What will happen regarding a shoplifting incident?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What will happen regarding a shoplifting incident?

It was $26 worth of things. The guy in loss prevention took my pic asked for ID thats all. He never showed me any video footage of incident. I signed 2 papers – one for trespassing and the other he rushed me to sign it. I never left with any documentation of situation. The police were not called. He said that I would receive something in 2 weeks in mail but I don’t know if he was just trying to scare me or not.

Asked on March 5, 2018 under Criminal Law, Florida


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Chances are that no criminal action will be pursued at this point. It could be but it is not likely. From the sound of things, what will happen is that you will probably receive what is known as a "civil demand letter" in the mail. This is a letter sent by the store's attorney demanding that you pay for pay a certain sum of money regarding the incident; these "demands" are typically for far more than the cost of the item (i.e. $300 or more). However, while they are routinely made, they are rarely acted upon. As a practical matter, your chances of being sued are slim. Accordingly, you can ignore this letter if you want. Just be aware that if you don't pay you will get second letter for possibly an even higher amount. Again, you can ignore it if you choose. However, if you decide to make payment, pay no more than the cost of the item (and possibly a few dollars more). Also, put this in a letter to the sender, do not speak with them directly as these people are known for their intimidating tactics. Additionally, if you do choose to pay, keep proof of the payment. If the store does decide to pursue the case in court, the judge may order restitution so if you pay the amount requested in the civil demand letter, you can prove that no additional restitution is owed. Further, if you do have to go to court, consult directly with a local criminal law attorney; they can best advise you as to your case.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

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