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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 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.


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