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TexCrimLawyer, J.D.
TexCrimLawyer, J.D., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4829
Experience:  Experienced in state and federal criminal litigation.
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I was caught at Macys for a pair of pants less than 50 dollars,

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I was caught at Macy's for a pair of pants less than 50 dollars, with the Civil Recovery law (Texas) no damage was done other than the removal of a tag, they demand the payment of $325.00, what is best advised pay the fee or the dealing with the possible Macy's attorneys? Additionally; while being detained at Macy's they found two necklaces from Spencer Gifts Inc. I did not steal the necklace, but it was in my possession, the amount was less than $50.00, and no damage was done. They contacted a Spencer associate to claim the merchandise. I was given a Civil Theft Notice stating, "You have been detained at Spencer Gifts, Inc. for retail theft, etc. Can they do that? I was mailed a "Settlement Offer", demanding $350.00 or threat of a civil law claim. What is best advised to do; pay both settlement fees, or face the possibility of them both taking civil action, along with what could happen if I were to face them in civil court and the amount that it cost me?
Law enforcement was involved, a Police Officer issued me a ticket and the court date has yet to come, the ticket does not concern me.

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.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Spencer's Gift is demanding $350.00 for two unbroken necklaces that amount to about $30.00 or less. A friend stole the necklaces and I was holding onto them, they were in my pocket when busted at Macy's so I don't think I have much of a defense there. However does Spencer's Gift have the right to do all of that? I wasn't detained in their territory so they shouldn't be able to prosecute, is that correct? Is it possibility that it would be dismissed if that is correct?
Macy's has video footage that could go against me. Is it a fact that they need to show how $325.00 is related to the cost to the recovery of the stolen item? Would that be me contacting Macy's or would this be in the civil court or both? I was forced to sign different papers from both companies, this might have done me wrong. Should I demand copies?
If I were to go to court would I need to a hire an attorney and what not, and could the prices of those costs be higher than the settlement costs combined? Along with if I were to lose the case would the price I pay the company higher?
Help me get some solid ground here to decide.

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.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
So am I understanding this correctly, even if no damage was done to the merchandise the judge can virtually say I have to pay as much as he or she wants that's under $1,000? Of course stealing is wrong and there's the penalty with it, but when something is under $50.00, would the judge tend to over price me over the companies or would the judge be more reasonable and make me pay a lesser fee, or it all depends on the type of the judge.
The only issue with what they made me sign is I might have signed away my soul to them, I just didn't want to get arrested. I'll try and bargain with them, but I don't know if I signed to it or not. So do you think if I'm signed into the prices and I can't negociate, would it be better to pay it or try my luck in court. Please tell me how a typical case of that would go, are there fees that I have to pay aside from if I lose the case. Just please elaborate a little more on this whole situation and the outcomes. We're getting very close to the accept answer.

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.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
They can't refuse to give me them can they?
How would "YOU" go about negotiating the price, what would you say, and all good stuff to try and keep it down and try and have the upper hand. I know you have some nice rebuttals in you.
I would negotiate them down from a practical angle, since you can't beat them on the facts. First, convince them that you can only afford $100, especially with your ticket, and something is better than nothing. Also, they need to believe that you are willing to take it to court, because if you do, they know it will cost them in attorney's fees. I don't know your personal situation, but youth is always a good argument. People understand that young people sometimes make dumb decisions and typically don't have much money. Also, if you have kids they may have more sympathy. They can refuse to negotiate, but it isn't in their interest to do so.
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