please help explain this letter from their lawyer! does it mean i still have to go to court?!?

ok i was caught shoplifting $41 worth of stuff from kmart last week today i get this letter in the mail can you tell me what it means ?

i thought it meant that i pay the $300.00 in full and im done with the case but then i call to make a payment and they said i will still have to go to court for the criminal side of it?

please help ?

Dear jennifer ******

this law firm represents Kmart concerning its claim against you in connection with an incident in their store on 9/12/2008.

pursuant to burns indiana code sections 34-24-3-1 and 34-24-3-2, kmart may proceed with a civil penalty claim against you.

YOU MAY SETTLE THIS MATTER BY MAKING PAYMENT TO US IN THE AMOUNT OF #300 WITHIN 20 DAYS OF THE DATE OF THIS LETTER. upon receipt of full payment and clearance of funds, you will recieve a written release of the civil penalty claim.

should payment fail to be made on time we may review the possibility of further actions often resulting in a higher settlement request. kmart may also file a lawsuit in which case it will seek any attorneys fees, court costs.

does it mean that if i pay in full by 20 days i dont have to go to court ? and if i still have to go , what will take place?


7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Yes you still go to court if you were arrested. If you pay before court then they may or may not drop the charges. The judge will ask has the issue be resolved and if so the case should be dismissed. If not then you may face up to six months in jail, fine or probation.

    Usually on the first court settings you can get a continuance to obtain an attorney. If you took the items and they want you to pay then do so before court. If you don't have the money or wish to pay hire an attorney. Trust me he or she may cost more than the $300.

    If this is your first offense you are facing up to six months in jail, OR probation, and or a fine.

    Not sure why they are asking for $300 unless it includes their attorney fees. Call them and ask doing so won't hurt.

    Source(s): Police Officer for 15 years.
  • 1 decade ago

    When a crime is committed, there are two possible trials: Criminal Trial and Civil trial.

    A Criminal trial would be when the state files charges, and the defendant is found either guilty or not guilty. The punishment for such a trial would be given by the state- whether it be a fine, community service, time in jail, etc. If you pay a fine to satisfy a criminal judgment, the fine goes to the court, not to the harmed party (in this case- Kmart).

    A Civil trial would be when someone sues someone else. In this case, Kmart is indicating that instead of going to court, you can settle out of court for $300. If they had decided to take you to court, the case would be between you and Kmart, not the state or any other government. If the defendant is found to be liable, then they will be asked to pay a settlement, usually a dollar amount.

    At least, this is my layman's understanding of the situation.

    This explains why someone like OJ Simpson can be found not guilty in a criminal trial, and still be found liable in a civil trial. But then, you sound a little young to remember the OJ Simpson trial.

    My guess is that if you go to court for the criminal offense, you will be given a fine, and community service, but who knows.

    The moral of the story is, don't shoplift, it is not worth it. Good luck!

  • blsdca
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I'm in CA, so it may be different, but the $300 is for the Civil part of the case, it doesn't have anything to do with the criminal charges. If you don't pay it, lots of bad things will happen- it will go on your credit and they will take you to Civil court. You do still have to go to Criminal Court no matter what. If you are a minor, this may be different but for adults- In CA, they maybe would drop charges, but you would still have to pay restitution to the courts (and if you don't pay this, they will add crazy fines, send it to collections, garnish your wages and take your tax return). If they won't drop charges, your public defender can get to a lesser charge, for example petty theft can sometimes be argued to trespassing- from a misdemeanor to an infraction. not as bad. don't shoplift anymore. it's not worth it and eventually people do go to jail for it.

  • 1 decade ago

    were you arrested? if so, you still have to go to criminal court if they pressed charges. as for the civil side of this, you are way better off to just pay up. if you don't, there is a high probability that you will lose the court case. your out of pocket costs could easily be 4-5 times the original amount, plus a collections blotch on your credit. all of this over 41 bucks worth of stuff. hope it was worth it, hehe.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Sounds like $300 within 20 days will settle the civil side of the issue.

    Whether or not there is a separate criminal side to the issue is unclear from this one letter.

  • 1 decade ago

    Pay the $300.00 and you're off the hook. If you go to court and found guilty, you must pay a fine, court cost, your layer, Kmarts lawyer, and some other things I can't remember right now. So, $300 against $5K or $7K. Now, your call.

  • 1 decade ago

    Call K-Mart head quarters and speak with someone in their legal dept.

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