If I recieved a civil demand letter for shoplifting, what should I do?

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If I recieved a civil demand letter for shoplifting, what should I do?

It is for $200.

Asked on March 18, 2012 under Criminal Law, Ohio

Answers:

Maury Beaulier / Minnesota Lawyers.com

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Under Minnesota Statutes, a shokepper may seek civil damages in the amount of the items take even if they, in fact recovered the items.  Before you pay the civil judgement, however, you should have your case reviewed by an attorney, Making such a payment can be used as an act indicative of guilty and, as a result, affect any underlying criminal case.

A theft offense can be very serious.  While any theft under $500 is a misdemeanor. Such an offense is still punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine.  The collateral consequences of a conviction can also be extremely significant and preclude a person from finding employment where background checks are performed. 

 
Often, if you have no prior offenses, a conviction can be avoided with a Stay of Prosecution.  A Stay of Prosecution means that the offense is never recorded on your record and stayed for a certain periofd of time to ensure that you do not have another offense.  
 
We can assist you in making sure that your record is not affected. 
 
For a FREE consultation call 612.240.8005.

John T. Nejedly / Law Offices of John T. Nejedly

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In California, the maximum is $500. It should be for the amount of property stolen. They will have a very tough time collecting unless you were charged and the Judge could order restitution as a condition of probation.

I have had seen individuals extorted by unscrupulous security guards under the disguise of the civil demand. It would be best to have counsel respond and or request a breakdown from managment of the amounts being charged, any interest and or "security fees". Most are arbitrarily added and should only include the lost merchandise.

Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In shoplifting cases, the store can order you to pay a civil demand judgement, usually the maximum per state law is $200.00. Paying the civil demand however is separate from any criminal charges that may be filed by the prosecutor for shoplifting, if any will be filed at all.


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