In order for them to collect the amount they request, they need to be able to show how $350 was related to the cost related to the recovery of the stolen item. I would make them show you how they came up with that figure.
Regarding the Spencer's Gifts matter, if you did not commit that theft, then you should definitely not pay the claim. If you have a defense, you should explain the situation, and if they believe it, they will probably drop the matter.
I hope that answers your question. If so, please click the "Accept" button (that's how I get credit for my work). Good luck.
If you were holding them for a friend, knowing they were stolen, you were a party to the crime, making you legally as guilty as the person who actually stole them. You are probably sunk on those charges.
I've copied this directly from the Theft Liability statute:
(1) under Section 134.003(a), from a person who commits theft, the amount of actual damages found by the trier of fact and, in addition to actual damages, damages awarded by the trier of fact in a sum not to exceed $1,000;
This makes you liable for the damages (of which there were none because they got the pants back). The judge can penalize you up to $1000.
As far as Spencer's not detaining you, that doesn't matter. You don't get a free pass simply by making it out of the store.
If you go to court the judge could impose higher penalties than what they are asking for.
You should definitely get copies of whatever you signed.
If you don't think you can successfully defend yourself against the charges (from what you've said, it doesn't sound like you can), then I recommend that you contact Macy's and Spencers and offer them something less than what they are asking. Tell them all you can afford is $100 and negate them down. $350 is their first offer to settle, and they are most likely willing to settle for less.
If that answers your question, please click "Accept." If you have any follow up questions, feel free to ask.
You understand the statute correctly.
It's hard to say what effect the papers will have on your case without knowing what you've signed. If you signed something agreeing to pay a certain penalty, then there isn't much you can do. At that point, the judge isn't deciding if it is fair or not (after all, you agreed to pay it), he will just decide if it is a valid contract.
If you lose, there will be additional court costs that you may be required to pay. As far as the fine, it totally depends on the judge. Because of that, there is no "typical" case. Generally, though, your fine will be less than $500.
Before you proceed any further, you need to get a copy of what you've signed. If you are in a position to negotiate, then do that. If you are stuck, then you should pay and move on.
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