Does paying a settlement go on a criminal/permanent record?

UPDATED: Aug 19, 2010

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Does paying a settlement go on a criminal/permanent record?

I was caught shoplifting but the police weren’t involved. However I received a letter for a settlement agreement. I paid the fee, as the letter was lightly threatening, and now I’m worried if paying the fee put the incident on my record. It was my first and only offence so if it is on my record, is there any way to erase/expunge it?

Asked on August 19, 2010 under Criminal Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

The criminal and civil legal systems are wholly separate. If you were never arrested or charged, paying a settlement (presumably to the store?) should no more create a criminal record than would paying a settlement to someone for dropping and breaking their lamp, scratching the paint on their car, or breaching a contract would create a criminal record.

There are ways to expunge a criminal record of a minor misdomeanor; these generally require the passage of some number of years before doing so. Any criminal defense attorney would be able to help or at least guide you to an attorney who could help out. However, in this case, you shouldn't have to do this, if you merely settled directly with the store and  law enforcement never became involved and you were never charged or convicted.

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 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.

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