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Should I pay the civil demand?

Falls Church, VA |
Filed under: Shoplifting

I shoplifted $35 worth of stuff from Kmart. Three weeks later, I received a civil demand for $300. Should I pay this? What are the chances of me getting sued over this? Also, my name is even misspelled in the civil demand letter.

I was also never asked to sign anything at the time when they caught me. Plus, no cops were called

Attorney Answers 4

  1. If the law firm is from out of state, the chances of getting sued are slim. The chances of getting more letters is good.

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  2. I generally advise clients to ignore these civil demand letters. You don't owe them anything. In order for you to owe them something they would have to sue you, (in some jurisdictions prove damages) and win. Even if they could prove damages (which I doubt they could in most cases) and win, the cost of suing you is substantially greater than any amount they can possibly hope to recover. As such they don't pursue it. They send out these letters hoping that you don't know better and simply send them the money. Nothing will happen to you if you don't pay it.

  3. No need to pay. These civil demands have no legal force. Unless you signed something promising to pay, you owe nothing. They can threaten to sue all they want. The fact is, attorneys cannot take you to small claims court. Some from the store would need to show up to court. That would never happen. You'll probably continue to receive threatening letter, but you can ignore those.

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  4. I would guess that you were charged criminally and have a court date in criminal court. Talk to your lawyer. Your payment may be used as an admission of the theft. Wait until your lawyer gives you advice

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