Slim to none.
If and when you receive a civil demand letter, you do not have to pay it.
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 almost zilch. Assuming they recovered the merchandise and put it back on the shelf to be resold, they really aren't out any money.
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.
I would be hard pressed to believe they would sue you over $200. The court costs and attorney fees do no justify going after you. There is always the possibility they want to make an example of you but think about it - who would know? So no point worth making.
With out knowing what you may have signed or what video may show I could not say what the evidence is or what your chances are of winning or losing.
A civil demand letter creates not independent 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.