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Should I pay the settlement offer for shoplifting?

Merced, CA |

I was sixteen and was caught shoplifting at Walmart.This incident just happened about on April 9. They told me it wouldn't be a criminal record because I was a minor but will be kept as a record for Walmart stores so if I was ever caught again then I can be prosecuted and would be sent to the police. They then told me that I would receive a fine. I didn't get the fine until April 26, but it was sent on April 22. I also have 20 days to pay. If I don't pay they may also choose to make a higher settlement and consider filing a lawsuit.
The the two items I took were both 10 dollars. The fine came in as 250 dollars. Is it possible to reach 250 dollars and should I pay the settlement offer or not? Please help me with this decision because I'm running out of time?

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

Almost every criminal lawyer on this forum has answered this question numerous times. The store cannot fine you. What you received is a civil demand, which is a request for payment, not a fine. If you do pay you harm yourself because then Walmart adds you to the National Retailers database of shoplifters and thieves. Don't pay and nothing will happen. Walmart is not going to court over $250.

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Asker

Posted

So if I don't pay then its going to be okay? Also thank you for the help.

Scott Richard Kaufman

Scott Richard Kaufman

Posted

Seems like it may work out. I've researched the issue extensively since your post and should you wish to know a bit about what I've found feel free to find me out there on the net.

John M. Kaman

John M. Kaman

Posted

I hope your research included PC 490.5.

Scott Richard Kaufman

Scott Richard Kaufman

Posted

It did indeed. Tough rule of law. Hopefully, this individual poster did not leave the premises of the business prior to any confrontation and maybe maybe maybe other factors like a threat of criminal prosecution instead of say bringing a civil case are involved. There is only way to tell, by looking at the document(s) and talking to the poster. I have found a firm that HAS filed such a class in Sacramento and these folks know their stuff. Still, the facts are quite favorable to the plaintiffs, but, it never hurts to talk...

John M. Kaman

John M. Kaman

Posted

Every state that I know of has a statute similar to 490.5. IMHO you are not going to get this overturned.

Scott Richard Kaufman

Scott Richard Kaufman

Posted

Not looking to overturn. Just looking to see if they violated a law. I think they may have. Only doc and client review will reveal this to me.

Asker

Posted

So what will happen if I don't pay?Court? Or will it just end?

Scott Richard Kaufman

Scott Richard Kaufman

Posted

No one can predict. Most posts seem to show that nothing will happen as it may not be worth their while to bring an action in such a matter. I would still like to see all documents related to this, ie, the demand letter and hear a bit more about your story, if you are willing to share. No charge to you for the consultation/review. http://www.CaLemons.com

Posted

I agree that what you received is a "civil demand letter" which is not required to be paid unless a lawsuit is filed. No one on Avvo in the 1 1/2 years of my participation has ever heard of or seen such a lawsuit ever filed. The same analysis applies to the follow up letter(s) you will receive.

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 avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

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Scott Richard Kaufman

Scott Richard Kaufman

Posted

I have recently (today) heard of one that was indeed filed by a highly respected class action firm out of Mill Valley. The plot thickens...

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