What will happen if I do not pay the civil demand fee of $150? 19 Answers as of September 17, 2012

All I took were fruit roll ups from Kmart. The cops were never called.

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Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
As a rule, I advise clients to ignore these civil demand letters. Unless you signed some agreement to pay this store, you owe them nothing. In order for you to owe them something they would have to sue you and win. However, It would cost them much more to sue you than they can ever hope to recover so they usually don't pursue it. With that in mind, I would advise that they can still take legal action against you by filing suit in small claims court. If you ignore these actions, a default judgment will be entered against you. So, although you can ignore the civil demand letter, do not ignore anything that comes from a court.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/17/2012
James M. Osak, P.C.
James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
I advise NEVER to pay that civil fine. Many other attorneys state the same. WHY PAY. You haven't been found guilty yet. Use the $150 and RETAIN an attorney to defend you.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/17/2012
Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
They may file in small claims court. Judges do not like these demands so if you go to court you may get less ordered or the judge may deny k-mart any recovery.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/17/2012
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
If the victim will allow you to pay restitution to avoid a case, then you may very well want to do so to avoid being arrested/summoned/cited.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 9/17/2012
LeadfootSpeedingTicket.com
LeadfootSpeedingTicket.com | Andrea Storey Rogers
Ignore the civil demand. Most attorneys (including me) advise clients to refuse to pay it. The store has to sue you in court and win a judgment against you before you legally owe them anything, and I seriously doubt they will do anything over a fruit roll up.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 9/17/2012
    Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
    You need to pay it. Stealing is stealing regardless of the amount. If you do not pay, you will be having a worse situation for yourself.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    The lawyers for the stores usually send a letter and hope you will pay. They almost never bother to pursue the matter due to the time, effort, and cost, but if you stole from a store maybe you should send them a $100 and an apology and thank them for not having you arrested. Shoplifting costs stores billions every year and some smaller stores even go bankrupt due to employee theft, security costs, shoplifting, and competition from the larger chains. When you steal from stores you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    You will be sued in Magistrate Court for the civil demand, and then K-Mart will follow up with a warrant for the fruit roll-ups.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    The plaintiff can file a civil lawsuit against you and charge filing fees, attorney fees as well as other potential fees.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    The same thing as if you do pay. The company can file criminal charges, it is their normal policy to do so.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Often times when a person is caught shoplifting the store has a lawyer send a civil demand for money. If the merchandise was returned to the store is saleable condition I would suggest you ask them what the damages were. When we represent people charged with shoplifting, we typically handle that civil demand letter for them as well. In most cases, there is no damages and therefore no grounds for the civil demand.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    My advice: pay it. This is a civil penalty for theft. They can get a civil judgment against you. You are lucky you were not criminally charged. Shoplift is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000.00 fine. Next time you think about stealing, ask yourself if you are willing to live with the consequences of a poor decision. If you have not been charged, consider this your lucky day. Pay the civil penalty.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Pingelton Law Firm | Dan Pingelton
    Well, you stole. It's a crime. Kmart has decided to use a civil remedy against you, and if you're smart, you'll pay it. They could still have you prosecuted with a crime.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    You could be sued. Note that paying the civil fine won't guarantee you won't get prosecuted.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    You would be violating the terms of your probation and could get the full range of your sentencing guideline. Also, check the state provision, they may be charging you to much. Generally, it twice the value of the item stolen.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    They can sue you civilly and get a judgment against you. It seems ridiculous for them to pay the clerk $300 for filing and the sheriff $40 for service of process, but they could do that
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Then you're smart, because paying the civil demand will not help your criminal case one bit. It simply makes it easier to the prosecutor to get you, because you've indirectly admitted your guilt.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    You may be charged, you will have a bad credit report.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Langford Law Firm
    Langford Law Firm | Theresa Langford
    There are NO guarantees, however, most of these collection efforts exist on the odds of scaring people into paying. The huge majority will not go any further than sending a few letters. It isn't worth their time and expense to pursue $150.00. If they do, then it would be in JP court, and they would have to prove the direct expense you incurred in increasing their damages.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/17/2012
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