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Do I have a criminal record?

San Diego, CA |

about 3 weeks ago i was caught shoplifting at walmart. they said id receive a civil demand in the mail asking me to pay(i recieved nothing yet) but they took my information and said id be in store records. does that also mean MY records?

Attorney Answers 7

Posted

Criminal record means arrest or conviction after trial or plea. If no arrest, should be no state criminal record.

Civil demand letter has been referred to as a "legitimate rip-off hoax". You going to fall for it?

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Asker

Posted

thank you and as for the "hoax" ive read claims on all kinds of forum websites and many people claim theyre being sued and now owe 10,000$ instead of the original fine of say 400$

Posted

If they haven't reported this to the police then the only record you have is with the store- not an actual criminal record with law enforcement.

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Posted

If you weren't arrested, you don't have anything to worry. If the police showed up and gave you a citation, this constitutes an arrest. Also, if you weren't arrested, I suggest you do not pay anything. Civil demands have no legal force. The letter will probably threaten to sue you and/or report you to the authorities, but that's BS. I have never seen that happen. Good luck.

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Posted

My colleagues are correct. A civil demand letter written by a law firm or company creates no independent obligation to pay. If you receive a notice from a court, including but not limited to a civil lawsuit, you should respond and probably consult a lawyer.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

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Asker

Posted

that's a little contradicting. i'm not obligated but they CAN take me to court?

Michael Charles Doland

Michael Charles Doland

Posted

The store has until the expiration of the statute of limitations to file a civil lawsuit. The percentage chance of this happenning is very, very low. However, lawyers, in their analysis, try not to overlook possibilities even if very, very low.

Posted

Negative.

Law Offices of David Shapiro 3555 4th Avenue San Diego, CA 92103 (619) 295-3555

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Posted

Unless the incident is reported to the police department, then no you will not have a criminal record. You will get a civil extortion letter. I use these as toilet paper on a regular basis. They can be useful for cat litter box liners, paper airplanes, and a variety of other activities. Payment? Hell no.

Law Offices of Craig Renetzky
www.notgoingtojail.com

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Posted

A civil demand letter does not constitute the filing of criminal charges. However, if you were either arrested by the police, or cited for a crime, then that would show up on a criminal background check. I would advise you to keep an eye on your mail as the notice that criminal charges have been filed are sometimes mailed to you.

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