No. A civil demand is not a debt and you would only have to pay it if they successfully sued you. The likelihood of that happening is extremely small.
Paying or not paying the civil demand will have no effect on any criminal actions which might be brought against you.
Learn from this mistake, and don't shoplift anymore.
Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.
A civil demand letter creates no indepedent obligation to pay.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" 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.
Attorneys Chen and Doland provided you with excellent advice. Do not pay the civil demand because it has no legal force whatsoever. If you didn't sign anything, you don't owe anything. Any threat to prosecute is nothing more an idle threat. You're lucky you didn't get arrested. Lesson learned I guess.
My comments are provided for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications through Avvo should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Lawyers are licensed to practice on a state by state basis; do not act on information contained on this website without first speaking to an attorney licensed to practice in your state.
Though more facts may be needed, you should seek advise from a consumer attorney. Keep the letter and the envelope that it came in as the phraseology of the latter MAY have RFDCPA violations and it is possible that you may actually have a case. When trying to collect a debt, creditors have to be cautious in the language that they use. However, whether you have a case or not cannot be established without having all the facts and/or seeing the letter that you mention.
The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as forming an attorney-client relationship. No attorney-client relationship between the reader and Abbas Kazerounian has been formed.