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I have a situation where a department store says me and my…

I have a situation...

I have a situation where a department store says me and my sister were caught shoplifting and have to pay $200.00 or warrants will be issued for our arrest. My concerns are I was no where near where this shoplifting took place also my maiden name was used and I live in a whole different state and have a charge card for the store where this theft was suppose to have taken place. I have tried to contact the department store and the investigator on this but I have gotten no where. I have called defense attorneys but the fees are crazy and I can't afford them at this time. And this is for something I didn't do.

Lawyer's Assistant: Do you have any upcoming court dates on the charges?

No we just received letters in the mail stating all this and that is why we reached out to the store. And the letters went to my mothers house in a city I haven't lived in for over 7 years

Lawyer's Assistant: In what state did this occur?

Michigan

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I think that is all

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Answered in 7 minutes by:
3/22/2018
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 31,896
Experience: Lawyer
Verified

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

You can send the investigator any proof you have that you were in a different state at the time. If they refuse to drop the case, you'll still have an opportunity to defend yourself. Police can't come to your house and arrest you with a warrant from a different state. And for minor shoplifting charges, arrest warrants are rare. More likely, they would send a Notice to Appear to your last known address.

It sounds like whoever was shoplifting with your sister gave an old ID of yours instead of their real identification, which would explain the maiden name and the old address. Ask your mother to keep an eye out for anything new in the mail, to let you know when the court date is. You'll want to go to the hearing to avoid them entering a bench warrant against you. At the initial appearance, you can plead not guilty and request a lawyer. The judge will appoint a public defender to represent you. Hopefully, you'll be able to prove that this is a matter of mistaken identity and can move to dismiss the case. Bring any evidence you have that you were in another state at the time, just in case. If you purchased anything using a credit or debit card, that would help.

Since you're out of state, you can try contacting the public defender's office in advance, but they won't be able to help unless a criminal case has been filed against you first.

Once this is resolved, if you can figure out who used your identity, you'll be able to sue them for the money they cost you.

Have I answered your question? If any part of my response is unclear, please reply WITHOUT rating so I can clarify. My goal is to provide excellent service, so if I've done that, please give me a 5-star rating before signing out. Thank you for using JustAnswer.

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Customer reply replied 28 days ago
My sister wasn't with the person shoplifting her name was used just like mines. The store said there were 3 people me my sister and someone else who actually went to jail. I asked them what kind of identification was given and they just said they verified it was us. which isn't possible because I have never used my mothers address for anything at all. and when I moved to a different city 7 years ago my ID was then updated. I have never lost an ID for anyone to use and none of my previous address match my mothers. Is there anyway to make the department store responsible for this as well?

I'm afraid the department store would only be responsible if you could prove they somehow planted your IDs on the people who were shoplifting or specifically lied about who they stopped. If someone hands them an ID, they're allowed to rely on it.

When they say they verified it was you, that probably just means that the people they stopped vaguely resembles you and your sister.

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Customer reply replied 28 days ago
I was told they verified us because they gave names and date of birth and the date of birth doesn't match neither one of ours.I just called and was told no ID was given just the personal information.

Then it'll come down to what they do next. At this point, all they've done is send you a letter - which is completely reasonable under the circumstances. You haven't suffered any legal damages yet, because they haven't sued or cost you any money.

If you can send them all of the proof that you are not the person they stopped - see if they'll accept a picture of your ID to establish that you're not the person they saw, or your marriage license to prove that your name changed, plus evidence that you were in another state - and they proceed anyway, then you could have a claim against them. Because in that case, you'd be able to argue that they knew you weren't the one they caught shoplifting.

Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 31,896
Experience: Lawyer
Verified
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