Does the store still have a right to prosecute me if I paid back what I stole? 43 Answers as of June 10, 2013

A national retailer told me all I have to do is pay the $68 I took (civil demand) and I will not have to go to court, even though there was a police there. Does the store have the right to prosecute or not? What about the state?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
The store is not prosecuting the state is prosecuting. The civil demand is not the same matter and it - unfortunately for you - will be used as evidence against you in the criminal trial.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 5/18/2011
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
Yes.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/10/2013
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
There are two simultaneous things going on. First, the store could make a civil claim based on a Retail Fraud. There is a statutory limit on what can be claimed. This is separate from any criminal charge. It sounds like the $68 is what was requested to resolve this claim. Second, there is the criminal charge of Retail Fraud, which is separate. In Michigan, Retail Fraud 3rd is a 93-day misdemeanor. The fact that you resolve the civil claim is unrelated to whether or not you can be charged in this criminal matter. So you can have two things going on at the same time. You may wish to consult an attorney to represent you and see whether this Retail Fraud can be kept off your record. you may contact my office to discuss representation. I hope this was helpful.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/16/2011
Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
Yes you can be prosecuted even if the store got their property back and you paid the civil penalty. The District Attorney office prosecutes for crimes; the store just collects a civil penalty. You dinged twice.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/16/2011
Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
The answer is yes and it seems unfair but many national retail stores send people who have been accused of shoplifting at their stores civil demand letters where they ask for you to pay back the value of the merchandise that you allegedly took. At the same time, they also cooperate with the DA's office to prosecute you for the crime (and also demand restitution if you are convicted if they did not recover their stuff). The state could decline to prosecute you if you paid the store back, but in my experience they still do prosecute (again at least partially because the store wants them to).
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/16/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    If you were not arrested at the time that this took place then it is unlikely that the store will be able to prosecute you in a criminal matter. This is especially true if you have already reached a civil agreement.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 5/16/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Yes, but if you pay their civil demand, chances are they'll forgo their right to have you criminally prosecuted by the state.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    On a charge of shoplifting the store owner has a right to have you prosecuted regardless of whether you later pay for the merchandise or not.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Yes, the store has a right to prosecute. You need to call an experienced attorney such as myself.....visit my website for more information regarding how to obtain an experienced, knowledgeable attorney with great reviews.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    The store does not prosecute criminal cases, only the DA can. The crime is considered a crime against the State of CA. Now, if an individual can make the victim of a theft crime whole by paying, not just what was taken, but all costs associated with that act, such as investigation fees,. etc., then the store can write a letter to the DA and the Court informing them they have been compensated in full, and the Court might dismiss the matter under a civil compromise.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    The store is not the one who brings charges; the state does. However, if you have paid back what was taken then your criminal case should be relatively minor. Make sure you have the help of an attorney who sees that you do not get a punishment that doesn't fit your crime.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    The store still retains the right to prosecute a theft even if the cost of the merchandise is paid by way of a civil claim. The difference between a civil and criminal case is that the government is the entity that prosecutes criminal actions, the store would be the government's witness to the case. So, only the prosecutor can choose to prosecute or not.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    The store doesn't have the right to file or dismiss criminal charges. Only elected prosecutors and their staff can do that. If you stole less than $250 in merchandise, you could pursue a Compromise of Misdemeanor. The way that works is you pay off the alleged victim and in turn get him or her to sign at statement that he or she has been paid in full and does not the state to prosecute, the charge can be dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    The police can still prosecute you even if you pay restitution and even if the store said they would not pursue the matter. You will be given an ACD dismissal if you have a clean record.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Did the police arrest you and charge you with the theft? Do you have a court date coming up for the crime of Retail Theft? If yes, then you will need to appear in court. The store is a complaining witness, not the plaintiff in your case. The State's Attorney is the only one who can drop the charges. The store can ask for civil penalty, that is what the $88.00 is for, but that does not mean the criminal case is automatically dropped. Oh course, the store has a right to prosecute.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Law Office of Michael Moody
    Law Office of Michael Moody | Michael Moody
    The store has nothing to do with whether criminal charges are filed. That's up to the state. Of course, if the store has gotten restitution and has lost interest in the case, it will help you with the state prosecution.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    Whether the store decides to press charges or not, the prosecutor can press charges. You will have to wait and see if they do and if they do you should hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    Yes. Or rather, I should say that the store is not prosecuting you, the City or State is prosecuting you. They can proceed even if the store has been repaid. There is something called a compromise of misdemeanor which means if the store agrees that you should not be prosecuted, the case could be dismissed. You should ask a lawyer about a compromise of misdemeanor.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    It's usually what's called a "civil penalty" they're asking for from you, but if the police were called on the spot, you were most likely arrested by them. In that situation, the store loses jurisdiction and usually must ask the DA to drop the charges. I suggest you hire an attorney to handle the matter for you right away. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Theft from a store can cause you to pay for the crime in the criminal court and pay also in civil on a civil demand. Even if they recovered all the property that was taken and you never made it out of the store.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    The store cannot bring criminal charges under any circumstances. The only person who can authorize or decline criminal charges is the prosecuting attorney. The prosecuting attorney can bring criminal charges even if you paid the store for the stolen merchandise and even if the store does not want to pursue criminal charges. For more information, contact us.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    Yes, the state may prosecute you no matter what the alleged victim says. So, I would urge you to retain a criminal lawyer to help you. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    The Law Offices of Mark Kotlarsky
    The Law Offices of Mark Kotlarsky | Mark Kotlarsky
    The prosecution is controlled by the state. Returning property or paying the store helps at sentencing.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    State can bring a criminal charge regardless of what the store says. Based on the amount involved many towns would not proceed with a criminal charge.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC | Sam L. Levine
    Yes, because you already committed the criminal offense & it is the decision of the state, not the victim, to prosecute.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/13/2011
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    Were you given a citation with a court date? If so, then you (or your privately retained attorney) needs to deal with the court. It is possible to then negotiate with the court to inform the you have reached a civil compromise with the store, and try to get the charges dismissed that way. A civil demand is different than a civil compromise though. Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss in more detail.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    It's not up to the victim (the store in this case) whether to press charges, but the victim's choice may affect the prosecutor's decision. Also, if the store, or an employee, signs a document acknowledging satisfaction for the harm it suffered, you might be able to get your charges dismissed pursuant to a civil compromise, if you are charged.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    The right to prosecute criminally lies with the state or the city. However, the victim has input. If the victim tells the government not to pursue the matter, then it may or may not be pursued, depending on the prosecutor. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    They lied to you. The $68 relates entirely to the civil case. The criminal case is prosecuted by the prosecutor and is completely separate.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O.
    The Law Office of Eric R. Chandler, P.C., L.L.O. | Eric R. Chandler
    It's not up to the store once a police report has been filed. The prosecutor may take the fact that you paid into consideration; however, it is the State who prosecutes a criminal charge, not the victim. If charged, your case will be the State vs. You; not the Store vs. You.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Mercado & Hartung
    Mercado & Hartung | Stephanie Hartung
    The civil penalty (the money you paid) is different from the criminal penalty. You can be prosecuted criminally even if you paid the civil penalty. Speak with an attorney about your rights and options in your case.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    The prosecutor is the one and only one who gets to decide who to charge. However, if the store wishes to not pursue criminal charges, more than likely the prosecutor would honor that request, but keep in mind that they don't have to. Some stores will pursue criminal charges even if the items are returned or restitution has been made and others will be satisfied with that.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Only the state has the right to prosecute.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    The civil demand has nothing to do with a criminal case. The police report and the prosecutor charges the crime. Contact me to discuss.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    right to prosecute? Yes, and they frequently do, if you pay their demand without negotiating to obtain a formal written agreement not to prosecute. Thats what most people hire an attorney to do for them. Now, if you havent paid and can still seek that agreement, or if criminal charges are brought against you, hire an attorney. If serious about doing so, feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    The store can make a "civil demand" under the Penal Code, but it has absolutely nothing to do with criminal charges. If the police were involved and you were arrested or issued a citation to appear, then you've got to focus on the criminal case. If you're talking about a civil compromise where the DA agrees to dismiss charges if the victim is made whole... yes, that can happen, but that's only through the criminal court with charges pending. If the store (or somebody on their behalf) told you to pay and the criminal charges would be dropped, they lied to you and they may have crossed the line to extortion. They cannot demand payment under threat of prosecution. You need to sit down with a local criminal defense attorney and sort this out, but in the mean time, do NOT contact the store or whoever is making the demand of you for the $68. Talk to your criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    Yes. However, if you were not arrested at the scene its unlikely the store will pursue it later.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law | Eric James Schurman
    You can be charge with a crime (theft) even though you've already compensated the store for the incident. If you do get charged criminally, it's important that you hire an attorney. Feel free to call me to discuss further.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/12/2011
    Robert Mortland
    Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
    The store can recommend that charges are not brought. However, the district attorney can still bring charges if they would like. The power to prosecute is vested entirely with the DA.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/12/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 5 6 7 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney