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Your kid shoplifted, so what’s next?

Most parents are well aware of their kids’ flaws. Maybe they never do homework or they are really lazy when it comes to their chores. Mostly, that doesn't matter. You’re going to love your child no matter what, even if they start shoplifting.

You should know that shoplifting is not a crime that New Jersey takes lightly. In addition to penalties for committing the crime, you are also required to pay an additional fine to cover the store owner’s costs. If your child was accused of shoplifting, you will probably end up paying those fines, but what happens after? Here is a short guide for handling your kids after they’ve been sentenced.

Consider your punishment carefully

The judge has a set of precedents they need to fall back on, you don’t. You know your kid and what works for them. In some cases, you may have to take away some privileges you’ve allowed them; in some cases you may do nothing at all. You have a wide range of opportunities to make an impression, but you want to use an effective punishment, not necessarily an intimidating one.

Be open and honest with your kids

Everyone makes mistakes and you should be honest with your kids about how you feel about what they did. Open a conversation about their decisions leading up to their crime and try to see their side. At the same time, they need to know what you expect from them to start rebuilding trust.

Look into expungements

Expunging a criminal record means that the person can legally declare that they never committed that crime. The process in New Jersey requires many forms and waiting periods involved and you should consider contacting a lawyer to assist you in filing.

Let your kid know you are on their side

When your kid is accused of a crime it’s hard not to take it personally. The important thing to remember is that your child's problems are not your fault. They are being held responsible by the law, and you should be there to support them. Help them come out of this ordeal with the confidence that making a single mistake isn’t the end of the world.

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Law Offices of Joel Bacher
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