If I received a civil demand for $150 for stealing a candy bar worth $2, should I pay it?

What if I can’t pay it? I’m 18 and unemployed.

Asked on July 17, 2014 under Criminal Law, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Civil demand's are routinely made in petty theft cases but rarely acted upon. In other words, you more than likely will never be sued (although there is the remote chance). Consequently you can ignore this letter if you want. Just be aware, that if you don't pay after this first letter you will get second, requesting an even higher amount.  Again, you can choose to ignore it. If you do decide to contact these people for some reason, write them; don't speak with them directly as they are notorious for their use of intimidating tactics. 

Note: If charges were filed agianst you for the theft itself so that you have to go to court, then be sure to mention to the judge if you chose to pay this demand since that will factor into any restitutuion/fines imposed.


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