Should I contact Walmart about the restitution notice?
3 attorney answers
This is considered "civil theft" and Walmart usually asks for 3 times the value of the items taken (they are entitled to it). The civil case is separate from any criminal charges filed but restitution is usually part of the criminal plea anyway so it would demonstrate your willingness to make things right. Walmart may let it go if you were cooperative when confronted and honest when questioned about things taken. So sit tight.
Do not do anything.
Do not offer yourself up.
If they reach out to you then you can deal with it.
In Florida, retailers are statutorily entitled to seek monetary relief from folks for acts civil theft. However, in order for a retailer to get the penalty, the retailer must first be able to prove (by clear and convincing evidence) that they were injured by your theft.
The statute (see F.S. 772.11 - for your convenience a link is attached below) authorizes the retailer to seek a minimum of $200 in damages, but to do so you either have to succumb to their demand (i.e. voluntarily pay them) or they (the retailer) will have to file a civil lawsuit, which will cost them hundreds just to file, and then hundreds or even thousands more to prosecute their claim.
In Florida, the civil demand letter to you is essentially an offer to settle a potential civil lawsuit for $200.00, a lawsuit which is not yet and which may never actually be filed. That said, and again in Florida, whether or not you pay is both a civil and a personal, not a criminal defense, related question.
FS 772.11 - Civil Theft / http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2012/772.11
I hope that I have been helpful in answering your question.
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No, you should not contact them at all. Go have a long conversation with a private criminal defense attorney.
R. Jason de Groot, Esq. We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I make do not constitute legal advice. Any statements made by me are based upon the limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in Florida.