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Got caught shoplifting at Urban Outfitters.

Boston, MA |

I was caught shoplifting at the Urban Outfitters today. I am 19 years old. This is my first offence and first time caught shoplifting. The items totaled up to about $250. I was escorted into the manager's office where my info was taken. Since I did not have a legal ID on me and only had my school and work ID, they took my information from them. They asked for my address and instead of the address of my parents', where I am registered under to be the resident, I gave them my address for my dorm next semester. Two cops came and they already knew my residence (my parents'). I am/was very regretful, and apologetic and polite to them. Will they send the notice to the first address I gave them or my parents'? Will this be on my record?

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Attorney answers 4


Prosecutors has broad discretion - Some of my past shoplifting cases were resolved in one single hearing, either by a fine or outright dismissal without leaving any record; other cases will take more time and effort. It all depends. Considering your young age, first time offender, and the relatively low value of the property, the court will likely be lenient.

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Thank you for your helpful answer. Will I need to go to court? When and where will they mail all these documents to?

Jennifer Wang

Jennifer Wang


If you want to avoid the summons being sent to a certain address, you may have your lawyer get in touch with the police and request it be sent to a particular address that you designate, In the alternative, I have requested criminal summons be sent directly to my law office when my clients did not have a mailing address themselves. Since there was no arrest, Massachusetts criminal procedure will allow your lawyer to request the court to waive your initial appearance in court, although you may not want to do that. By taking that chance, you may end up with a default warrant. Then you must come to court to vacate the warrant.



Thank you very much, again. What are the chances that there will be no prosecution and only just a civil demand notice?



What are the chances that this will not be on my record? Also what are the chances of jail time or being on probation and such?


Given that the police came you will most likely be recieving in the mail a summons to attend a clerk's hearing to determine if there is probable cause to issue criminal charges. If you recieve this summons you should contact and retain a criminal defense attorney. A clerk's hearing is a very good opportunity to avoid having this come up on your criminal record and the clerk has descretion to issue or dismiss the criminal case at this stage even if there is probable cause.

You will also most likely receive from the store or its attorney a civil demand letter. MA law allows stores to file civil law suits for shoplifting cases to recover actual damages and an additional $500. I usually advise people to ignore the civil demand letter from the store, the store would have to file a lawsuit to collect and they rarely do because it is not cost effective.

I have supplied links below for more information on Clerk's Hearings and Shoplifting cases.

David Newton, Esq.

This is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.


That the police are involved indicates that UA intends to prosecute. You will likely receive a notice to appear at a clerk magistrate's show cause hearing.

To minimize the damage from this event, you may wish to retain counsel. The MA and Boston bar associations can provide referrals.

The foregoing is for general information purposes and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


You will likely get a summons to appear in court. This will be for either a Magistrate's Hearing (see link at the end) or for an Arraignment. Either way, you'll need to consult with an attorney ASAP.
The summons will likely go to the address the police have for you, unless that address changes somehow (contact through an attorney).
If you get arraigned (officially charged) it will show up on your CORI, unless it is sealed. There is more to what's on your record and what is reported, but at this stage it is too early to say due to the fact that the situation may go in different directions.
Lastly, UA may send you a demand letter to pay a fine. This is a civil demand, and you are not obligated to pay it unless there is a court order directing you to do so (they would need to sue you in Small Claims Court).

Hope this helps and good luck.

Ilir Kavaja, Esq.

The above is NOT legal advice, and is NOT intended to be legal advice. No Attorney-Client relationship is created through the above answer.

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