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Civil Lawsuit from Shoplifting

Saint Paul, MN |

Received a letter stating that I will be required to pay $50 in damages or the amount of my theft if it is over $50 (it was under $50 so i have to pay $50). Is this something I need to pay or can I ignore it? Will I get sued?

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Attorney answers 2


Minnesota Statutes allows a merchant to recover the value of the items involved in the theft even if the items were recovered. You should consult with an attorney on the criminal case before paying the merchant. However, such a payment is often required as part of the resolution of the criminal case.

A theft offense can be very serious. While any theft under $500 is a misdemeanor. Such an offense is still punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. The collateral consequences of a conviction can also be extremely significant and preclude a person from finding employment where background checks are performed.

Often, if you have no prior offenses, a conviction can be avoided with a Stay of Prosecution. A Stay of Prosecution means that the offense is never recorded on your record and stayed for a certain period of time to ensure that you do not have another offense.

We can assist you in making sure that your record is not affected.

For a FREE consultation call 612.240.8005.

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There are two sides to a theft case like this. There is the civil side and the criminal side. The demand from the store is the civil side. I would suggest that you hold off on resolving that side until the criminal case has been resolved.

The criminal case is not simply a fine. This is a misdemeanor charge. A misdemeanor is publishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. A theft conviction can impact your ability to get a job for the rest of your life.

I don't tell you this to scare you. However, this is not a simple matter. You need to discuss this case with an attorney, in person. Many criminal defense attorneys offer a free initial consultation at no cost. If you would like to discuss your case with me, I would be happy to sit down with you and discuss your case. 612-217-0077

This information is general in nature. You should not rely on this information as legal advice, as each case is unique. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are in need of legal advice concerning a particular matter, you are encouraged to contact us at your earliest convenience.