Q: My 17yr daughter was caught shoplifting and we were never called isnt that required since she is a minor?

She was caught merchandise returned undamaged and noone contacted us. We werent made aware until legal letters came stating we were being held civilly liable for her actions. If I wasnt aware and she wasnt with us and we didnt even get a call about it how are we responsible? She asked if they were calling us they said she was 17 so they didnt need to but their legal letter says " If you are the parent/guardian of an unimancipated minor who unlawfully took possession of property as set above, you can be held liable if you knew or should have known the propensity of the child to commit the act complained of and you had the oppurtunity and ability to control the child and you made no reasonable effort to correct or restrain the child." She was with a friends parent christmas shopping we found out a week later with this letter...

1 Lawyer Answer
Kristen Dewar
Kristen Dewar
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: 1) In NC, 17 year olds accused of crimes are currently still charged and treated as adults, so there is no requirement for anyone to contact you if your 17 year old daughter is charged with a crime. This does not fall into Juvenile Law, as in NC, your daughter for the purposes of criminal law, is NOT a juvenile.

2) As for the letter you received, some retailers send these out as a way to recover civilly (e.g., have you pay them for their "loss") for shoplifting. I usually tell my clients to disregard these letters; if they actually are serious about recovering civilly from you, they'll file a lawsuit against you. Until that happens, I would focus on the criminal charges.

3) Was your daughter given a criminal citation for the shoplifting? I would be more concerned about that than the letter that you received from the retailer. If so, she'll need an experienced criminal defense attorney who regularly practices in that county where the shoplifting allegedly occurred, particularly one who is familiar with any diversionary programs available.

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