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Can I request a store to lower my civil demand?

New York, NY |

I received a letter from an attorney(not a court) demanding five times the amount of the valued merchandise, which was returned to the store. Do I have to go to civil court to have the fine lowered? If I ask my mother to speak to the store manager about lowering the fine, what are the chances they will agree to it, and I plan to give an apology letter to them. I want to take responsibility for my mistake but I can't fulfill this payment in the 25 days

Attorney Answers 6

  1. You do not have to go to civil court. Do not have your mother or anyone else speak to anyone. Don't apologize, just don't shoplift anymore. Ignore the letter.

  2. I advise my clients not to pay this civil demand because I have never seen a store sue to collect as it is not worth their time and money. I write letters to the store or their attorneys for my clients directing the store or its lawyers not to communicate with my client and to only deal with me. This stops the store or its lawyers from contacting my clients any further.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 577-9797 or via email at I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

  3. You could be making a very serious mistake responding to that letter in any way or in paying any part of the demand. You may mean well, but you could add considerably to your troubles without doing either the store or your own honor any good. I would consult a NY attorney about this.

    As for the action you propose . . . don't do it.

  4. Do not pay it at all.

    Joseph A. Lo Piccolo, Esq.
    Immediate Past President, Criminal Courts Bar Association 11'-12'
    Hession Bekoff & Lo Piccolo
    1103 Stewart Ave, Suite 200
    Garden City, NY 11530
    516-408-3666 (o) / 516-408-3833 (f)

    I am a criminal defense attorney practicing in Nassau, Suffolk and New York City. The above information is not a substitution for a meeting whereas all potential legal issues can be discussed.

  5. Generally, clients are advised not to pay the civil demand and resolve it
    as part of your criminal case.

    Sent wirelessly, please excuse typos and brevity.

    This answer has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice of Todd A. Spodek, Esq., Storobin & Spodek, LLP, or any of its attorneys, and is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date. You should not act, or rely on any information in this website without seeking the independent advice of an attorney of your choice.

  6. I typically advise clients not to pay the civil demand letters because they are not owed unless they get a civil judgment against someone---and they rarely ever attempt to do this.

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