A call informing you that the police arrested your child for shoplifting in Norfolk can be an overwhelming and distressing experience for any parent. While it is natural to feel upset, it is crucial to remember that your child's rights need to be protected and that taking immediate action is essential. You should retain an experienced Norfolk criminal defense lawyer who can guide your child and you through the legal process and ensure the best possible outcome for your child.
Steps to Take If Your Child is Charged with Shoplifting
The actions you take after your child's arrest can have a direct impact on what happens to them in their criminal case. Here are the crucial steps you need to take:
Understand the Law
Familiarize yourself with Virginia's specific shoplifting laws, the offense's elements, potential penalties, and any available defenses. You must also know how your child's case may be handled in juvenile court. Having a solid understanding of the law will help you make informed decisions throughout the legal process.
Exercise your Child's Rights
It is crucial to protect your child's rights. Advise your child to remain silent and not make any statements to the police without the presence of an attorney. Additionally, they have the right to legal representation. Encourage your child to exercise these rights to avoid making potential self-incriminating statements.
Hire an Attorney
Retaining a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer who specializes in juvenile offenses is vital. A skilled attorney will know the intricacies of the juvenile justice system and can provide expert guidance tailored to your child's specific case. They will assess the evidence, explore potential defenses, and work towards minimizing the consequences your child may face.
Collaborate with your lawyer to gather all relevant information about the incident. Obtain a detailed account of what happened from your child, including any witnesses or circumstances that may support their defense. Providing your attorney with as much information as possible will assist in building a strong defense strategy.
Explore Diversion Programs
In some cases, Virginia offers diversion programs for first-time juvenile offenders. These programs provide an opportunity for rehabilitation rather than punishment, focusing on education, counseling, and community service. Your attorney can help determine if your child is eligible for a diversion program and guide you through the process.
Attend Court Hearings
Support your child by attending all court hearings and cooperating with the legal process. It is essential to demonstrate to the court that you take your child's offense seriously and are actively addressing their actions. Follow your lawyer's guidance regarding courtroom etiquette and behavior to present a positive image to the judge.