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Will shoplifting go in my permanent record?

Morgan Hill, CA |

I drank a bottle of chocolate milk and set it down and forgot to pay for it. A loss prevention officer stopped me outside the store and detained me. He took my license info down, had me sign a couple of papers, informed me that i would be getting a letter in the mail seeking damages, and let me go without calling the cops. Will this incident go on my criminal record?

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Attorney answers 3


NO..The police were not called, no charges filed, you have no criminal record. The papers you signed were some sort of admission documents and the letter he is talking about is for civil restitution. This is the time and expense that the store spent in hiring the agent, lost time, etc..The letter will state you will owe them usually between $200-$400.00. I suggest paying it as they can always (but usually don't) call the police at a later date.

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The detention and restitution demand do not constitute and arrest or conviction, so any background check looking for either will not find it. There is a national list maintained that many retailers participate in that lists those persons detained for shoplifting who signed off on what is essentially an admission of guilt. It is possible that your employer, if it is a participant in that database, would learn of your circumstances.

However, please note that is not part of any official police record.

Good luck to you.

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This will not go on your criminal record. Guessing from the facts you have provided, I am guessing that you were at Wal-Mart. You are going to get a letter asking for some ridiculous amount of money with a threat that if you don't pay, you could be liable up to $1,000.00 in court. When you get your letter, you need to hire an attorney. He will be able to save you money.

The information provided by Attorney Matthew V. Silva is based upon the generic and ambiguous facts presented in short questions. Without a full consultation with an attorney, you should not rely upon any information presented in this forum. The intricate facts of every case are different. The information provided is not legal advice and should not be the basis of any decision without the actual guidance of an attorney. Further, any information provided by Attorney Matthew V. Silva should not be perceived as a willingness to represent you or actual representation. If you would like to speak with Attorney Matthew V. Silva, please call Silva and Sweet, PLLC at 910-333-9833 or visit

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