What to do about a shoplifting incident?

I’m 23 years old and got caught stealing baby wipes and 2 moisturizers yesterday. I know it was super stupid and I don’t plan on doing it ever again. I’m just scared about what will happen. They took me to the back of the store and asked for my ID and wrote down my information. Then they told me that I may receive a civil demand letter in the mail. They also told me I’m not allowed back in the store for the next 6 months and had me sign the trespassing contract. The whole thing took about 10 minutes and then they let me go. If I get the civil demand letter in the mail should I pay it or does it not make a difference? Also, will they press charges? If so, what should I do? The items I stole came to about $15. This is my first time getting in trouble for shoplifting.

Asked on March 30, 2018 under Criminal Law, Nevada


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

At this point, considerig the fact that the police were not called on the spot and the amount in question is minimal, in all liklihood no charges will be filed; it doens't men that they won't be but probably not. Instead you will receive a "civil demand letter" from a law firm in the mail. When you do, you need not pay it. The fact is that these demands are rarely acted upon, therefore if you want, you can ignore the letter (however, you will more than likley get a second and for possibly an even higher amount). If you do deceide to pay, only offer about $50 and no more; that should settle things. And just be aware that these people are notorious for their intimidating tactics, so stand your ground. In fact try to deal with them by email or in a letter versus a phone call. 

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