Skip to main content

Can a retailer use the payment of the restitution letter as evidence in criminal court

Chula Vista, CA |

I've read in this posts that retailers would more often not press criminal charges if paid the amount in the letter of restitution .. they got their merchandise back.

Now if they do press charges can they use the evidence of being paid in their case as evidence of admiting guilt, thereby your plea for "not guilty" would be shoot...

What do you recommend I would like to avoid any cops and courts and would pay the letter to the requested amount but how can that be done with out possibly incriminating myself if they press criminal charges for shoplifting?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

Probably Not... Most offers of compromise or settlement efforts are usually inadmissible in court. Allowing them to be used against a party generally would discourage parties from resolving matters prior to coming to court. However, you might want to check with a California lawyer to make sure.

Mark as helpful

Posted

The District Attorney or City Attorney makes the determination whether or not to press charges or prosecute a crime, not the alleged victim. Any civil demand letter that they send you may intimate that nonpayment will result in criminal charges or exacerbated criminal charges, but these are strong-arm collection tactics.

If you have not had any interaction with, and want to avoid "any cops" in this matter, it may be inferred that the police were not called at the time when you were detained for shoplifting. In the case of a misdemeanor, the police can only arrest you if the crime was committed in their presence, so the merchant would have had to have made a "citizen's arrest."

I would sit on the demand letter for now, and maybe forever. Chances are the merchant will not attempt to sue you on it.

Any response provided is for general, public information only and DOES NOT constitute an attorney-client relationship or any other professional relationship. You are hereby advised to contact an attorney to seek specific counsel regarding your unique legal situation, as this response is not based upon particular facts and therefore should not be relied upon. This attorney is licensed to practice law in California only. 11 U.S.C §528 Disclosure: Miranda Law Group, PC is a professional law corporation providing debt relief, assisting parties that file for bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code. *** Cualquiera respuesta provista es solo para información general al público y NO CONSTITUYE una relación abogado-cliente o cualquier otra relación profesional. Usted está advertido acudirse con un abogado para buscar consejería específica acerca de su situación legal particular, como esta respuesta no está basada en hechos particulares, y por lo tanto no deberá dependerse de ella. Este abogado tiene licencia para ejercer leyes en California solamente. Divulgación 11 U.S.C. §528: Miranda Law Group, PC es una corporación professional de leyes que provee relevo de deudas, asistiendo a partes que presentan peticiones de bancarrota bajo el Código de Bancarrota.

Mark as helpful

Posted

DO NOT PAY the civil demand letter. It has no impact on if the DA chooses to file charges. It is a scam that retailers are doing now to extort money from people. They recovered their property, they have no damages.

Mark as helpful

Posted

I disagree that paying the demand never has any effect on the prosecutor. It sometimes does, but I wouldn't pay it unless your attorney believes it will help your criminal court case.

It would not be an admission of guilt by paying it, so long as you don't sign paperwork admitting guilt.

Mark as helpful

1 comment

Asker

Posted

So the way it works is that the merchant sents this files to the DA regardless of the restitution "being paid" or would they hold off until they get paid and then decide if they file. I would like to certainly have charges not pressed thereby electing to pay the restitution.

Criminal defense topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics