What can I do if 2 months ago I was caught stealing a $10 ring from a store but now the store is saying that I have to pay $600?

UPDATED: Dec 24, 2014

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What can I do if 2 months ago I was caught stealing a $10 ring from a store but now the store is saying that I have to pay $600?

I have not had my court date yet.

Asked on December 24, 2014 under Criminal Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Did you get a letter in the mail from an attorney telling you that you need to pay the money to avoid prosecution?  These are called "civil demand" letters and they are often sent out after arrests for petty theft.  They are bullying techniques.  Do not respond to the letters.  Do not call the attorney.  Do you have a lawyer for the petty theft charge?  Get one.  Ask about a diversion program that will leave you without a record.  As long as you are a first time offender it should be an offer made to you.  Get help. 

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