What do I do now if I was stopped for shoplifting?

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What do I do now if I was stopped for shoplifting?

I was caught shoplifting and they took down my information and banned me from the store. The police weren’t involved as far as I know and they let me go after that. I am a minor so I don’t know if it was put on my record or not. I want to know how long I’m banned, how they used my information, and how this will effect my near future?

Asked on August 12, 2011 Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I want to encourage you to tell an adult that you trust about what happened.  This way you have back up ready when and if things get a bit hairy.   First, your name will be on their "list" indefinitely.  What they can do with the information depends on many things and mostly state law.  What will happen next, though, is that you will probably get a letter in the mail from them or their legal representatives indicatinga fine that they wish you to pay.  Do not pay it.  It is an attempt on their part to collect money that is really not owed to them and a way to scare you.  They did not report the crime.  I guess that they could after the fact but there is something lost in doing that.  Further, should you be convicted of the crime and have to pay restitution, you would only have to pay for the value of the object you allegedly stole, should they not have been able to retrieve it or it was damaged in some way.  Have the adult you trust go with you to speak with someone about the matter.  It was not a smart move but I hope you have learned from it. 


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