Can they legally pay now or do they have to wait to make restitution?

Purposely break something in a business and they are entitled to make you pay for it. Now if this happens to be something like alcohol after the states legal hours of sale for consumable alcohol, can they collect the money right then since the alcohol is no longer for consumption as it’s all over the wall the bottle broke against? Let’s say it’s 5 minutes after closing, do they have to wait until normal alcohol sale hours to take the money. Everybody just wants to settle up and avoid the cops and courts for this scenario.

This is not about any specific case.

I’d argue that you are not buying the alcohol – you don’t want the mess of liquor and broken glass to come into your possession for your use – but just compensating the owner for the loss of property. So you can pay compensation, and tell the owner not to charge you any taxes on it, because you aren’t buying anything and he isn’t selling you anything. You might also suggest that he take off the retail mark-up as well.

If I were the owner I would require you to pay full price for it. I didn’t just lose the bottle, I lost the effort in receiving, stocking, and pricing the item as well as the overhead in my shop associated with it just being there.

How would you insure your stock? Would you value it at the full retail price, or at the cost of replacing it?

My scenario is willful destruction of the alcohol, and the person is trying not to get the cops called. Paying the full price is what I’d expect, but the price isn’t what this question is about.

And my argument is that it’s not a sale, but payment of compensation. If it’s in the US, and a 20-year-old breaks the bottle of liquor (either deliberately or accidentally), the store cannot legally sell the (broken) bottle to them at any time, but can accept compensation. The store does not have to wait until their 21st birthday to do so. Since it’s not a sale, questions do arise as to what the fair amount of compensation is.

The “you break it you bought it” type laws are almost never enforceable. But the willful destruction of property has a criminal and a civil element. If you were to break something on purpose, you’d be able to file criminal charges but you would not get restitution from a criminal conviction.

You’d still have to sue the guy in a civil court to get back the cost of your item. You couldn’t hold him against his will till he forked over the cash. If you tried this, the shopkeeper could be charged with numerous things like false arrest.

You probably would be better off filing a claim with your insurance.

I take it the OP what the original poster is trying to get at is this, "Is the destroyed alcohol rung up as “sold stock” or as “misc income?”

I would not ring it up as a sale, because as an accounting type, I want an accurate account of how much of my inventory was moving. This inventory didn’t move it just for lack of a better word, vanished without being consumed.

I’d ring it up as misc income and then send it to my accountant/bookkeeper to put the misc income in the correct place.

If I were up to me, I’d insure it at retail price, since the whole time it was lost to me I was unable to make that sale. But I have no idea how business insurance work.

My point is, if something is damaged, it has value beyond the cost paid by the shopkeeper to acquire it. There is intrinsic value in the shopkeeper making it available to the public, otherwise people would just demand to pay wholesale price for it, and shops wouldn’t exist because there was no profit.

Let’s extend the story out somewhat…let’s say it was a bottle of $100 vodka, and he regularly sells 2 of those each week. His cost is $50. If you break one, he loses $50 that week because his regular buyers come in, see that he has none, and go somewhere else to purchase it. Why should the shop owner lose $50 instead of the person who broke the item?

Because it’s a rare case where a broken item means one less sale. There are markets like that, but alcohol retail ain’t one of them. Yes, the store owner does have some cost in addition to the product - whatever time is used in cleaning up and restocking (or whatever they pay someone to do that). But unless the store is selling at a loss, that’s less than their markup.

If the question is - is this a legal sale of alcohol and what if it’s a minor or after hours? Well, if the minor does not walk out of the store with alcohol in hand (or in stomach) then it’s not a sale of alcohol to a minor, is it? If th person paying for the bottle does not take delivery - again, in hand or in stomach - after hours, then it’s not a sale in the sense that a pesron received something - a bottle - in return for cash.

As mentioned above - yes, it’s compensation for destroyed property. IANAA (I Am Not An Accountant) but I suspect the transaction is the same as if you replaced stock due to flood or fire (technically, due to vandalism here, I guess) and the money would be entered as cash received , and transfer some to cost of goods to pay for the lost bottle, etc.

Are taxes due? Well, if you have a sale, you collect sales tax; but as discussed above, it’s not really a sale if the guy leaves empty handed - unless your state or province has a ruling otherwise. The sales tax people can probably set the rules most favorable to themselves, and unless you want to pay a lawyer a huge fee over a dollar or two, you are stuck. however, over a dollar or two it probably wouldn’t be noticed. It also depends on the cash register. Can you enter a tax-free transaction? Or just pocket the cash, if you are the proprietor, and ignore the loss.

The person offering to pay, since it’s an effort to avoid criminal charges, really doesn’t have much negotiating power; that they would ask for a discount (other than taxes) is real chutzpah. The only negotiating stance is inconvenience and total loss “well, I could walk out of here and let you try to get the police to track me down, plus the hassle of a court fight…” Sometimes the police are not too energetic on small crime, after all it’s not like they get paid by the taxpayer to do this sort of stuff.

md2000 has covered this question closest to the intent. Others have gotten parts of it. Thanks to all who have participated, and answered.

This is just to note that in some states, a criminal sentence for an offense like this would often come with a civilly enforceable restitution judgment. Sorry for the tangent.

Yes many states, and Canadian provinces give the judge the option of adding restitution to the sentence. Unlike civil lawsuits for pain and suffering, punitive damages, etc - this is strictly for out-of-pocket expenses: the cost of the bottle, the cost of cleanup wages, etc.

Otherwise, you go to small claims court; where the conviction for vandalism would help prove the person should be liable for your costs. Once in small claims court, you can also include the cost of the court filing etc.

For “you broke it you buy it” - well, if the actions were deliberate, it’s vandalism, see above. If you acidentally knock that priceless DOulton figure off the shelf, then it’s an accident. Like any accident, if you don’t settle up front, a judge will do so for you - just tack on legal fees to the amount… In any accident, the question is - how much and whose fault? Be prepared to validate your value of the loss. If your antique glassware is at the edge of the shelf in a narrow aisle when everyone wears a winter coat, the blame will probably be more evenly distributed than if the person had to reach into the wine fridge to pull out the botle and it slips. The moral being, the storeowner demands reparations at his own risk and expense and the clumsy oaf may dispute the charges. Once it goes to court, nothing is a sure thing… Just ask OJ.