My question involves criminal law for the state of: New Jersey (NJ)
Just yesterday evening I was caught shoplifting at Kohls. I am 18, this was my first offense, and I was with a friend who had nothing to do with my actions; just as we walked out of the store and were walking down the sidewalk, an LPO came out, asked me to come back inside with him, and asked my friend to just wait for me where (s)he was. I was very cooperative, even a bit out of it as I was so shaken up, and standard procedure occurred: they asked for my DOB, SSN, address, phone number, et cetera, had me sign the release saying I will never set foot in Kohls again, and had me sign an agreement stating that I stole, this and this worth of merchandise. I was told that the goods I attempted to steal were worth $175.00 (if I'm remembering the number correctly, which I think I am) and that the Civil Demand will come in the mail in approximately a week or two. The merchandise was fully returned undamaged, no cops were called and the woman dealing with me said that she was going to let me go and escorted me back to my friend so that we could leave. Additionally, I do plan on paying the Civil Demand.
So, after browsing many threads for hours, I am coming to you with this situation and my own questions.
- Never did the woman flat out say that charges were not going to be pressed against me (all I remember clearly was her telling me they were going to let me go), but considering the circumstances (cooperation, return of stolen and undamaged goods, cops not called to scene of crime), is it safe to say that charges will not be pressed? I'm not expecting you to whip out your crystal balls, I know my future can't be foreseen, but I do appreciate opinions on the matter!
- One of my big concerns: is there a way for me to change the address and phone number I gave the LPO so that the Civil Demand goes straight to me? I will be moving to my college dorm in just two days, and I very much wanted to give my dorm mailbox address initially, but seeing as I didn't have it memorized yet I could only give the LP my home address, where I live with my parents. I've read in other threads that it is A.) a lost cause to try because the Kohls LP can't do anything about it anymore, B.) nearly impossible to do without the help of a lawyer, but I've also read that C.) it is easy to call them and inquire about having my address/number changed.
I'm really hoping Option C is legitimate. Even if it is, is it wise to do so? Or would it just cause problems with the Kohls LP?
- Is there a way to determine approximately how much the Civil Demand will end up costing me in the state of NJ? The merchandise was reportedly worth $175 (or so I remember the LPO telling me), although I will say now that I am confused by this number; I shoplifted a sweater and two pairs of tights, the tights costing 12.50 at full retail value, but I don't remember the price of the sweater... yet I still don't believe it costed the difference between $175 and $25.00. Estimating it now, the most the sweater could have cost would have been $60 - $70. At the most! Any thoughts?
I believe those are all my questions for now. And yes, I definitely have to say that I learned my lesson. I have never felt so guilty of anything in my life and the thought of disappointing my parents because of petty theft is just heartbreaking. Any help is much appreciated!