Stealing

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Stealing

I was caught stealing; I had an item worth $20. The LP and security grabbed me at the door; I was with my son. They wouldn’t let me go and asked me to go into their office or they would call the cops, so I cooperated. They took my ID and took my picture and made me sign a piece of paper. I left shortly after and they told me if I failed to pay the fee there would be a warrant out for my arrest. What do I do?

Asked on May 28, 2016 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The security guards can use reasonable non-deadly force to stop and detain you for investigation of shoplifting.  This is called the shopkeeper's privilege.
You will receive a letter from the store which will require payment of a fine that is much more than the value of the item taken.  If you pay the fine by the deadline, that will end the matter.  If you don't pay the fine by the deadline, the case will proceed with prosecution.


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