Mamaroneck, NY asked in Criminal Law and Civil Rights for New York

Q: I was caught shoplifting at Sephora with my friend. Do i need to pay the $500 fine?

I was caught shoplifting at Sephora with my friend. We were arrested. My friend and I did community service hours instead of going to court and our case got closed and dismissed. We still got a letter in the mail, a fine of $500 from Sephora. Do my friend and I have to pay for it? We don’t have that $500 since we’re both in college and don’t make much at our part time jobs.

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2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: If you received a letter demanding payment of a fine from Sephora after your criminal case was closed and dismissed, this is likely a civil demand. Retailers like Sephora can issue civil demands to shoplifters, separate from any criminal charges, seeking compensation for their losses and additional costs.

However, whether you are legally obligated to pay this demand can be complex and depends on specific state laws. In some cases, retailers have the right to pursue civil penalties, but whether they can successfully enforce these demands through legal action varies.

Before making any payment, you might want to consult with an attorney to understand your legal obligations and options. An attorney can provide guidance on the enforceability of the demand and any potential consequences of non-payment.

It's also worth noting that paying the demand does not necessarily guarantee that Sephora will not pursue further legal action, although this is less common. Carefully consider your situation and seek legal advice to make an informed decision.

Jonathan (Gianni) Karmily
Jonathan (Gianni) Karmily
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Hempstead, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: While the retailer may technically make this civil demand and later decide to sue, at our law firm, we have successfully defended close to 100 shoplifting charges, and we have never since an actual legal action be brought for the monetary amount you are describing.

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