Posted by Michael Franklin
Additional Information: I am 23 years old and was caught shoplifting at sears. I signed papers, under $50. Police called but I was not arrested, no paper given from officer. This is my first offense. Do i still appear in court, or just pay civil demand? What happens next?

You will receive a summons to appear in Court as a criminal defendant. Appear when ordered to do so and resolve the matter there.  The prosecutor will have the discretion to resolve the matter as a civil offense when you go to Court. Often stores like Sears will send out letters to shoplifters demanding monies as fines in addition to the financial penalties imposed by the Court. The authors of these letters are collection agencies hired by such stores. Do not respond to these letters. You have no legal obligation to pay anything other than what the Criminal Court orders.