CIVIL PENALTY CLAIM/MISDEMEANOR FOR JUVENILE

Asked over 5 years ago - Tampa, FL

I HAVE A CLAIM FROM AN ATTORNEY RERESENTING WALMARTS IN TAMPA FLORIDA.
THE CLAIM IS FOR $200.00.
THIS DERIVED FROM MY DAUGHTER GETTING CAUGHT SHOPLIFTING $32.00 WORTH OF CONDOMS/ OF ALL THINGS.
I AM NOT EXCUSING MY DAUGHTER FROM HER GUILT HOWEVER, WE HAD JUST LOST HER DADDY FROM A FATAL HEART ATTACK (2) WEEKS PRYOR AND HER BEHAVIOR WAS THE OPPOSITE OF HER NORM.
MY DAUGHTER HAS NEVER BEEN IN ANY TROUBLE, IS VERY ACTIVE IN SCHOOL ACTIVITIES,HAS A GOOD GRADE RECORD AND IS GEARED FOR COLLEGE/POSSIBLY SCHOOL TEACHER.
MY QUESTION IS,,IF I PAY THIS, DO I STILL HAVE TO TAKE HER TO TAMPA FOR THE COURT DATE?
HER DADDY WAS A RETIRED LIEUTENANT OF THE GHILCREST COUNTY'S SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT.
RESPECTFULLY YOURS,
A VERY SAD PARENT

Additional information

MY DAUGHTER IS 16 YAERS OLD

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Leslie Miller Sammis

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . I always warn all of my client's charged with shoplifting about these letters. You will probably receive another letter in about 45 days which is called a "Second Notice" and will demand $475 instead of the $200 demanded in the first letter.

    Read the article below from the Wall Street Journal that suggests that these letters are sent out by large retail establishments without any intention of ever filing a civil law suit. For instance, the large retailer "Lord & Taylor" was able to collect about 1 million in civil recovery from shoplifters in one year just from the letters, when not one lawsuit was actually filed. The article also discussed the Florida law firm Palmer, Reifler and Associates, which send out 1.2 million letters a year, but filed less than 10 lawsuit in one year.

    If no damage was done to the merchandise allegedly taken during a shoplifting incident then no actual damages resulted. Thousands of people ignore the letters in similar circumstances with no negative consequence,

    Although no attorney can tell you for sure that you will not be sued if you throw the letter away, the fact that these "law firm" almost never follows up with a lawsuit should help you make your decision.

  2. Aaron J. Slavin

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . The short answer is yes. The letter you received is from an attorney working on Walmart's behalf to obtain civil restitution in lieu of a suit. Regardless of whether you pay that money or not, the State Attorney's Office will have the sole decision as to whether or not they pursue the criminal retail theft charge against your daughter.

    I'm sorry to hear about your current situation. If you have any specific questions, you can contact my law office in Clearwater.

    My best,

    Aaron J. Slavin, Esq.
    SLAVIN LAW FIRM, LLC

  3. Alec Scott Rose

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . Most states have statutes that permit stores that are victims of shoplifting to bill a set amount of expenses to the shoplifter. Parents of minors who are found delinquent can be held liable for expenses and restitution owed by the child. If you fail to pay the bill, it may negatively affect your credit. The civil penalty is separate from the criminal or juvenile court proceedings, however, I suggest bringing proof of the payment with you to juvenile court, and asking your daughter's defense lawyer if the court might take it into consideration in reducing any fines your daughter is ordered to pay. Your daughter's eligibility for college, employment or other opportunities could be negatively affected by a juvenile court delinquency record. You should consult with an experienced local juvenile criminal defense attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, request a public defender when you get to court.

  4. Alec Scott Rose

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . Most states have statutes that permit stores that are victims of shoplifting to bill a set amount of expenses to the shoplifter. Parents of minors who are found delinquent can be held liable for expenses and restitution owed by the child. If you fail to pay the bill, it may negatively affect your credit. The civil penalty is separate from the criminal or juvenile court proceedings, however, I suggest bringing proof of the payment with you to juvenile court, and asking your daughter's defense lawyer if the court might take it into consideration in reducing any fines your daughter is ordered to pay. Your daughter's eligibility for college, employment or other opportunities could be negatively affected by a juvenile court delinquency record. You should consult with an experienced local juvenile criminal defense attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, request a public defender when you get to court.

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