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


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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.