Some people just cannot control their actions and their desires when they come across an item that they really want, but simply cannot afford to buy. At times, the desire to get the item is so strong that the person cannot stop and this is when the shoplifting occurs. Now, it is important to understand that not all the people involved in shoplifting are criminals. Some of them are ordinary individuals, who simply wish to get the item bad enough to steal it.
With that said, shoplifting is still a crime and people get charged for it regularly. Furthermore, at times, people charged with shoplifting, receive letters from merchants they stole from. The seller demands to get certain restitution for damages. This is the attempt of the merchant to seek civil remedy against the shoplifter. The seller can be demanding $50-$500 depending on circumstances in addition to the price of the item itself. Nevertheless, in order for the letter to work, there must be a loss. If the item was returned to the owner, there can be no compensation for the merchant.
Civil Letter comes as part of Civil Liability and if any issues arise on the matter of the monetary amount, it should all be settled in Civil Court. Civil Court will help in settling the matter between the seller and the shoplifter, whereas the Criminal Court is settling matters between the accused person and the state government.
One must also keep in mind that even if the item was return or the Civil Demand letter was satisfied, it does not necessarily relieve the accused person from any responsibility. However, the merchant may cooperate by signing a civil compromise, a document, which is going to demonstrate to the court that all costs were paid and the item was returned safely. This could make a powerful argument in court and may even lead to the case dismissal, which is the optimal outcome for any shoplifter.
One way or the other, it is very important to have a qualified Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer by your side when it comes to shoplifting charges. Even if you returned the item and paid for any losses, it does not imply that you will be let go. On the contrary, the prosecution may pursue your case in order to make sure that you are penalized in accordance with the law. A good attorney is going to come up with a compelling argument, which will prove that you are never going to make the same mistake again and that you are not a criminal – rather the victim of circumstances.