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Will I receive civil demand, when and should I pay it?

Houston, TX |

I am an adult who was caught shoplifting at an Urban Outfitters in Texas. The merchandise was fully recovered by the store as they kept me in a room for an hour while we waited for the cops. The merchandise did total to be just under 200 dollars. The two employees took my ID and information and then I signed a paper I believe saying I was banned from that store for a long time. The employee knows I am a student-athlete at a reputable university nearby playing on scholarship. She let me go after an hour saying she couldn't hold me any longer. Will I be sent a fine and when can I expect it? Will they send it to my permanent address in Indiana or to my current address in Houston which she took down? Should I pay it? Paper says it may come from Palmer, reiffler, and assoc.?? Please help me

None of the merchandise was damaged as far as I am concerned and the cops never arrived though she told me they were coming.

Attorney Answers 5

  1. What paper are you referring to?

  2. Yes, you can anticipate receiving a letter from that well known law firm. I always advise my own clients to ignore the letters. While you may even get a follow-up letter or two from them, the chances that they actually bring suit against you are very low.

    However, I hope this will be a learning experience for you. Had you been prosecuted, which you could have, it could have seriously effected your prospects for a long time. You were lucky this time.

  3. It will be difficult for the civil damages to be proved up if all the merchandise was recovered in re-saleable condition. Do what you want,. Urban Outfitters has up to two years to file a complaint with law enforcement and the prosecutor filing formal charges. Good Luck

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  4. No one can say for certain, but you should be expecting it. I typically tell clients not to pay the civil demands. They are not owed unless they get a civil judgment against you, which they rarely seek.

  5. There is nothing to be gained by paying the civil demand. As others have advised you, ignore it if you receive one.

    Your larger issue is the potential criminal charges. Just because she let you leave does not mean that you are not going to be prosecuted. If the police eventually showed up and if she gave them all of the information she had collected, there is a very real chance that you may be prosecuted. In Harris County, this is likely.

    You need to retain a lawyer now. You need someone who can quietly find out if charges have been or will be filed. If you happen to receive a ticket in the mail, do NOT just pay it. A theft conviction (even a Class C) will haunt you for the rest of your life. As an aside, at $200 of merchandise, this is likely not a ticket level offense, but one for which you could face up to six months in jail.


    W. Troy McKinney
    Schneider & McKinney, P.C.
    440 Louisiana
    Suite 800
    Houston, Texas 77002
    713-224-6008 (fax)
    Board Certified in Criminal Law - Texas Board of Legal Specialization
    Board Certified in Criminal Appellate Law - Texas Board of Legal Specialization
    Board Certified in DWI Defense, National College for DUI Defense (NCDD)
    NCDD Certification Program Approved by the American Bar Association
    and Accredited by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
    Dean -- National College for DUI Defense

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