My question involves criminal law for the state of: California [San Jose]
I am 18. Today I shoplifted around $40 (2 items of clothing, I'm not sure what the exact cost was) from Target. Security brought me to the back, where they took my ID, my picture, and my general contact information. I also signed a piece of paper, which I think confirms I shoplifted and was caught for it. The lady told me I would receive a letter in the mail. If I paid it, nothing will go on my record.
I have done research online and there is debate on whether I should pay what is called a civil demand. Some lawyers say it is useless to pay the exorbitant amount of money demanded in the letters and others encourage it. My main concern is to keep a clean record, but I have also heard that whether I pay the civil demand or not doesn't matter. So I have four questions:
1. For those that are or have been in my situation, around how much will the civil demand be?
2. What is an estimate of when the letter will arrive?
3. Should I pay the civil demand letter or ignore it?
4. Is Target a company that usually files cases like mine? I have heard both that Target is too large to care about a case like mine, and also that their forensics analyst team is the best in the nation and will not hesitate to pursue even the smallest of cases.
Thank you so much for any advice, I have been feeling regretful all day and I doubt the anxiety will go away until this issue is resolved.