Will future employers see my shoplifiting charge if I pay back the fees? 47 Answers as of June 11, 2013

I was caught stealing from a store a few days ago. I was arrested and given a ticket. I also received a letter from the store's attorney demanding I pay $250. If I pay the $250 to the store and have my lawyer get a reduced charge on the ticket, will employers still see the arrest on a background check? I'm not sure if getting this ticket taken care of will be enough to put me in the clear!

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Burdon and Merlitti
Burdon and Merlitti | Adam Van Ho
If the case is not expunged or otherwise sealed, then future employers can see the original charges in the case. If I was you, I would see if there is a diversion or other first-time offender program available in the court in which you are being prosecuted. But I would hold off on paying the store until you speak to your attorney.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 10/13/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
First, did you leave the store with $250 in merchandise and if so, what did the store get back? Do NOT respond to the letter.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/11/2013
Rudolph A. Serra, Attorney
Rudolph A. Serra, Attorney | Rudolph A. Serra
Most employment background checks involve CONVICTION records and not ARREST records. If you have only one crime in your history, the conviction can be expunged or set aside. The arrest record, however, can never be expunged. If you apply to be a police officer or other law enforcement official, your potential employers will know about your arrest. If your conviction is expunged and an employer asks about convictions, you should not reveal that expunged crime. If the employer is a law enforcement agency on the other hand, then you should reveal the arrest or they will decline to hire you because you lied about your history. More private background checks, however, do not involve access to arrest records. That's because an arrest does not prove anything. Many innocent people are illegally arrested. Others are arrested "legally" but they are still proven innocent. I represented a young man who had a petty larceny conviction expunged and then applied to be a police officer. On advice of his lawyer, he denied ever being arrested. He was refused entry in the police academy for lying. I was able to prove that he relied on incorrect legal advice and that he was an excellent prospect for police work so the refusal was overruled and today he is a police officer. If you pay the store, they may agree to reduced charges. A good lawyer would be valuable in negotiating terms to try to minimize the impact on future employment.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/7/2011
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
Speaking generally, civil and criminal matters proceed in different directions even though there may be a factual over-lap. Any payments made during a civil resolution though, for the same facts, may ultimately be factored if someone is found guilty on a related criminal charge and a judge is calculating costs related to sentencing. A "victim" doesn't necessarily get an opportunity to bill for the same damage twice.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/6/2011
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Armand Fried
It depends on what your lawyer can reduce the charge to (which depens on the value of the stolen item, whether this is a first offense, etc.), and on how deep a search a potential future employer will conduct. That said, it is likely that 90% of all searches will not include any reference to this charge.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/6/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    There are 2 aspects to your retail fraud charge. The first is the civil demand given you by the store. This is a civil demand that has nothing to do with the criminal charge. If you are convicted of a criminal charge, it will be part of your criminal record and could be viewed in a criminal background check.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    bark & karpf
    bark & karpf | peter bark
    Paying the store is a waste of money and has nothing to do with the outcome of the case. If you plea bargain to a sesaled violation or an ACD you may be OK depending on how thourough a check is made into your background.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    If you are convicted or if you plead guilty to a crime ( misdemeanors and felonies are crimes, violations are not ) then yes potential employers can see your record unless you get it sealed or expunged.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    If you plead or are convicted of anything then it's going to show up.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    If you can keep the criminal charges off of your record then you can move to have the arrest expunged after a requisite amount of time.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Shane Law Office
    Shane Law Office | Robert J. Shane
    The store's attorney has a right under a statute to demand payment of the $250.00 fee in a shoplifting case. The fee is separate from any restitution payment that may be owed to the victim. The odds of the employer suing you to collect the statutory fee are slim and payment of the fee will not erase the arrest record for this offense. You will need to negotiate a continuance for dismissal of the criminal case without the entry of a guilty plea. At the end of the continuance period, the criminal charge against you will be dismissed. After the case is formally dismissed, you will be able to file an expungement petition to seal the courthouse file and the arrest record. Securing an expungement order from the court will insure a clean background check by any employer.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    The store is attempting to collect under a civil law that allow them to recover for the cost to prevent shop lifting. Best to have your attorney get you into a diversion program which will allow the matter to be removed from your record if you're successful. I do this for clients in most routine cases.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Night Life Lawyers
    Night Life Lawyers | Joshua Aldabbagh
    I would advise not paying anything to the store until your criminal matter is resolved. It sounds like you were cited for larceny, which is a misdemeanor. You should hire an attorney to represent you on that charge. Depending on your criminal history, your charge could probably be negotiated into a dismissal. You will be given some requirements to fulfill in order to get the dismissal; such as to pay a fine and/or do community service, pay restitution to the store, attend classes, etc. If you are only being charged with larceny, then the value of the item you stole was less than $250; this means your court-ordered restitution will most likely be less than what the store's attorney is demanding. Once you complete the plea negotiation requirements, your case should be dismissed. At this point, you will not have a conviction on your record, and you can seal the record of your arrest, so that nothing will show up on a background check. Feel free to call my firm to discuss your case. We offer free consultations.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    AyerHoffman, LLP
    AyerHoffman, LLP | David C. Ayer
    If this is your first offense, it is possible to get pre-trial probation. Once successfully completed, it does not appear on your record. It is easier to get a continuance without a finding (CWOF). A CWOF is another form of probation in which you admit the Commonwealth has enough evidence to convict you, but you are not admitting guilt. Once successfully completed, it will appear on your record as an event, but there will be no details about the crime, the finding, or any punishment. If you are violate the CWOF you can be immediately sentenced to another punishment or be given another CWOF. Finally, there is the sentence of probation which will appear on your record. Your criminal defense attorney can guide you through the process and help you get the best outcome.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    If you were arrested and taken in for fingerprints and a mug shot taken of you, then that if a formal arrest, which results in a record being established of you. If those acts were not done, you will not have an arrest record, and future employers would not know about it. However, if arrested, you should have counsel go with you, and there is a good chance an order can be entered which will be expungeable in the future. Perhaps, the store will not even appear against you in court, and the case will be dropped completely. See an attorney to protect your future plans.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    FIRST: Do not pay anything to the store except through restitution. Did they recover what you 'stole'? If so, how are they damaged $250? Second, it depends on the employer. Usually, they will not see arrests.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    Do not, do not DO NOT pay the store $250. They are not legally entitled to that amount and they are stealing from you if you pay it. Hire an attorney to deal with the case. The store is only entitled to restitution (the amount of the item that you stole) and this will be taken care of through the criminal case. Yes it will be on your record if you are convicted. You can get the charge expunged once probation is over.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You are extremely mistaken. Paying the store back will do absolutely nothing for your criminal case in court. You're confusing the civil case and the criminal case. The criminal case will be prosecuted by the prosecutor, and only he/she can reduce or dismiss this charge. Don't get tricked by the store into thinking they can do anything for you. They can't. In fact, they will gather incriminating statements from you and turn it over to the prosecutor. You need to hire a lawyer before you do something you will regret.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    It may not be. I am not sure what lesser charge a shop lift can be reduced to. Your better option is for your attorney to try and obtain a stipulated order of continuance (SOC) or a deferred finding. Either of these prevents a conviction from going on your record. You can also try a compromise of misdemeanor, which means that if you pay the store for its loss, it may then decline to prosecute. People seem to not comprehend the gravity of even a shop lift. As you are now finding out, a shop lift may well impact your future employment. In addition, if you are a student, a shoplift will negatively impact your admission to certain colleges. It will also negatively impact your ability to obtain scholarship, loans, and financial aid. I strongly advise you to get an attorney to assist you with these possible options.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Mercado & Hartung
    Mercado & Hartung | Stephanie Hartung
    You will have an arrest record as a result of the arrest itself. Generally arrest information is not public information and your employer most likely will not be able to find a record of just the arrest. A conviction, however, will be accessible by your employer, so it depends on how your case is resolved. You will eventually, be eligible to have the conviction expunged if you are in fact convicted, but you will have to wait for several years to be eligible.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    I would have to see the attorney's letter to know what he or she is proposing. A private attorney representing a store chain cannot get charges reduced on the store's motion. He or she may be referring to a Compromise of Misdemeanor. That's where the victim of a misdemeanor property crime can agree that charges can be dismissed because the victim has been made whole. If the store is agreeable to a Compromise of Misdemeanor, you can pay the $250 and get them to sign off on a Compromise of Misdemeanor. Present the signed document to the court and ask for the charge to be dismissed. However, you will still have a record of being charged and having the charge dismissed. This would show up on a background check until you get it expunged.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    Paying the demand from the civil lawyer will do nothing for you. Many attorneys advise clients not to pay it because if it is not paid, the only way that the store can get the money (which is authorized by statute) is to sue the person which means incurring a filing fee, service fee, and more lawyer fees. As far as the case itself, you need to get a deferred prosecution / deferred disposition which means a reset with conditions. If you do as instructed, then the case is dismissed when you return to court and you can later expunge the case off your record completely. While most traffic level offenses are not generally available for the public's view at this time, I believe that the time draws near that everything will be available on the internet.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    You need to contact an attorney immediately. Theft is a crime of moral turpitude which can prohibit you from ever getting a good job again. That lawyer will also give you the low down on the demand from the store. Usually, we advise to just ignore the demand and deal with the criminal case. You need a lawyer to look at your case.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    The Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC
    The Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC | Elizabeth Zwiebel
    There are ways to make an arrest not public for employer's to see it is. If you qualify for youthful offender the record will be sealed. You would have to be under the age of 21 at the time of the incident. Another way is through a pardon which you can apply for but takes a long time to receive. Once the pardon is received the record is only viewable to police personnel but not prospective employers.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    There are ways of clearing your record so that future employers will not find the shoplifting arrest. Just paying the money to the store on its own will not do it. As part of probation you will have to pay the store but there will be more to it than that. You should consult an attorney for your options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    The $250 is a "civil demand." California law authorizes a merchant to demand up to $500 in a shoplifting incident. Paying it won't change what happens in criminal court. Your attorney may be able to work out something like a reduction and/or a complete dismissal, depending on the facts, your record and their knowledge of the local courts. They cannot undo an arrest, however. That will always remain unless you're found to be factually innocent by a court. The good news is that most private employers cannot ask about arrests - only convictions and pending cases. Discuss all this, including why you may not have to or not want to pay the civil demand, with your attorney. You're going to need their help to get through this with minimal damage.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    An arrest or ticket (charge) will eventually show up on the criminal record even if the charges are lowered or dismissed. Paying the store's attorney will not change that.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    Yes. The arrest will always show unless you get the case sealed or expunged.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Paying the store will not resolve the criminal case. I am not sure if you were arrested, fingerprinted and booked into the jail, or detained and given a copy of charges. IF you were fingerprinted, the arrest will appear on your criminal history. I have no idea what the attorney will have a misdemeanor shoplifting reduced to. If you were not arrested, taking care of the ticket may involve your being arrested. You need to consult with an experienced attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    The ticket and the letter from the store demanding money are two different things. The criminal case - the ticket- may or may not appear on your record, depending on how and in which court it is disposed. If it is treated as a city or county ordinance violation, the odds are that it will not go into the reporting system and will not show up on a criminal history check. The letter from the store is probably a threat of a suit being filed against you if you don't pay the money. This may be one of the biggest scams in the world. The store catches the shoplifter at or just outside the door. The property is usually recovered at the point of arrest and goes back on the shelves for sale by the end of the working day, just as if someone had picked it up in one end of the store and put it down in another.Then a law firm representing the store demands money for the store's"damages." Frightened people often pay many times more than the stolen stuff was being sold for, thinking that if they pay the money it will keep them from having a shoplifting charge and still wind up going to court and being punished on the criminal charges. Hire a lawyer for the shoplifting charge or at least find out if the case will be treated as a local ordinance violation or a violation of state law. As for the demand for the $250, I would ignore them. It would cost them more to file the suit than they would ever recover.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Law Office of Charles J. Block
    Law Office of Charles J. Block | Charles J. Block
    Yes, the arrest as well as the amended charge will show up until you get it expunged.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Law Offices of Lazaro Carvajal
    Law Offices of Lazaro Carvajal | Lazaro Carvajal
    Even if the complaint is dismissed there is a record of the charge and the arrest. This could potentially show up on a background check, depending on how thorough the employer looks. The best thing is to do an expungement of the arrest and the disposition of the charges and then pay to do a background check on yourself and see what comes up.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    If you have retained a good criminal lawyer and you do not have a prior record the prosecutor will offer an ACD and you will not have a criminal conviction, but your arrest remains on the NYSID computer forever. After the 6 month ACD period your employer are not supposed to see the arrest, only the authorities can use that system, The problem is that with computers and the internet there are more and more ways for people to access information. I cannot tell you if they will see the arrest, but the actual court file will be sealed if you get an ACD. You may get a break and have the matter dismissed, but you should use this as a lesson in life.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    Hello, The $250 the store wants is a civil "fine" or fee and it has nothing to do with clearing your criminal record. Usually, you will get an ACD, which means an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal and that means that after 6 months or a year, depending upon the judge, your case will be dismissed and the record of it expunged. This is as long as you don't get re-arrested for anything new in that period of time. That would clear your record.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    The fees the store is requesting is known as a "civil demand" and has no bearing on the criminal case that is pending. Whether the criminal case will show in a background check depends on what the result of the case is and who is conducting the background check. Law enforcement jobs, financial jobs, jobs that require licensing and government jobs are among the strictest background checks.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    No what your attorney wants to try to do is get it so that you can get into some sort of diversion program so that if you do everything then you do not have a conviction. The money demand is a civil matter separate from the criminal consequences. It is so the store can re-coop it's loss from having you steal things.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    Paying back the money may assist you in getting a more favorable disposition in court, but doesn't guarantee you will receive one that keeps a conviction off your record. There are several ways a case can be resolved, so making sure you get one that allows you to keep your record clean is the only way to ensure it will not surface on a background check. Even if you do receive one, you will want to consider an expungement at some point to seal the records.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/6/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Yes. The charge will show up on a background check. If you hire counsel and avoid a conviction with a Stay of Prosecution, you may be able to expunge the record so it remains hidden from public view.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Martin Law Offices, PLLC
    Martin Law Offices, PLLC | Matthew T. Martin
    If you are currently represented by an attorney then you should consult with him/her regarding collateral consequences from potential dispositions in this matter.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Law Office of John E. Gutbezahl LLC
    Law Office of John E. Gutbezahl LLC | John E Gutbezahl
    It is possible to civilly compromise your case. A civil compromise means that if the store consents the charge can be dismissed(provided you have a clean record otherwise). Once the case is dismissed, we can apply (again provided you have a clean record) to have your record set aside or expunged.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC
    Law Offices of Jeffery A. Cojocar, PC | Jeffery A. Cojocar
    Yes they will.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    If you pleaded guilty or was found guilty of any kind of misdemeanor, it will appear on your record unless you have some sort of deal where it will not appear on your record such as a diversion program or HYTA, both of which would keep the charge off of your public record. In general, misdemeanors don't hurt you with employers that much. Felonies are the ones that really hurt you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Paying the store's demand will be of no assistance. I generally suggest one to ignore it as I do not believe it can be proven if the property is recovered. Hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Yes - only dismissed cases can be sealed - this may happen after a period of time as with a deferred sentence or deferred prosecution. If there is any kind of conviction on a case, no part of the case can be sealed.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/5/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    You need a plea bargain called a deferred judgment or deferred prosecution. The record may appear but after you complete the terms you can have it sealed.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/5/2011
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