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If you are arrested for "retail" theft and get ordered by the judge to pay a fine, do you also have to pay the store?

Chandlerville, IL |

my daughter was arrested for "retail theft" and was ordered by the judge to pay a fine, and was put on court supervision. she keeps getting these letters from Walmart's lawyers saying that she has to pay $225.00 for civil demand, in accordance with 720 IL Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/16-27, which allows retailers to recover a civil demand as a result of such incident. Does she have to pay this?

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Attorney answers 5


Bottom line answer is: yes, unless she wants to fight it in civil court.

My Answers are only informational in nature and DO NOT constitute legal advice. This is a good thing because I like to speak to my clients and hear them out before giving them direct, personalized advice. Call, Email, or Text me to receive actual advice. Sincerely, Vijay R. Sharma, President of the Law Office of Vijay R. Sharma

Edward M. Rothschild

Edward M. Rothschild


Vjay, she has not been sued. These are empty threats.


There is a law in the state of Illinois 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:


No and she should not pay it. Hire an attorney to contest it.


No, do not pay it. Although Illinois law allows retailers the "ability" to collect the fine it is a CIVIL matter that carries no criminal penalties for not paying. Nor can it effect her credit rating unless they successful in suing you in a civil court which a totally different case. Nearly 100% of these letters stop after getting two or three and you never hear from them again!


Judy Goldstein and Timothy Martin are right: do not pay. They can not collect unless they file a law suit and, in my experiance, they never do, especially for such a small amount. You do not need a lawyer to "fight" it. There is nothing to fight. Just ignore these letters.

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