Q: I got a Civil demand letter from attorney representing Walmart in a retail theft, shoplifting case. It states pay to $150 to us in addition to and/or in addition to criminal charges. In FAQ section of recovery pay it states civil demand is for security etc but also to serve as deterrent against shoplifting as well as punishment for the crime. How can they punish me criminally if the loss prevention guy said that I’ll be getting a summons in the mail for the incident?? To date I haven’t received this alleged summons in the mail. Paying the civil demand would be better than going through the court. (West Mifflin, Pa)
A: Normally, most attorneys advise clients to ignore the civil demand letter especially if it is from an out of state collections attorney. However, I have had more situations over the past two years where my negotiation for a withdrawal of the charges, included paying the civil demand. It depends. An attorney can guide you through this. As advised, they can still prosecute you even if you pay the civil demand. You can try negotiating a global release of criminal and civil liability, but I would do this through an attorney.