Hey, I have a quick question. I caught
got stealing yesterday from Wal-Mart.
Wasn’t much stuff only 20 worth, I’m
currently 17 years old, I was with my 14
year old sister as well. They didn’t call
the cops or prosecute. All they did was
give us a letter saying how Wal-Mart
can fine that possible since they
didn’t prosecute or call the police? And
if it is possible how much would the fine
be? I live in Illinois by the way.

Asked on March 27, 2016 under Criminal Law, Illinois


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a store can "fine" you under the circumstances. Actually, what it is called is making a "civil demand". And the fact is that you don't have to pay such a demand since most stores do not enforce them in civil court. In other words, they won't bother to sue because it typically isn't worth the time and expense. That having been said, if you are sued the the store obtains a judgement against you, you could end up being liable for the money and ordered to pay the store's attorney's fees. However, my advice is to not pay the demand unless the store actually files suit against you. Also, you should also be aware that you will likely receive another for an even higher amount and again you can choose to ignore it.

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