Can you be detained and accused of shoplifting if you are standing inside the store by the door with groceries in the cart?

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Can you be detained and accused of shoplifting if you are standing inside the store by the door with groceries in the cart?

My friend was making a phone call – trying to get reception before she checked out. She never left the store. Security pulled her in the office and gave her a civil demand notice stating that the store is permitted to recover civil damages from her. They kept the incident “in house” – they did not call the police.

Asked on February 28, 2012 under Criminal Law, New Jersey

Answers:

Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A civil demand and a criminal charge/citation for shoplifting are two different things. In Michigan, if cited for a Civil Demand for shoplifting, the person is ordered to pay up to ten times the amount of the stolen items, not to exceed $200.00. The person however has a right to object to the Civil Demand and can respond to the Demand and request a hearing on the matter. Even though the store never called the police, your friend needs to inquire with her local district court to be sure that the store did not attempt to press charges against her with the local prosecutor. If she never stole the items, then she may want to contest the Civil Demand. Contact a local criminal defense attorney in your area and speak with them for further instruction based on your State Law.


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