Section 6-5-272

Conviction or plea of guilty not prerequisite to suit; letter of demand for remittance.

(a) A conviction or a plea of guilty to the criminal offense of theft of property as defined in Title 13A, Chapter 8, is not a prerequisite to the bringing of a civil suit, obtaining a judgment, or collecting that judgment under this article.

(b) The fact that a merchant may bring a civil action against an individual as provided in this article shall not limit the right of the merchant to demand, in writing as set out in subsection (c) below, that a person who is liable for damages and penalties under this article remit the damages and penalties prior to the consideration of the commencement of any legal action.

(c) The demand letter must be prepared and include the following:

On (insert date), you were apprehended for taking possession of, without paying for, merchandise belonging to (name of retailer/merchant).

Under Alabama statute, a retailer/merchant is granted a civil cause of action against the person who intentionally deprives or intends to deprive a retailer/merchant of any merchandise without paying for it. The statute further provides that, separate from, and in addition to, any criminal action arising from your conduct, you may be held civilly liable for:

(a) Cost of merchandise, if damaged;

(b) Expenses for the recovery of the merchandise of $200; and

(c) Court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees.

This letter represents a demand from you for $ (amount) as a means of satisfying this civil matter.

We do not wish to file a civil action against you. However, if we do not receive payment within 30 days from the date of this letter, we will make every effort to enforce our rights under this statute, which may include a civil court action.

(Acts 1993, No. 93-676, §3.)