Will I get charges for shoplifting even though no police were involved? 6 Answers as of February 25, 2013

I had two items with me worth less than 20 dollars. i got stopped at the front of the store. they took me to the back room. the guy told me to take out what i took. so i did. he then asked if it was my first time being caught and it is. he then asked for my i.d and made a copy of it. he then said i would receive a fine through the mail and that if i couldn't pay it, i had to call a number he gave me. he gave me a paper about a law firm thing. then said i could leave. no cops where called. i was in there office for less than 5 minutes. will i have charges against me? i did not sign anything. will they call my house or cell? they did not ask for any phone numbers either. they just have the info in my i.d. what will happen next. will it be reported to the police/court?

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Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
If the police were not called there is a good chance that you will not be charged with a crime but there are no guarantees. The matter could still be referred to the District Attorney and charges filed later. That is why perhaps they took your address.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/25/2013
Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
If the police were not called and you were not arrested, there is a good chance that charges will not be filed. However, the store could file a police report at any time up to one year.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/20/2013
Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
It sounds unlikely that anything will happen except you will get a demand to pay through the mail. Most judges do not give much money on a case like this. I would not want you to offer anything. It may be an admission, which could be used against you in court.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/20/2013
Nelson & Lawless
Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
Businesses can always file charges after the fact, whether or not you pay the fine you will receive in the mail from those lawyers. If they do press criminal charges [and many stores will], you'll get a notice in the mail from the DA or court with a court hearing date for your criminal arraignment. If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, and if this is in SoCal courts, feel free to contact me. Your lawyer may be able to negotiate a civil agreement with the store to avoid them pressing charges.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/20/2013
Law Office of James Gandy
Law Office of James Gandy | James Gandy
The store could report this incident to the police and the police might decide to investigate. This appears unlikely, however, since the store did not alert the police of the theft when it happened. It sounds as though this store is trying to obtain a civil judgment from you without filing a lawsuit. If you receive letters or phone calls from an attorney, remember that only a judge can order someone to pay; even then, both sides are given an opportunity to present evidence before a judgment is made. If the store or its agents are offering you an opportunity to pay BEFORE taking you to court, this is a demand and not a requirement; you do not have to pay until there is a judgment. Moreover, if they threaten to tell the police about the theft if you do not pay, simply explain that they are potentially committing extortion and that you feel the need to report their conduct to the police.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/19/2013
    Rizio & Nelson
    Rizio & Nelson | John W. Bussman
    DO NOT PAY THAT FINE. It's a scam. You have no legal obligation to do so. The store essentially charging you for the time and money it cost them to recover the goods and restock them on the shelves (which cost them nothing). If the store actually incurred any costs in recovering / restocking their goods, let them sue you for it. Of course, they don't actually have any losses, so they don't have anything worth suing over.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/19/2013
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