Retail Fraud Attorney Birmingham MI
Facing a retail fraud charged (also known as shoplifting) does not make you a bad person. In fact, retail fraud is one of the most commonly prosecuted crimes in Michigan, and it is often just an isolated incident due to a momentary lapse in judgment. However, just because the offense is common does not mean it is not serious. A theft conviction such as retail fraud can have many potential consequences, including: incarceration; probation with conditions; loss of employment opportunities; loss of educational opportunities; steep fines; immigration complications (for persons that are not US citizens); embarrassment.
Retail fraud can occur when merchandise from a store is stolen, there is an attempt to steal store merchandise, the price tag of the merchandise is changed or misrepresented, or the merchandise is fraudulently exchanged for money or other merchandise. There are several criminal offenses in Michigan related to retail fraud:
First Degree Retail Fraud is a 5 year maximum felony offense that is charged when the merchandise involved is $1,000 or more, or if the merchandise involved is $200 or more and the person has a prior theft conviction. The maximum possible penalty can even increase if habitual offender sentencing is applicable.
Organized Retail Theft is a 5 year maximum felony, that is also subject to applicable habitual offender sentencing provisions. The offense occurs when the intent of the Defendant is to commit a retail fraud and resell the stolen merchandise to another person.
Second Degree Retail Fraud is a 1 year maximum misdemeanor offense that is charged when the merchandise involved is at least $200 but less than $1000, or if the merchandise involved is under $200 and the person has a prior theft conviction.
Third Degree Retail Fraud is a 93 day maximum misdemeanor offense, that is prosecuted under either State law or local ordinance, when the merchandise involved is less than $200.
Removal of a Theft Detection Device is either a 1 year maximum (under State law) or a 93 day maximum (under local ordinance) misdemeanor offense.
Hire a Lawyer that Specializes in the Defense of Retail Fraud Charges
Major retail establishments (department stores, chain/franchise stores, etc.) have developed policies and procedures with the goal of reducing retail fraud losses, avoiding litigation, reducing insurance costs, and deterring theft. It is not uncommon for stores to employ well trained asset protection personnel (loss prevention) and use theft detection devices to combat the costs and liabilities associated with shoplifting. Even though these steps are taken, mistakes are still made and persons are still sometimes falsely arrested. The mistakes can be based upon mistakes in judgment (for example, false identification), cultural issues, and procedural errors - all of which can potentially lead to acquittal or dismissal of the case.
Your lawyer is allowed to obtain all the evidence against you to defend the case, which can include the following: police report(s), loss prevention report(s), witness statement(s), in store video(s), police video(s), photograph(s), statement(s) the police and/or loss prevention claims that you made, etc. At a pretrial conference your lawyer can request a trial date, or seek a resolution of the case on your behalf. The resolution may involve a plea bargain (an agreement with the prosecution to dismiss, expunge, or reduce the charge(s) against you) or a sentence agreement (an agreement with the Judge to impose a specific sentence, such as avoiding jail or prison time). Your best bet is to hire an experienced lawyer to help you obtain the best possible result for your circumstances. Again, a retail fraud conviction can have a lifetime of consequences, including making it very difficult for you to find a job, because many employers do not want to risk hiring someone with any type of theft history. Make the right decision and hire attorney Daniel Hilf, who is an impassioned criminal defense lawyer with over 20 years of experience inside and outside of courtrooms helping clients obtain great results for retail fraud accusations. Your future is important and results matter!
If you have been charged with shoplifting make the smart decision and contact us right away.