If i get a demand letter for an amount of $360 dollars from target for theft should i pay it? Petty theft of $90. Can i get prosecuted by the state?

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If i get a demand letter for an amount of $360 dollars from target for theft should i pay it? Petty theft of $90. Can i get prosecuted by the state?

I recently got a letter from target for theft that happened in march. I got a letter for $360 dollars and i paid it. what are the chances of getting prosecuted by the state. This is my first offense never introuble in my life! I have learned by lesson and i am very worried. I am 20 years old i am a full time student and i work 35 hours a week. Please help me out and let me know what should happen. I have heard that if i pay the demand it is less likely that the state would prosecute. Please help.

Asked on April 20, 2009 under Criminal Law, Ohio

Answers:

S.B.A., Member, California and Texas Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Target is using a civil restitution Statute which allows them to charge an offender a civil fee for the costs of security and loss of goods. You were smart in paying this - they have an absolute right to the fee. Even if the item stolen was ten cents, they have a statutory right to that 'civil restitution' fine.

Regarding criminal charges, if you did not receive a citation from the police dept yet, you will probably not be charged. You may have dodged a bullet.

Most thefts are recorded on closed circuit video security cameras, and, therefore, it's hard to defend the charge of petty theft. If you weren't given a citation & were not taken to the police dept for fingerprinting & picture, then you probably aren't going to be charged. You should have signed an agreement not to go into that store, or that mall. Stay away.

Most jurisdictions have up to one year to charge a misdemeanor offense, but petty theft is usually charged quickly, as security officers often change jobs.

 


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