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What do I need to do next?

Fayetteville, NC |

North Carolina- 15 year old daughter shocked me today, she was caught shoplifting $5.98 worth of stuff. They gave us a paper saying we could be sued, and would be contacted by mail about a court date. She has never been in trouble before, and I honestly don't know what to do next.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. You need to contact a criminal defense attorney in your area that practices in juvenile court. I assume the documents were notification to the parents when the juvenile case is docketed. The other may be a civil demand letter from the store seeking money damages. Bring them to your attorney and he/she will direct you. Get counsel.

    I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this response on the avvo website. I have not been retained to represent you. I am licensed to practice law in Kentucky and in federal court in this state and the Southern District of Indiana. You need to seek legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your area..


  2. Do not panic and do a reasonably appropriate thing, bring the received materials to a good criminal defense attorney in your area for further advice to evaluate the situation with either juvenile court summons or a merchant Demand Letter (you did not indicate which) to proceed further.

    DISCLAIMER The answer given above by the lawyer serves for educational purposes only and provides general information and a basic understanding of the applicable law. Take notice that the answer above does not create an attorney-client relationship as this website is not intended to provide anyone a specific legal advice. Anyone using the site expressly consents that there is no attorney client privilege between any person and any attorney responding. Further take notice that the site should not be used as a crude substitute for any professional and competent legal advice by a licensed professional attorney in the applicable jurisdiction. The attorney above attempted to provide competent professional information, however, the law and its applications may change frequently and vary greatly from other U.S. jurisdictions and locales. Therefore, any information and materials provided above are general in nature, and may not apply to specific factual and legal circumstances related to one’s personal legal issues. Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer admitted to practice in your State under an attorney-client privilege to further receive a competent legal advice before making any important decisions about your particular legal issue. For further inquiries please contact: Attorney Alexander Ivakhnenko 1021 West Adams, 102, Chicago, Illinois 60607 773-562-8602 http://alexanderivakhnenko.com


  3. There are two separate matters at play here. One is potential criminal charges. If you receive something in the mail from the courts or the police contact a criminal defense attorney ASAP. S/he would then best be able to advise and guide you. The other matter is a potential civil demand. That is where the store or a lawyer or collection agency on their behalf send you a letter demanding that you pay them money. 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 which they most likely couldn't do), and win. Even if they could win, the cost of pursuing this is substantially greater than any amount they can possibly recover so they usually don't. They send out these letters because it doesn't cost much and they are hoping that you don't know better and simply send them the money. Nothing will happen to you if you don't pay it and it wont have any affect on a criminal case one way or another. Take a look at an article in the Wall Street Journal at the link provided below.

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