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Civil Ramifications

Beyond criminal consequences, you should talk with your New York criminal lawyer about the possibility of a civil suit against you by the retailer. As it often happens, perhaps someone in the store tried to intimidate you into paying hundreds of dollars to avoid a civil case, and you're trying to decide what to do.

New York General Obligations Law Section 11-105, a New York State statute, permits retailers to sue alleged shoplifters in civil court to try to recoup the value of stolen merchandise. Retailers may sue for $500, or up to five times of the value of the missing property, whichever value is higher.

Unfortunately, you do not need to be convicted, nor does your case need to be resolved, for the retailer to pursue this course of action. And many unscrupulous security employees have been known to try to demand a cash payment from a customer accused of shoplifting as a way of preventing a possible civil suit.

Some questions your New York criminal attorney will want to discuss with you include:

  • Is the store likely to file a civil suit?
  • Would a judgment against you impact your credit?
  • Would a collection agency be engaged to collect the money from you?
  • What happens if you do not respond to the letter sent by the store's attorney?

Our law firm serves clients in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Westchester County. Call us at 212.312.7129 or contact us online today to speak with our New York attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors about misdemeanor shoplifting crimes.

In depth information on shoplifting crimes, statutes and laws is located on Saland Law's New York Criminal Lawyer Blog and its shoplifting crime section.

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