What will happen to me if I got caught shoplifting by loss prevention at a retail store?

UPDATED: Sep 13, 2014

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What will happen to me if I got caught shoplifting by loss prevention at a retail store?

I was accused of allegedly stealing pre-natal vitamins. LP brought me back but the cops were not called; they just asked for ID. I never signed anything nor was I given a citation or had pictures taken. They told me they would still allow me in the store as well. They just told me that I would be getting a civil demand in the mail and that if I didn’t pay it then it could turn into criminal charges. I am so nervous about this and feel terrible over the incident. I suffer from anxiety and depression as it is. I can’t sleep. Do I have to worry that I will be getting a summons in the mail for criminal court if I wasn’t arrested at the time of incident or having cops come to my door to arrest me?

Asked on September 13, 2014 under Criminal Law, New York


Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The civil demand they send you has nothing to do with criminal.  Generally it says that if you do not pay, they will sue you in civil court.  The demand is always for more than the value of the item you allegedly tried to steal.  If you do not pay it, they will just keep sending you the demands, and the amount will go up each time.  However, they will never really sue you.  No lawyer is going to threaten to file criminal charges if you do not pay a civil demand - it would be unethical.

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