UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption


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


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

Answered 6 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption