Should I ignore or pay a restitution fee?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Should I ignore or pay a restitution fee?

I was recently caught trying to shoplift. I was pulled aside brought to a back room. There, they took down my info off of my ID. The cops were never involved and I never signed an admittence paper or anything like that. However, I am now being sent papers asking for a restitution fee. Should I pay it or are they trying to make quick money from scaring me?

Asked on December 29, 2017 under Criminal Law, Nevada


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

This restitution fee is known as a "civil demand". Such a demand is commonly used in place of filing petit theft charges. Many times a shoplifter is given a choice of paying the demand and never setting foot in that store again, etc. or else the store will file charges. However, the fact is that you need not pay it as these demands are rarely acted upon. Therefore, your chances of being sued are unlikley (but possible) so you can ignore this letter. just be aware that if you do, you will more than likley get a second and for possibly an even higher amount. Again, if you choose, you can ignore it. 

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