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First time shoplifting offense for a minor what to do?

Rochester, MN |

I am 16 and today I was caught shoplifting from Fleet Farm for an item of $25. First I talked to the person at the store then I talked to the cop. We had a recorded conversation. I answered honestly and politely. I was given a citation. The cop said I will receive a fine in the mail for $50 and that I am also going to be given a court date. Also he thanked me for my cooperation and my politeness he also informed me that if I can talk to my prosecutor about doing something so I wont have to go to court and to have this not on my record. I have no idea what to do. Would be the best way for me to do this without having so spend much and to help my record. I have read a lot of people say the plead not guilty if I end up having to go to court.

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Attorney answers 3


Since you are a minor the matter with go through the juvenile system. As such there will not be a public record of your conviction regardless of how you proceed. However, your conviction would still be on record with law enforcement and the court, and it is important to limit the amount of information available about the offense.

If you are concerned with your juvenile record, the best thing you can do is hire an attorney. This will cost you some money, but is worth the expense. Due to the nature of the offense, you are also entitled to a public defender at no cost. Good luck.


The most important thing is to keep your record as clean as possible. At minimum, for a juvenile misdemeanor case, that would mean avoiding an adjudication as delinquent (or avoiding a conviction, in adult language). People without a lawyers help tend to not understand what is going on, and what things mean. As a result, it is better to have help from a lawyer representing you. A Public Defender could be helpful, or a private defense lawyer. See links below for more.


The best thing to do in order to keep your record clean is to challenge the case in court. This doesn't mean you take the case all the way to trial, but you do go to court and talk to the prosecutor about possible resolutions. This may best be done with the help of an attorney (either a private attorney or a public defender is you qualify). There are ways to resolve the case and preserve your record at the same time. Obviously, there is a cost with a private attorney; however, it is well worth the money. You may want to call a few attorneys to see what it would cost, as not all attorneys have the same rates.

I hope you find this information helpful. I wish you the best of luck.

Andrew Leone