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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    2

    Default Guilt by Association

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Texas

    My daughter (19) was shopping with two friends in Macy's the other day. They went to the dressing room to try on items and her friends decided to shoplift. She tried to talk them out of it, but they wouldn't listen. When they left the dressing room, they were detained. All were eventually charged with shoplifting and fined. No police were called, no formal charges were filed. They were told they had to each pay $325 for damages by next Thursday.

    My question is, if my daughter didn't shoplift, why was she charged and fined? Is there anything I can do about this other than getting an attorney?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    6,506

    Default Re: Guilt by Association

    (NOTE: I AM NOT A LAWYER).

    Your daughter was likely charged because she was with these friends, and had knowledge of the crime.

    She had a couple options: Leave them, leave the store; leave them, tell an employee of the store.

    Since she remained with them, she is seen as an accessory to the crime.

    Pay the civil demand. The store will likely sue her if it is not paid, and the amount will be a lot more (add in their attorney's fees, court costs....). And it is possible (very likely) that if the fine is not paid, charges WILL be filed.

    The store does have a year to file charges, keep that in mind.

    Your daughter likely signed a form stating she had shoplifted; and another one that states she is banned from Macy's.

    As for an attorney, you could consult with a Criminal Defense lawyer, many offer free consultations.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Guilt by Association

    I don't care if she ever goes into this store or any Macy's again. I just don't want her name to be marred as a known shoplifter. If the only way to make it go away is to pay it, I will, but I feel she was coerced into admitting something she didn't actually do. What are my chances of getting them to change their records stating exactly the facts -- she didn't shoplift, but witnessed it being done?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    6,506

    Default Re: Guilt by Association

    You should definitely see a Criminal Defense Attorney. They can answer your questions a lot better than I can.

    Right now, she does not have a criminal record with Law Enforcement. That could change if the Civil Demand is not paid. She may be listed on a National Shoplifter Database. And remember, the store does have a year in which they can file charges.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Guilt by Association

    The statute of limitations in Texas for theft is 2 years.

    Quote Quoting lisa3
    View Post
    I don't care if she ever goes into this store or any Macy's again. I just don't want her name to be marred as a known shoplifter. If the only way to make it go away is to pay it, I will, but I feel she was coerced into admitting something she didn't actually do. What are my chances of getting them to change their records stating exactly the facts -- she didn't shoplift, but witnessed it being done?
    She may not of carried the merchandise out of the store or placed some, or all, of the merchandise into a bag, but it does sound as if she was an active participant and can be charged with theft. I suspect there are more details to than what have been written.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Washington comma the Great State of.
    Posts
    1,211

    Default Re: Guilt by Association

    Quote Quoting lisa3
    View Post
    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Texas

    My daughter (19) was shopping with two friends in Macy's the other day. They went to the dressing room to try on items and her friends decided to shoplift. She tried to talk them out of it, but they wouldn't listen. When they left the dressing room, they were detained. All were eventually charged with shoplifting and fined. No police were called, no formal charges were filed. They were told they had to each pay $325 for damages by next Thursday.

    My question is, if my daughter didn't shoplift, why was she charged and fined? Is there anything I can do about this other than getting an attorney?
    There isn't a great deal you can do because your daughter is an adult.

    That being said, like another poster said: she had options. She choose poorly. With that mind, however, it's worth noting that as a private citizen she has no obligation to report a crime.

    As far as her being marred as a shoplifter, you implied that she admitted to being one: "admitted [to] something she didn't actually do." If she had no part in it, then she should have stayed firm in that and forced the store to make a decision. As it is, she has now created for herself a very difficult situation because she has already admitted her guilt.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Guilt by Association

    As stated above, your daughter was aware. If she was in my store then i would charge her as an accessory also strictly because she was aware of what was going and chose not to do anything about it. Pay the civil demand on time and she will probably be alright.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Guilt by Association

    The reason she got caught was because it was a fitting room. Had she been on the sales floor while they shoplifted and she didn't touch anything that was being stole she most likely would not have been detained. ANYONE in the same fitting room at the time a theft occurs will be arrested. There is no way for us to know who has the merchandise or not other than it's missing and will be arrested and whether the friend only has it does not matter. They were in there and they could of just as easily helped stuff it down a friends purse while they actually have nothing on them. Even if she honestly did not participate there's no way of knowing since there are no cameras in a fitting room. That's why she is being charged because in their eyes she was in there and there was knowledge. Since they did not call the police don't worry about her having a record she will never have a record, only with that store that's it no one else will find out about it unless she refuses to pay the fine then she can be charged with the police department or sued.

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