I got caught stealing at sears ($50) worth item. They took me to the back room and asked me to sign some papers and about an hour later a police officer came and took me away to the nearest bus station where he released me. The police officer told me that I will not have a criminal record and told me not to do it again. Few days later, I received a mail from Sears about a " Settlement Amount" ($500) stating "In the event you elect to ignore this letter, then the next step is for the Plaintiff to instruct legal counsel that a civil legal action be commenced in the appropriate Court without further notice to you." I am a University student and $500 is significant amount for me. I was wondering if I have to pay the "Settlement Amount"
Thank you.I live in Canada. This happened in Sears ( Canada )
You live in Canada? Why does the post list Riverside, CA as the city? We're all attorneys licensed in the various United States, but you will need to speak with an attorney in CANADA. Nobody here knows how these things are handled in CANADA. Here in the U.S., we advise our clients to ignore the "civil demand" letters demanding payment unless that payment provides a benefit in court.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney--Former Prosecutor--Put my experience to work for you!
You really need to consult with a Canadian attorney. Here, we advise clients in California faced with this in California not to pay the civil demand. Most time, the store does not file a lawsuit, and nothing further happens, if the police were not called and you were not arrested. Remember, though, this advise is by a California attorney with no knowledge of Canadian laws.
As a california attorney, I am wholly unfamiliar with Canadian laws and procedures. As my colleagues above have mentioned, here in CA, attorneys generally advise their clients to ignore civil demand letters like the one you described, because almost invariably the store will not go through the hassle of filing a small claims action.
Best of luck to you.
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