Should I pay a civil demands letter even if there is a chance for a lawsuit?

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Should I pay a civil demands letter even if there is a chance for a lawsuit?

Charged for petty larceny by Wal-Mart, my options are pay 1000 fine, possibly
up to 6 months in jail or both. I was wondering if there is a way I could do
community service or probation.

Asked on January 27, 2017 under Criminal Law, Nevada

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

In these type cases, civil demands are routinely made, but they are rarely acted on, therefore your chance of being sued is quite low. Accordingly, you can choose to ignore this letter if you want. However, you should be aware that if you don't pay this first demand you will probably get second, and for possibly an even higher amount.  Again, you can choose to ignore it. If you decide that you want to make payment, then give no more than $50 or so. And put this in a letter; do not speak with theses collectors directly as they are known for their threatening and intimidating tactics. Finally, if you choose to pay prior to any potential court appearance, keep proof of your payment.  In such a case, the judge may order restitution, so if you pay the amount requested in the civil demand letter, you can prove that no additional money is owed.


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