Caught shoplifting as an adult, 1st time ever. lesson learned!
North Attleboro, MA |
I received a letter from Kohls asking me to pay $225, if I pay this what happens? Will I still have to go to court? Will the matter de done with? I have yet to receive any letter from the court. I am so confused
If the store did not report the incident to the police and you haven't been criminally charged and you pay the amount requested by Kohl's the matter should be over. When you pay the amount, if you do, ensure that the document you submit does not in any way admit to guilt or acknowledge that you in fact committed an offense so that there is not an admission of guilt.
The letter you received from Kohl’s is likely a civil demand letter and has no ties to any criminal charges. If you decide to pay (or not) it will have no impact on potential criminal charges against you.
If you have not yet been charged criminally, you may receive a commons in the mail for a Clerk-Magistrate’s hearing. Do not ignore the summons. The Clerk-Magistrate’s hearing is used to determine if there is probable cause to issue a criminal complaint against you. If and when you receive a summons, it would be wise to seek the advice of an attorney to determine what your options are.
The letter you received is a civil demand letter. Under MA law, a store can seek damages between $50-$500 pursuant to G.L. ch. 231, s. 85R 1/2, which states: "Whoever causes damage to the property of a person as a result of a larceny or attempted larceny of said property as set forth in section thirty A of chapter two hundred and sixty-six or commits or attempts to commit a larceny of goods for sale on the premises of a merchant or commits or attempts to commit a larceny of the personal property of employees or customers or others present on such premises shall be liable in tort to the merchant for damages for not less than fifty nor more than five hundred dollars in addition to any actual damages incurred. An action for recovery may be commenced under the provisions of sections twenty-one to twenty-five, inclusive, of chapter two hundred and eighteen".
The civil demand in no way effects how any criminal charge against you is handled. If you pay the $225, it does not prevent the store from seeking a criminal charge against you; if you refuse to pay the $225, it does not necessarily mean that a criminal charge will be sought against you.
If the store does seek a criminal charge against you, you will receive a notice from the court to appear before a clerk-magistrate. If you receive such a notice, you should retain an attorney to represent you at the clerk's hearing to maximize your chances of keeping the charge from proceeding beyond the clerk's hearing, because if the charge proceeds beyond the clerk's hearing and you are arraigned on the charge, the charge will show up on your CORI regardless of how the charge is resolved.