Will my daughter have a record for shoplifting?


While shopping at Urban Outfitters my 20 year-old daughter absentmindedly placed a $4.99 item in her purse while continuing to shop. She then purchased a couple of items, forgetting about the one in her bag. The alarm went off as she left and a manager took her to an office where her bag was searched and the item found. The manager had her sign something (that she didn’t read) acknowledging she was banned from Urban Outfitters, Inc. stores for three years. Personal information was taken, police were not called – what can we expect now, and how might we need to proceed? Please, I do know how this sounds. I can only say with certainty that this was foolish, though serious, mistake. She has never been in trouble anywhere, be it school, work, college or in general. Thank you.


Dear Concerned Mom,

First, there are no criminal charges pending. Yet. Just because the police were not called while your daughter was physically in the store does not necessarily mean that the store manager did not report this incident. However, maybe no report was made (and that would be great for your daughter). But, it is impossible to know at this point.

Second, if there are charges filed, a citation by mail will summon your daughter to court on a certain date. The prosecutor will use the address listed on your daughter’s license for the summons, so be sure that it is correct.

If a citation is issued, the charge will be theft. That is a misdemeanor offense and can have lasting consequences.

It is always advisable to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney regarding the best course of action in a given case. In many scenarios, a trial is not necessary (especially when one does not have a criminal record).

Feel free to call me to discuss the matter in confidence. I offer free consultations and would be happy to speak to you.