What to do With Civil Demands From Stores
Theft Crimes Attorney in Lynnwood, WA
Shoplifting in Washington is governed by a special law that allows retail stores to assess civil penalties against a person caught shoplifting, even prior to the criminal case being completed. Some large retail stores are especially aggressive about pursuing these types of civil demands. Stores such as JC Penney, Macy's and Nordstrom have litigation departments that regularly send out demand letters to those accused of theft. If used properly, these demands are one of the best ways to get your theft charge dismissed in Washington State.
WHAT IS A CIVIL DEMAND?
A civil demand often entails a threatening letter from a law firm representing the store in question that states a repayment amount, a repayment date, and the threat of a law suit if you do not comply. We have copies of sample letters from all of the local stores in our office, so we know the best way to handle each one of these demands.
Do I Have to Pay a Civil Demand for Shoplifting?
Whatever you do, do not pay the civil demand yourself. By paying the demand through our office, we have a much better chance of securing a civil release that we can use later to attempt to get your case dismissed in court.
Paying a civil demand could be a big mistake without first consulting with a theft crimes attorney in Lynnwood. At The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear, we have the experience you need when it comes to handling this type of a case.
Compromise of Misdemeanor - Getting Your Case Dismissed
Washington's Compromise of Misdemeanor law, RCW 10.22.010, states in part as follows:
"… if the party injured appear in the court in which the cause is pending at any time before the final judgment therein, and acknowledge, in writing, that he has received satisfaction for the injury, the court may, in its discretion, on payment of the costs incurred, order all proceedings to be discontinued and the defendant to be discharged."
Through careful negotiations with the party presenting a civil demand against you, we may be able to structure a plan that will satisfy the retail stores and allow us to secure a release to have your charges dismissed. This is a fine balancing act that needs to be carefully constructed based on any evidence against you. If it appears there is not sufficient evidence against you to obtain a conviction, it may not be wise to pay a civil demand. On the other hand, if there is strong evidence against you, this may be the best way to obtain a dismissal of your charges.
Don't let a retail store intimidate you. You may be able to get your charges dismissed and arrange repayment, allowing you to avoid a criminal charge on your record which could adversely affect the rest of your life.
Call The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear in Lynnwood at (425) 224-7075 for legal assistance with a shoplifting crime.
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