Do I have a criminal record?

Asked over 1 year ago - Daly City, CA

I got caught stealing a 15 dollar hat from this store. Police were not involved, but I was sent a letter two weeks later for a fine I must pay. Does this mean I have a criminal record? Do I have to pay the fine? What will happen if I don't pay?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Nicholas Milan Loncar


    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The letter that you got is likely a civil demand letter. It carries no legal authority and you do not have to pay it. Most likely, but depending on the store, they will never follow up with their letters. If you were never cited or arrested by police and never charged by the District Attorney/City Attorney, you don't have a criminal record. Still, there is a shoplifting database that could make it difficult to get a job in retail.


    Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.
    t. 323.803.4352 | f. 323.617.3838
    Sunset Law Building | 1295 W. Sunset Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA | 90026

  2. Mark Lawrence Deniz


    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . That is likely a civil demand letter. The prosecution may still charge regardless. They have a year to charge.
    If you do not pay the store can sue civilly. This is not a criminal record.

    This reply should NOT be considered a legal opinion of your case / inquiry. At this time I do not have sufficient... more
  3. Harry Edward Hudson Jr

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Co cops = no arrest = no court case and no prosecution which = no record.
    No fine in mail. Only courts issue a fine. It is a civil demand. If item was recovered in useable condition, then proof of damages difficult. Usual advice here is to just ignore the demand.

    The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client... more

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