What are the penalties for shoplifting in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin legal statutes define shoplifting or retail theft as the act of depriving a merchant of their possessions or the full purchase price of the merchandise. A first-time offense of shoplifting goods valued at $500 or less is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and as many as 9 months in prison. Shoplifting an excess of $500 of property is a felony that may imply up to 3.5 years of jail time.
Do juveniles face different consequences for shoplifting?
When a minor commits retail theft, circumstances may allow for the release of the child to their parents with the possibility of mandatory restitution, community service and participation in corrective programs. However, extreme circumstances may allow the prosecution to try the juvenile offender as an adult. While this is only likely to occur in cases that involve high-level felony offenses, it is important to remember that a juvenile tried as an adult can receive the full penalties of a conviction.
Verdicts handed down by the juvenile court can be relatively lenient so long as the minor and their family comply with the terms of the sentence. When a crime goes beyond a juvenile offense, even minors can face harsh consequences for their actions.