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Should I pay this $500 civil demand?

Discussion in 'Juvenile Crime, Law & Court' started by Scarlett101, Aug 12, 2014.

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  1. Scarlett101

    Scarlett101 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I was caught with a friend shoplifting at (clothing store). They took us in and asked us questions and then banned us for two years. They called the police in which we were taken to a station and got fingerprinted and waited for our parents to pick us up.

    The police officer said that we would have to go to court and wait for a date. A couple days later, a police officer called me and asked for my mother. She mentioned the civil demand and he advised her not to pay it because they reclaimed their merchandise and called the authorities into it. The civil demand letter says (clothing store) does not wish to commence civil legal action against you on this matter. As an alternate to civil legal action, we are willing to settle this matter and issue a written release if the sum of $500.00 is received within 30 days."

    I'm confused because I'm already going to a program for this matter. So what would they press charges on me for? I took about $204 of merch. Could I ask them if I pay the amount I took instead?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2014
  2. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    You can ask, in that there is no law that prohibits your asking. However, do not expect them to agree.
     
  3. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    Civil Demand is state law. There can be consequences for not paying. These consequences can be long term and severe. You need to give careful thought before making a decision. Here is a write on this very subject. http://www.parentnook.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=161&t=3934 As a retail theft consultant I talk to people daily about this and related issues. I almost always suggest the Civil demand be paid to avoid the aforementioned consequences. Where many may say the retailer is unlikely to pursue these consequences its a still a risk. Question is are you willing to take this risk?
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    OP, in what county did this event allegedly take place?

    As you're a minor, you can't by Texas law commit crimes.
    Minors, if taken to court, can be adjudicated of a delinquent act.
    Only your parents can decide what must be done.
    The court won't recognize or hear you, unless your parents give permission.
    It's best to STOP talking.
    That Miranda warning and the constitutional protection of the 5th amendment are your best friends.
    Don't engage these letter scammers.
    They aren't even allowed to communicate their extortion threats to a pure, unknowing CHILD.
    Tell mom or dad, don't bother with these extortionists.

    Texas, unlike some states, is conflicted on this merchant scam.
    if the demand letter doesn't come from a Texas licensed lawyer, file a bar complaint with the Texas Bar.
    Very few Texas licensed defense attorneys would ever advise you to abdicate your right to avoid self incrimination and snitch yourself out.
    Never ever rat on yourself.
    Let the state PROVE their case.
    Above all else, don't break any law.
    Don't do stupid stuff.

    Those demand letters have no force of law in Texas.
    Mr. Ruff tells you why.
    Read his comments, make your decision.
    Some have said those letters are CLOSE to extortion in our little republic.
    A Texas lawyer says, don't pay:

    http://thetorranceattorney.com/2012...he-civil-demand-letter-in-a-shoplifting-case/

    At www.texasbar.com

    More info:

    http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/should-i-pay-a-demand-under-texas-civil-practice-a-1437066.html
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  5. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    The "Force of law" comes if you fail to pay! Yes its true the original letter carries no power and yes its true few take these cases to courts but it can happen. there are also other actions the retailer can legally take. Read the link I provided and give careful thought before making any decisions.
     
  6. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    In response to link AJ posted. NO ONE is making ANY profit from Civil Demand! In fact the purpose of Civil demand is for retailers to recoup some of the cost of protecting stores from theft. I read link and some of the answers clearly show a total lack of knowledge of what civil Demand is or does! If you want actual legal advice on subject then talk to an Attorney familiar with Civil Demand not random posters who may or may not be Lawyers and who may or may not even know about Civil Demand.
     
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If the merchant retrieved the ALLEGED stolen goods, he or she has no loss.
    He can sue you in small claims, but absent a loss of the goods, he has no lss on which he can be compensated under Texas law. By the way, as a Texas licensed Asher, myself, a member in good standing of the Texas Bar, I know of what I type.

    OP, as a juvenile, you can't commit CRIMES under Texas law.
    You didn't steal, and if adjudicated delinquent under Texas law by a county judge sitting on the juvenile bench, you'd never see a day in jail. Texas doesn't incarcerate juvies, we rehabilitate them. Juveniles ate sometimes held in juvenile facilities. Those by Texas law aren't jails or prisons. Juveniles are never fined, either. Occasionally, their parents are required to pay restitution.

    As the alleged stolen items were retained by the merchant, no loss has been sustained by the merchant.
    Relax, and remember, DON'T DO STUPID STUFF or ILLEGAL STUFF.
     
  8. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    Civil Demand has NOTHING to do with the lost of items. As I said its about recouping the enormous costs to prevent and stop theft. Of course we can always let stores raise prices or make cuts to staffing to deal with costs
     
  9. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Of course, it didn't cost the employer anything at all for the time of the LP personnel. Or to process the stolen materials back again. Or any other administrative functions that occurred solely because some light-fingered individual thought they were entitled to something for nothing.

    No, the only POSSIBLE cost to the employer was the exact cost of the stolen goods.

    I don't think.
     
  10. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    Let do quick numbers (not exact)

    Store may employ 4 LPO (Loss Prevention Officers) at around $20,000.00 a year
    A LPM (Loss Prevention Manager) at around $30,000.00 or $35,000.00
    Payroll alone is over $100,000.00 a year. Factor in tools like CCTV, computers, paperwork, training etc and there is a portion of your costs. Unlike a sales person or the like this jobs does NOT add to any profit margin. The link I provided has more info on this but cbg put it nicely
     
  11. Betty3

    Betty3 Super Moderator

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    Agree, there is more cost to the store than just the cost of the items taken.
     
  12. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    The accused is responsible for his or her actions only, not the cumulative loss from actions of others. When there is no loss and a demand of $500 is paid that is a profit of $500.

    Hiring of personnel and purchase of equipment are business decisions made long before the incident took place and are not a loss. Perhaps time spent handling the matter is legitimate, but @ $12/hr we are looking at maybe a $24 loss in time? However, that is what these people are hired to do anyway and would have been paid the same even if the theft didn't occur, so not a loss at all.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2014
  13. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    They are hired because there is a need! Retailers lose over 15 billion (with a B) dollars each year from shoplifting alone! This isn't even the biggest bulk either. To not take some preventive action would be insane as theft would run wild. We can make same argument for your job! So your opinion is we should either let retailers lose even more or get back cost some other way like making honest people pay with higher prices? One can also say because we don't like a law we should ignore it? That is basically what is being suggested.
     
  14. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I am saying as a licensed member of the Texas Bar that a retailer can sue (as can anyone) for their losses.
    Those losses in the case where Amos gets caught stealing $50.00 worth of Chinese made trinkets, are nothing if the retailer takes possession of the goods from Amos and places them back on the shelf for sale.
    That's what any of us could do, if Amos had stolen $50.00 worth of our Chinese junk.
    But, if we got the junk back from Amos in good condition, we have nothing on which we can sue Amos in small claims court, and neither does ANY retailer.
    I suggest every retailer prosecute each and every thief they discover.
    That's why society funds a criminal justice system, not some 21st century knock off of Sharia Law.
    Don't extort anyone, even alleged thieves.
    Do prosecute any thief you catch, and let a judge or jury determine the guilt of innocence of the thief.
    No one is encouraging law breaking, certainly not this poster.
    Neither am I encouraging legalized extortion or unjust enrichment by greedy merchants or their agents!
     
  15. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Seek, that's where we disagree. I don't see the civil demand as extortion or unjust enrichment; nor do I see merchants who seek to recover some of their unseen costs for thievery as greedy.

    The greed belongs to the thief who thinks they're entitled to take something without paying for it and then whines because they're asked to make restitution.
     
  16. shrinkmaster

    shrinkmaster Well-Known Member

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    Amen! I couldn't agree more and I couldn't disagree more with this being extortion
     
  17. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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    Not at all true. Depending on the product and the nature of the item returned, it may not be able to be resold. There is also a cost associated with the detection, apprehension, pursuit and prosecution of the offender borne by the merchant. That is what the civil demand is designed to help the merchant recover, in some small part. Not to mention that, statistically, each identified theft is accompanied by many, many more unidentified thefts. Rare it is that a thief is caught the first time he steals.

    And a civil demand is not at all required to be linked to a criminal prosecution.

    Since the law in all states seems to codify and support civil demands, it is legal and NOT extortion.
     
  18. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    We simply disagree. We aren't required to agree on everything or anything to live in harmony.
    Life isn't a shouting contest, nor should one seek to force one's opinion on others.
    That said, carry on.
    Sorry your entreaty was hijacked, OP.
    Please consider your options, speak to an attorney or three in your vicinity (most will meet with you at no cost for the initial meeting), and please let this one incident be an aberration in your life. As a juvenile, OP, make sure you talk with your parents about this little mess. They will make the necessary decisions about all of this. I'm sure they'll have many things to say, and plenty of questions for you to answer.

    Good luck, and please don't do any more illegal things or stupid stuff.

    I believe in our constitution, individual rights, and our system of justice.

    I don't believe in unjust enrichment, extortion, criminal behavior, or bullies.

    I support everyone's right to choose.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2014
  19. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    It is important to recognize that civil demand laws do not require anyone to do anything. There are no penalties for not complying with them. They are silly laws that simply express options that the retailer already has even without the law. They have no real effect on anything other than feeble minds.

    Demand money that is paid is hardly a drop in the bucket of total losses and most of it probably goes to legal firms. Product prices are already inflated to account for expected losses.

    The way to address this is to have each thief held accountable for their own actions. If necessary a legislature could increase penalties. Expecting anyone to pay arbitrary fines to cover losses from the actions of others is absurd.

    The civil demand process allows thieves to escape any real consequence for their actions and probably doesn't discourage them from stealing.
     
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  20. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Well, I agree with AJ in one respect. More thieves should be prosecuted. Even juveniles. THAT'S the way to stop theft. It's just like I tell employers on the employment law boards - you don't have to fire very many people for X before employees stop doing X, whether it's coming in late or punching their co-worker in the mouth.

    If more people were prosecuted for theft and had to face real consequences for it, you'd see a drop in theft.
     

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