I was stopped for "shoplifting" at Wal-Mart, what can happen if I don't pay?

Asked over 2 years ago - Sacramento, CA

First off I did not shoplift and would admit if I did. I have epilepsy and have absent seizures and could have put something in my bag but I do not remember anything during these seizures. They are claiming I stole make-up but when they took it from my purse it was all my make-up they were claiming was theirs. It was all very used make-up as well, no were near new. They said I would receive a letter in mail for the amount I would owe them and I received that today. They say I owe them $300. They didn't show me the video of me taking anything, just me in the store looking at the make-up and then they stopped the video and wouldn't let me see any more. Do I have to pay this because I am low on money and cant afford this.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Slavik Steve Leydiker

    Contributor Level 15

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you weren't arrested, you don't have to pay anything. What you received is a civil demand. These have no legal force. These letters are sent by law firms intending to scare people into paying. It's nothing more than legal extortion. If they threaten to sue you or report you to the authorities, you don't need to worry. You will however continue to receive there letters for the foreseeable future.

    My comments are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents,... more
  2. Frank Wei-Hong Chen

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If and when you receive a civil demand letter, you do not have to pay it.

    A civil demand is not a debt and you would only have to pay it if they successfully sued you. The likelihood of that happening is almost zilch.

    Paying or not paying the civil demand will have no effect on any criminal actions which might be brought against you.

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is... more
  3. Michael Charles Doland

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . A civil demand letter from a private law firm or a company does not create an independent obligation to pay. A communication from a court, or a civil lawsuit is a different matter and you should then hire a lawyer immediately.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may... more
  4. Steven Allan Whitworth

    Contributor Level 7

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Hello,

    Do not pay this request because nothing has been proven against you either in the criminal or the civil court. There is no judgment thus no legal effect. This is a transparent attempt to extort money from you without the legal authority.

    Not knowing the entirety of your situation and without a full understanding of the facts, etc. this advice should... more

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