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Len
Len, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 444
Experience:  15 years practice in criminal and employment law.
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My 17yo son was caught shoplifting along with his 13yo friend

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My 17yo son was caught shoplifting along with his 13yo friend who was also caught. They received a juvenile citation for the offense. This was both of thems first offense ever, of any kind. The store they were caught in is saying that they are going to fax a company called Esteem the information regarding the theft and that this information will be available to anyone that does a background check on them and this will affect them getting jobs, financing, leases, etc. in the future. My question is, can they send that information to this company even though they are minors? I realize the juvenile record cannot be changed, but can they release this information to this other company while they are underage? They have also been banned from this store and all stores across America for the rest of their life, which I think is a little harsh given this is their first time EVER being in trouble with the law. Please help me find out our sons legal rights in this matter. Thank You

Hello,

 

I'll try and help, but I need dome more information:

 

1. Was he formally charged in juvenile court?

 

2. Was he prosecuted?

 

3. Do you have any other info on "Esteem"?

 

Thanks,

 

Len

 

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
The incident just happened yesterday. They were issued a juvenile citation and we were instructed to call Youth Services Division on Monday 1/5/09. I'm not sure what will happen then. My son attempted to steal $69.97 worth of merchandise and his friend attempted to steal $19.97 worth. We were told by the loss prevention officer that its up to juvenile hall and he said that our punishment for them would probably be worse than theirs. As far as the company "Esteem", the only information I have on them is a website www.esteemnet.com I have never heard of this company prior to this incident. Thank you again for your time and attention.
Cheryl

Thanks for the additional info.

 

I believe you are going to need a lawyer to assist you locally. There is no substitute for that, here's why:

 

I checked out the Esteem website, and right now, your son's situation does not seem to fit any of their parameters. He stands charged, but not convicted. Also, he is not an employee. I would hire an attorney to get on this with appropriate stern language to put the store and Esteem on notice: the he is not convicted, and that he is a juvenile. This will probably slow them down, and it will be critical to your son's future should prospective employers utilize the Esteem services.

 

Now, as to the charge, it will be up to the juvenile department whether to keep this as an informal referral, or to file a full petition. if this is his first referral, I don't think it will go judicial, but they may require some responsibility classes, counselling, and community service. It will make a big impression if you were able to explain how seriously you are taking this and the steps taken at home to get your son's attention.

 

I think the last part of your question is perhaps the most important. As a former career prosecutor and now back in criminal defense, I can tell you that this incident is not the "end of the world" for your son. All previous opportunities remain on the table. He may or may not even have an entry on his NCIC (criminal record), because without a formal arrest and detention, the actual authorities don't know who your child is. Again, a good lawyer that knows the local courts can be very important in making a difference.

 

He'll get through this, and if he doesn't a repeat performance of anything similar, he will be fine. But, for now, may a few more days, it probably wouldn't hurt that he continue very concerned. (I've got two teens myself).

 

I hope this help you.

 

Len

 

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