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Okay so I know this was bad and embarrassing and stupid, but…

Okay so I know this...
Okay so I know this was bad and embarrassing and stupid, but I was caught shoplifting at Walmart. They took me back and they were agitated at me when I said that this was my first time (they didn't believe me). They took my picture, told me to expect a fine and a court date in the mail, and said " I don't want to catch you in here doing that kind of thing ever again, do you understand me?" They didn't call the cops, they didn't make me sign anything or tell me I was banned, and they didn't say they were pressing charges. What's going to happen to me?
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
6/26/2010
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 126,897
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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If the police were not called and you were not given a summons to go to court, they have chosen to handle this matter under the civil shoplifting statute. If you do not pay the fine, then they will pursue charges and sue and you would be liable for the fine plus their attorney's fees. At this point this will not go on your criminal record so you do not have to claim it as an arrest/conviction when asked. If they have not told you that you are banned, then you can still go into the store as well.


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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
They gave me a notice that I would recieve a court date in the mail at a later time but that was it. The paper says " may prompt ... actions under state law" but doesn't say they will. They (Walmart inc) says they have retained the offices of ... to recover. They don't say they will summon me to court though, but the LP said they will send something in the mail. I don't know what to do.
The Indiana statute provides they can actually pursue both criminal and civil charges and you would be liable for both. Many times, however, they do not pursue the criminal charges when the defendant complies with the civil provisions without going to court. This is not a guarantee and generally, you can call them to negotiate this but most times they will not agree in writing not to pursue criminal charges if you comply with the civil case without fighting them. You need to contact the firm and ask them to agree to not pursue criminal charges in exchange for your prompt payment, this is up to them and they are in the driver's seat here, but it is always worth trying to negotiate. Once you pay, even if you get a letter from them telling you they will not prosecute, you would have to respond to any notice to appear in criminal court (if they send you the letter bring it with you to show they agreed not to prosecute).
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Will this go on my record? I want to work in government and I know if prosecuted I won't be able to at all. And will I not be able to get financial aid even if not prosecuted? Will I be prosecuted? I know this is intense but I'm 19, this is my first time doing anything of the sort (even if they don't believe me) . I have heard a ton of walmart horror stories and I know that I'm a bad person for doing this and there is no way I will again. But is this mistake going to ruin the rest of my life?
If they charge you criminally, yes it will go on your record as a misdemeanor. If they do not charge you in criminal court and all you do is pay the civil fine, then it will not go on your criminal record.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
will they charge me crimanally?
I honestly cannot tell you they will not do so. All I can tell you is to call the law firm to try to negotiate that. They have every right to charge you criminally in addition to the civil penalty.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
What would have been any notifications that they would? They never mentioned anything about pressing charges, in fact they said they wouldn't. But they said that they would send the court demand and the fine. But is that really all?
You would get a letter or summons in the mail from the local court if they are charging you. If they are saying they will not press charges, which you said in the beginning then changed that later and said that they would send you a court date at a later time. The most likely thing here is that if you pay the civil penalty, they will not pursue charges.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
what is the difference in court demands and pressing charges? They said I would have to appear in court but said they weren't going to press charges. Is there a difference?
Customer reply replied 8 years ago
And what about this ban? Will they later ask for a ban from Walmart?
If you have to appear in court, then they would be pressing charges. But if the letter says you would have to appear in court if you do not pay the civil demand, then this means they will sue you if you do not pay. As far as the ban, if you were not notified of any ban you are not banned.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
the letter they have sent me doesn't say anything about a court demand nor does the statute they have attached to it. The man mentioned it, but I could have been wrong if he said they wouldn't be pressing charges. The adrenaline made it hard to hear.
At this point, there is nothing you can do but resolve the civil matter. You need to call the attorney as I said above and ask them regarding the criminal charges, since they could conceivably still file criminal charges, but in all likelihood they will not as long as you pay the fine.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Thank you so much for all your help. I'm sorry if I sound panicky, but all the things online have been calling me you know the usual "horrible person". And I am, no doubt and I feel it. But mostly I feel stupid. Really stupid. So thank you.
At this point, I am afraid that all you can do is wait and hope you have learned a valuable lesson from all of this. Please do not forget to click on accept to release your deposit.

Edited by PaulMJD on 6/27/2010 at 12:32 AM EST
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 126,897
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
Verified
Law Educator, Esq. and 87 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I read a release that Walmart doesn't prosecute for under 25. Is this true?
It is generally true, unless you do not cooperate with the civil penalties.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Is it likely that they will send me the ban in the mail? I heard that I would have to sign a paper. I don't plan to go into the store for a long time, but my mother lives in Sam's Club and will notice if somethings amiss. They never mentioned a ban and even though they were pissed they just said "don't let me catch you here doing anything like this again".
No, if they did not inform you at the time of a ban, then you are not banned and will not be banned unless they catch you again.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
should I call the number to get this resolved as quickly as possible? The sheet they gave me said that $100 fine but will it be more?
Yes, you should contact the number and make arrangements with them, it will not be more unless you do not make the payments.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Does walmart have a list of shoplifters? And if so, what does it mean if I am put on it? I never ever want to do this again, and I was stupid this time. Does it just mean when I enter a store they are going to be paying more attention to me or what?
No, they are not likely to pay much attention, but your name would be on their list and if you got caught again they will look and see you have been caught there before and this would lead to the ban and possibly criminal charges.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
that's okay. I never even want to go back into walmart or shop again, much less think about this.
All of this will pass, just relax and you will get through it.
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