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Law Offices of Michael Ira Asen civil demand

Newark, NJ |

I was caught shoplifting 20 dollars worth of stuff. They have not charged me criminally but i received a civil demand from MIchael Ira Asen demanding 150 dollars. I have gotten 2 phone calls and 3 additional letters saying my payment is due and i need to pay. Do i have to pay?

Attorney Answers 3


I'm not sure I understand what the attorney has to do with the shoplifting. Can you please elaborate?

The above is not intended to be legal advice, but may be used for general information. Please contact an attorney for specific help tailored to your needs.

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The store did not pursue with charging me, but a few days later, i received a civil demand from the said law office. Since then, i have received 3 letters asking for the same amount of 150 dollars and they have called me twice to regarding my case


This is called a civil demand letter and is legal in most states I am aware of.

You do not "have" to pay and I would usually advise not to pay. The criminal charges and the civil are very different. It is highly...extremely unlikely that they would sue over such a small amount, but not impossible. Further, paying may list you in a database that may affect your reputation.

IN most cases, they will simply go away but I have to caution that of course none of us here have crystal ball. That said, make sure you so not confuse these civil collection type letters from any formal correspondence from law enforcement.

You may want to discuss all of this over with a criminal lawyer in your area as well. Most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult.

Best regards,
Natoli-Lapin, LLC
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The law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC (Home of Lantern Legal Services) offers our flat-rate legal services in the areas of business law and intellectual property to entrepreneurs, small-to-medium size businesses, independent inventors and artists across the nation and abroad. 866-871-8655 DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.

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What could happen if they sue me over 150 dollars? If i call for a free phone consultation, would i be able to receive help free of charge?

Frank A. Natoli

Frank A. Natoli


There really is not much more to add. You can pay it, or you can choose not to pay it. But you are welcome to call my office tomorrow if you wish: 866-871-8655


This is called a "civil demand letter" and Mr. Asen is known in this field, as is Palmer & Palmer. The general agreement among Avvo attorneys is that the letter, if not followed by civil litigation, creates no independent obligation to pay.

So, no.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" 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 terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

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