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I have a municipal citation(retail theft) and a demand letter from a Florida collection agency.

Milwaukee, WI |

I only receive social security disibilty and since it's a first offense I wondered that when I go to see the city attorney if it could be dropped or reduced, or possibly attend a shoplifting class online. As far as the demand letter goes can they garnish me and would it be legal. My benefits are not in an account in my name so I do not see how they could. Also, I was told that this isn't a criminal offense. Is that true?

Attorney Answers 1


  1. Yes, it is true. You have not been charged with a crime. However, DO NOT PAY because of the civil demand letter! There is a law in most states which allows for civil action collection when there is a retail theft. Most people choose to ignore the demand. This demand is for money over and above any fine you pay in compliance with a court order. People may get a few more letters, each time asking for more, and then they stop. While the retailer can sue you, it is extremely rare for anyone to actually be sued. You do not owe any money unless you are sued and the retailer wins. This is a common ploy. Do not pay. If you do, you will be in the national retailers database which could affect your ability to get a job and could impact your life in other ways. If you are uncomfortable, hire a lawyer and have the lawyer write a letter. That should be the end of it.

    Here is a good article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120347031996578719.html

    The National Retail Theft Database is actually a voluntary list put together by different individual retailers. Further, any member that published the information on the list, can thereafter, remove it. Therefore, if you wish to have the entry removed, as you apparently do, your best bet would be to write a letter to the manager of the particular store and inquire as to what it would take for them to remove the entry.

    Please go to this link:
    http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/should-i-pay-the-civil-demand-letter

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