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Will I receive civil demand, when and should I pay it?

Houston, TX |

I am an adult who was caught shoplifting at an Urban Outfitters in Texas. The merchandise was fully recovered by the store as they kept me in a room for an hour while we waited for the cops. The merchandise did total to be just under 200 dollars. The two employees took my ID and information and then I signed a paper I believe saying I was banned from that store for a long time. The employee knows I am a student-athlete at a reputable university nearby playing on scholarship. She let me go after an hour saying she couldn't hold me any longer. Will I be sent a fine and when can I expect it? Will they send it to my permanent address in Indiana or to my current address in Houston which she took down? Should I pay it? Paper says it may come from Palmer, reiffler, and assoc.?? Please help me

None of the merchandise was damaged as far as I am concerned and the cops never arrived though she told me they were coming.

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Attorney answers 5

Posted

What paper are you referring to?

Asker

Posted

A paper labeled Civil Demand Notice that says I may receive correspondence in the next few weeks from their attorneys regarding the claim.

Carmine John Giardino

Carmine John Giardino

Posted

So it's a paper they handed to you. The civil request for payment will most likely go one of the addresses they have for you but there's no way to know which one they will use. Were the police ever involved in any of this? This is just a civil request for payment and you don't want to do anything that could incriminate you on any possible pending criminal charges, which is unclear if there are or will be. This is a tough question to answer because I don't know what the store's intentions are pertaining to the shoplifting incident. If all they want you to do is pay a fee, that's one thing. But if they are going to prosecute you on the shoplifting charge anyway, that's another thing. I need more facts to help you, but don't post any more on a public forum. You can email me at helpingtexas@yahoo.com.

Posted

Yes, you can anticipate receiving a letter from that well known law firm. I always advise my own clients to ignore the letters. While you may even get a follow-up letter or two from them, the chances that they actually bring suit against you are very low.

However, I hope this will be a learning experience for you. Had you been prosecuted, which you could have, it could have seriously effected your prospects for a long time. You were lucky this time.

Posted

It will be difficult for the civil damages to be proved up if all the merchandise was recovered in re-saleable condition. Do what you want,. Urban Outfitters has up to two years to file a complaint with law enforcement and the prosecutor filing formal charges. Good Luck

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Posted

No one can say for certain, but you should be expecting it. I typically tell clients not to pay the civil demands. They are not owed unless they get a civil judgment against you, which they rarely seek.

Carmine John Giardino

Carmine John Giardino

Posted

They really should change to law on this and make a store choose between civil case or criminal case.

Carmine John Giardino

Carmine John Giardino

Posted

Meant to say, they really should change the law on this...

Posted

There is nothing to be gained by paying the civil demand. As others have advised you, ignore it if you receive one.

Your larger issue is the potential criminal charges. Just because she let you leave does not mean that you are not going to be prosecuted. If the police eventually showed up and if she gave them all of the information she had collected, there is a very real chance that you may be prosecuted. In Harris County, this is likely.

You need to retain a lawyer now. You need someone who can quietly find out if charges have been or will be filed. If you happen to receive a ticket in the mail, do NOT just pay it. A theft conviction (even a Class C) will haunt you for the rest of your life. As an aside, at $200 of merchandise, this is likely not a ticket level offense, but one for which you could face up to six months in jail.

Troy

W. Troy McKinney
Schneider & McKinney, P.C.
440 Louisiana
Suite 800
Houston, Texas 77002
713-951-9994
713-224-6008 (fax)
wtmhousto2@aol.com
http://www.texascriminaldefenselawyers.com
http://www.houstondwiattorneys.com/
Board Certified in Criminal Law - Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Board Certified in Criminal Appellate Law - Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Board Certified in DWI Defense, National College for DUI Defense (NCDD)
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and Accredited by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Dean -- National College for DUI Defense

Carmine John Giardino

Carmine John Giardino

Posted

Yeah, no way this would be a class "c" because it's over $50.00. $50 - $500 is a class B.