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My friend and i got caught shop lifting in the mall at target.

Holyoke, MA |

when we left the store a man stopped us and asked to look in the bag, perfect timing for a cop to be casually walking into target at the same time. we gave them our names and IDs when they asked and they said we were 20 dollars off from it being a a federal crime or something, anyways me and my friend are 18.. the mall cop or some sort of cop came, and wrote down our names and licenses, we has a clean record, no trouble in school, no criminal charges or anything.... so my question is should we ignore the mail and assume they will stop coming or go to small claims court? will it stop coming eventually or what will happen if we dont answer it? whats most beneficial for us?

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

I'm a little confused by what you're asking because you haven't stated what exactly came in the mail. My guess is what came in the mail was one of two things either A) a civil demand letter for money from Target or B) a subpoena to appear in court. If it was a subpoena or any kind of court document DO NOT ignore it. If it tells you to be in court on a certain day or time, make sure you appear. If on the other hand it was a civil demand letter for money then that is less serious, but they have a right legally to send it to you. Hope this answer helped a little.

Melissa Levine is a licensed attorney in Massachusetts. All answers are based on Massachusetts law and should not be construed as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed by Attorney Levine answering your question. It is advisable to consult with an attorney about your personal legal concerns.

Asker

Posted

thank you so much for answering, we have not yet gotton a letter in the mail because it happened today and they said that they will be sending us a letter soon

Asker

Posted

but the officer that came did tell us sooner or later we will be going to court and paying, will we still have to pay the fine if we are going to court?

Melissa Anne Levine-Piro

Melissa Anne Levine-Piro

Posted

Not necessarily, it depends on what happens in court. Wait until you get something in the mail and then repost on this forum based on what comes in the mail. It could be a summons or it could just be a demand letter. I'm not sure how much you stole, but stores don't usually follow through with lawsuits for small amounts, it just isn't worth their time.

Asker

Posted

they said it was around 200 for an estimate and it was less than a felony, and thanks we will repost after we get the mail

Asker

Posted

also when speaking, they didnt read us our rights, were they suppose to?

Melissa Anne Levine-Piro

Melissa Anne Levine-Piro

Posted

They would only read you were rights if you were arrested and from what you've stated it doesn't sound like you were arrested.

Melissa Anne Levine-Piro

Melissa Anne Levine-Piro

Posted

*your rights

Asker

Posted

do you know how long it would take for our letters to come?

Melissa Anne Levine-Piro

Melissa Anne Levine-Piro

Posted

I don't have a clue, I assume it can vary a lot.

Asker

Posted

when we were talking to the cop he said that this will effect our financial aid, and colleges and jobs can see this, but then later on he told us that if we go to court and stay out of trouble then it will go away, can you clarify what he might meant by this?

Melissa Anne Levine-Piro

Melissa Anne Levine-Piro

Posted

I can't, you are just going to have to wait and see what happens.

Posted

I am unclear on what you are considering ignoring. If you think you will get a summons in the mail, do not ignore it otherwise a warrant will be issued for your arrest. In many jurisdictions the retailer can charge you a fee for security expenses and there may be a statute that allows them to do so. I have seen attorneys tell client to not pay it. However, the store can file a civil suit and even request the police to file charges. I suggest complying with what the law dictates.

Marijuana is against federal law. Federal law supersedes state law. A person could be charged and convicted for marijuana related crimes such as possession, cultivation, distribution, manufacturing, transportation, and conspiracy.

Posted

Although you don't explain it the question, "should we ignore the mail . . ." indicates to me you are receiving what are know as civil demand letters. They will continue for a time and normally reflect greater and greater amounts to satisfy them. I consistently advise clients to ignore these letters. This is an extremely common issue on this site. If you look at them (Btw I am not recommending that you do so) you will see various recommendations out there. My impression, however, is that a distinct majority of responding attorneys advise as I do to ignore them. If you receive something from the courts, do not ignore that and retain counsel immediately. I think the chances of that happening at this point if it has not already happened is slim and none. Do not post any further details on the Internet.

Asker

Posted

what if its a hearing? should we go to court if it is? and why should we not post info on the internet? we are very concerend and need help!

William A. Jones Jr.

William A. Jones Jr.

Posted

Okay, first: I do not understand the significance of "what if its a hearing", what is the "its" in that sentence? The reason for my caution (and of many of the participating attorneys here) is that there is no confidentiality in what you post. I appreciate the concern you and your friend are experiencing-pretty normal. The most effective way for you guys to reduce your stress would be to TALK with one or more local attorneys experience in criminal defense. Most attorneys participating here offer free, if limited, consultations. Gather the paperwork you have and consult with them. You may decide, at the end of that useful form of research, to engage the services of one of them. With respect to this issue in particular there is "information" all over the Internet which will likely result in confusion. Meet and speak privately with counsel, and take two aspirin. Btw, just before sending this I took another look at what had been posted so far. I'm sure my prediction of confusion has already settled in. I suggest you use this site's attorney locator feature to find qualified counsel in your area. Get the names and contact information (review their profile pages) and then get off the Internet altogether and talk in person with suitable attorneys.

Posted

If the letters you are getting ask you to pay a civil fine, ignore them. This is one of those times in life where if you ignore something it actually will go away. Rarely, if ever due to the collection agencies pursue the matter in small claims court.

Asker

Posted

so what your saying if its a civil letter we should ignor it and it will go away, and they will not come and sue us?

John Paul Thygerson

John Paul Thygerson

Posted

Look, life comes with no guarantees, my experience is that generally speaking the cost of hiring an attorney, paying for the attorney's time as well as the filing costs involved in a small claims suit typically results in no action taken if the letter is ignored. If a small claim suit gets filed than you can pay to make it go away.

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