Skip to main content

Caught shoplifting at Wal-Mart, what's going to happen?

Palmer, MA |

I am 16 years old, and I was with my friend who is 19. We walked into Wal-mart and secret shoppers followed us because my friend had a backpack on (just for her clothes from a prior sleepover) and they saw us steal a few items totaling just under 50 dollars, and they have pictures of us stealing the items. When we were walking out the alarms went off, so we stepped to the side. We got brought into an office and gave back every item we stole. They took our information and called the cops and are pressing charges. My parents were called and I was brought home, and I'm being fined $500. I have a juvenile court date, and I'm not sure what's going to happen to my friend. Can they get jail time for this? Will they have the same court date and fine?

Attorney Answers 4


Based on the facts that you stated, no one will get jail time.
As to court date, if they are to be brought to a different court and arraigned as adult, they will likely get different date. If this is the first offense, court tends to be more lenient than repeat offenders.

J.W.LAW, Office locations: Quincy & Worcester, MA, New York Tel. 617.221.3030 If you find the attorneys' answers are helpful, please thank the attorneys by marking their answers "helpful" or "best answers" so that they can get their credit from AVVO. The attorneys donate their time on AVVO to answer legal questions for free merely contribute their legal advice and do not create any legal representation relationships.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

3 lawyers agree


Your parents should hire a criminal defense attorney in your area to assist you with your court date. The fines and jail time vary for a misdemeanor from state to state. If this is your first offense, you will not likly be looking at any jail time but community service or counseling could be a option.

Attorney Stacy E. Pepper is licensed in all State and Federal Courts in Mississippi. He is a founding Partner in the law firm of Pepper & Odom, P.C. Nothing posted here constitutes any attorney client relationship and is meant for educational purposes only. Office hours are 8:00 a.m till 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone: 601-914-9219 Facsimile: 888-456-2160

Mark as helpful

3 lawyers agree


I'm not sure how you got a $500 fine if you haven't been to court yet. Also, if $50 is all the property taken is worth, then the offense is a misdemeanor. You can get jail time for this because the statute allows for it. In all likelihood, however, you will pay restitution and get some probation, but all depends on the facts.

Mark as helpful


The fine that you are referring to is most likely a civil demand letter that an attorney for the store will send to you. The law allows for a store in these types of cases to file a civil lawsuit to recover up to $500 above actual damages. If the store wants the money from the civil demand letter they have to file a civil lawsuit and they rarely do file suit. If they charged your friend with just a 1st offense shoplifting then he can not get jail time, however if they charge him with larceny under $250 then he can. I have provided a link below for more information on shoplifting offenses in MA.

This is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Mark as helpful

1 lawyer agrees

Juvenile law topics

Recommended articles about Juvenile law

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics