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  1. #1
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    May 2010
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    Default California Penal Code 490.5 (A), Civil Demand (Walmart/Palmer Reiffer and Associates)

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: California

    I was cited for shoplifting and arrested by the police, but released. I only signed the citation "without admitting guilt," nothing else. On the citation it says I violated "P.C. 484 (a)/P.C. 490.5 (a)". However, I received a Civil Demand from Palmer, Reifler, and Associates P.A. recently that says I must pay in "pursuant to Cal. Penal Code, Section 490.5 (b) and/or (c)".

    I was never cited for Penal Codes 490.5 (b) and (c), do I still have to pay the Civil Demand? If not, how is 490.5 (a) pursued?

    I have not paid because I did not have the funds to do so, but read online that this store does not usually file civil cases. Are there any statistics on whether or not WalMart files civil suits? I certainly have not seen any, just stories about either ignoring the CD or paying in fear of a Civil case being filed.

    Will not paying the Civil Demand by the first Criminal case court date (arraignment) jeopardize my ability to request a Public Defender? I'm unfamiliar with the law and am low-income, so I need a PD.

  2. #2
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    Jan 2006
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    38,867

    Default Re: California Penal Code 490.5 (A), Civil Demand, and Walmart/Palmer Reiffer and Ass

    the civil case and the criminal case are two separate situations. If you refuse to pay the civil demand, Walmart can sue you. If they win, they will receive a judgment which they will then make attempts to collect. It will also, most likely, end up on your credit report for as long as it is an active judgment.


    I'm unfamiliar with the law and am low-income, so I need a PD.
    a PD will not be provided to you concerning the civil demand.



    and since you are low income, might I suggest not doing things that will result in large expenditures of money to settle?

  3. #3
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    May 2010
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    Default Re: California Penal Code 490.5 (A), Civil Demand, and Walmart/Palmer Reiffer and Ass

    I know Criminal and Civil court are two separate entities. However, is the judge allowed to ask for the Civil Demand receipt during arraignment before deciding if I can get a PD?

    It still stands that I was not cited for Penal Code 490.5 (b) and (c), but Palmer, Reifler and Associates specifically say I must pay based on those citations. If it is incorrect, am I obligated to pay? Is a citation for 490.5 (a) automatically also 490.5 (b) and 490.5 (c)?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: California Penal Code 490.5 (A), Civil Demand, and Walmart/Palmer Reiffer and Ass

    you don't get charged with 490.5a b c whatever. 490.5 is the penalties section for other sections within that chapter such as 484.

    490.5a is what the courts can impose and the following sections are what allows the civil demand.

    as such,

    However, I received a Civil Demand from Palmer, Reifler, and Associates P.A. recently that says I must pay in "pursuant to Cal. Penal Code, Section 490.5 (b) and/or (c)".
    would be correct as those are the sections that allow them to seek a civil forfeiture.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    6

    Default Re: California Penal Code 490.5 (A), Civil Demand, and Walmart/Palmer Reiffer and Ass

    Oh okay, I understand that now. Thank you.

    Now another question arises. According to the California Penal Code 490.5 (c), their civil court can only sue up to $500 plus court costs. Their settlement offer is currently $575, so in essence, they are suing me over court costs because that amount exceeds the maximum. Are they allowed to settle for over the maximum damages fine?

    490.5 (c) in full:
    (c) When an adult or emancipated minor has unlawfully taken
    merchandise from a merchant's premises, or a book or other library
    materials from a library facility, the adult or emancipated minor
    shall be liable to the merchant or library facility for damages of
    not less than fifty dollars ($50) nor more than five hundred dollars
    ($500), plus costs. In addition to the foregoing damages, the adult
    or emancipated minor shall be liable to the merchant for the retail
    value of the merchandise if it is not recovered in merchantable
    condition, or to a library facility for the fair market value of its
    book or other library materials. An action for recovery of damages,
    pursuant to this subdivision, may be brought in small claims court if
    the total damages do not exceed the jurisdictional limit of such
    court, or in any other appropriate court. The provisions of this
    subdivision are in addition to other civil remedies and do not limit
    merchants or other persons to elect to pursue other civil remedies.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: California Penal Code 490.5 (A), Civil Demand, and Walmart/Palmer Reiffer and Ass

    $500 plus costs. Legal fees for writing the letter at $75? Not a bad price.

    I do not know if it has to be listed separately though. Obviously the statute does not speak to the matter. It would be a case law situation and need to be researched.

    If they have to sue or take any other action, I would suspect you to see the amount of the demand to increase to cover the added legal costs.

  7. #7
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    May 2010
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    Default Re: California Penal Code 490.5 (A), Civil Demand, and Walmart/Palmer Reiffer and Ass

    I see. One last question about CD: Is it legally sound for them to seek two separate Civil Demands for one crime? The amounts are both $575, equalling $1150. My friend and I were involved.

    I can see the reason behind criminally charging us separately, since it is about the crime, not the specific items. Civil Demands are exclusively for restitution, so it makes no sense to fine us for one "loss" twice.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: California Penal Code 490.5 (A), Civil Demand, and Walmart/Palmer Reiffer and Ass

    Is it legally sound for them to seek two separate Civil Demands for one crime? The amounts are both $575, equalling $1150. My friend and I were involved.

    I can see the reason behind criminally charging us separately, since it is about the crime, not the specific items. Civil Demands are exclusively for restitution, so it makes no sense to fine us for one "loss" twice.
    2 criminals, 2 separate demands. They are allowed the $500 per person. It isn't just about restitution. In fact, doesn't that statute allow a greater demand if there is a claim for restitution as well?

    why yes it does:

    . In addition to the foregoing damages, the adult
    or emancipated minor shall be liable to the merchant for the retail
    value of the merchandise if it is not recovered in merchantable
    condition,
    I would argue if they tried to seek restitution against each of you but the rest is basically a fine allowed to be imposed by the merchant.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    6

    Default Re: California Penal Code 490.5 (A), Civil Demand, and Walmart/Palmer Reiffer and Ass

    I am aware of a great deal more about my situation now. Perhaps if an interest in penal codes, etc. were instilled in me sooner, I would not have commited the crime, but now I'm trying to do right while also understanding the legal system too. Thank you so much.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,867

    Default Re: California Penal Code 490.5 (A), Civil Demand, and Walmart/Palmer Reiffer and Ass

    if you have that much interest, here is a link to California's laws and not just the penal code.

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html

    it never hurts to be informed.

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