Retail Fraud Attorney Ingham County
Having to appear in front of a Judge or Magistrate for a Ingham County Michigan retail fraud (shoplifting) arrest or ticket does not make you a bad person. In fact, retail fraud is prosecuted daily in Ingham County Michigan by the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office and local city/community prosecutors, but it is often only based upon an isolated incident from a momentary lapse in good judgment. However, just because retail fraud is prosecuted daily in Ingham County courtrooms, it does not mean that there are not serious consequences or that it will not affect your life, because any type of criminal record for a shoplifting offense can have many damaging long term repercussions. The consequences of such a conviction may include: the loss of your freedom (serving a period of incarceration at the discretion of the Judge); probation with many inconvenient and sometimes tough conditions; loss of employment opportunities; professional licensing issues; loss of educational opportunities; steep fines and costs; immigration complications (for persons that are not United States citizens); embarrassment, etc. If you need to appear in any Ingham County Court (54A District Court, 54B District Court, 55th District Court, or the 30th Circuit Court), for a retail fraud charge, you need experienced and well seasoned legal representation who will fight to protect you and your future.
There are several widely accepted legal theories in which both the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office and local city/community prosecutors can allege that you committed an act of retail fraud: when merchandise from a retail store is stolen or an attempt to steal store merchandise is made; the price tag of the merchandise is intentionally misrepresented or intentionally changed; or merchandise is fraudulently exchanged for money or fraudulently exchanged for other store merchandise. There are a number of different felony and misdemeanor retail fraud offenses commonly prosecuted in Ingham County Michigan, including:
First Degree Retail Fraud is a felony charge that carries up to a 5 year maximum prison sentence (the decision to incarcerate someone is discretionary with the Judge) that is prosecuted when the merchandise involved is $1,000 (one thousand dollars) or more, or if the merchandise involved is $200 (two hundred dollars) or more and the person has a prior theft conviction.
Organized Retail Theft is felony charge that carries up to a 5 year maximum prison sentence (the decision to incarcerate someone is discretionary with the Judge), that is also subject to applicable habitual offender sentencing provisions. The charge is sought by Ingham County Prosecutors when they have reason to believe that the intent of the accused is to commit a retail fraud and to generate proceeds by reselling the stolen merchandise to another person or business.
Second Degree Retail Fraud is a misdemeanor charge that carries up to a 1 year maximum county jail sentence (the decision to incarcerate someone is discretionary with the Judge), that is prosecuted when the merchandise involved is at least $200 (two hundred dollars) but less than $1000 (one thousand dollars), or if the merchandise involved is under $200 (two hundred dollars) and the person has a prior theft conviction.
Third Degree Retail Fraud is a misdemeanor charge that carries up to a 93 day maximum county jail sentence (the decision to incarcerate someone is discretionary with the Judge), that is prosecuted under either State law or local ordinance, when the merchandise involved in the offense is less than $200 (two hundred dollars).
Removal of a Theft Detection Device is a misdemeanor charges that carries up to a 365 day maximum county jail sentence under State law (the decision to incarcerate someone is discretionary with the Judge).
Hire a Top Defense Lawyer that Specializes in the Defense of Shoplifting Cases in Ingham County
Many stores (especially national chain stores) demand prosecution to the fullest extent of the law because they have implemented strict loss prevention policies that seek, through prosecutions, to reduce retail fraud losses, reduce insurance costs, and to deter store theft. It is not uncommon for many stores in Ingham County to take the time and money to train asset protection personnel and to use expensive theft detection devices with up to date technology to guard against the costs and liabilities associated with retail fraud. Even with lots of training and the best surveillance equipment, mistakes are still made and persons are still occasionally falsely arrested due to errors in judgment (such as the false identification of a suspect or the false interpretation of a situation), cultural issues, and procedural errors.
If you choose to make a great investment in yourself and your future by having attorney Daniel Hilf fully represent you for your Ingham County retail fraud case, he will obtain all the available discovery materials to fully and properly 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. After reviewing the discovery and discussing the case with your lawyer, you will have to make a decision to either fight your case at trial in front of a Judge or jury, or to resolve the case through a plea or plea bargain (if a plea bargain is offered). In some instances (depending upon the particular facts and circumstances of the case, your age, and your background) you can avoid having a retail fraud conviction or have your conviction sealed through a diversion program, plea bargaining, or pleas under advisement.
Hire attorney Daniel Hilf to help you make the best out of your bad situation through great legal representation. Again, a retail fraud conviction will likely cause you many headaches, including employment issues, because many prospective employers do not want to risk hiring someone convicted of stealing. Attorney Daniel Hilf 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.
If you have been accused of shoplifting or any retail theft crime in Ingham County Michigan, the right time is now to make an impactful decision regarding your legal representation by contacting us for help right away.
The defense of retail fraud in Ingham County Michigan includes individuals from the following places:
The cities of East Lansing, Lansing, Leslie, Mason, Williamston;
The villages of Dansville, Stockbridge, and Webberville;
The townships of Alaiedon, Aurelius, Bunker Hill, Delhi, Ingham, Lansing Charter, Leroy, Leslie, Locke, Meridian, Onondaga, Stockbridge, Vevay, Wheatfield, White Oak, and Williamstown;
The communities of Edgemont Park, Fitchburg, Haslett, Holt, and Okemos.
The defense of retail fraud accusations in Ingham County occurs at the following Court locations: 54A District Court (124 West Michigan Avenue in Lansing 48933); 54B District Court (101 Linden Street in East Lansing 48823); 55th District Court (700 Buhl Drive in Mason 48854); and the 30th Circuit Court (313 West Kalamazoo Street in Lansing 48901).
It is critically important that you appear on time and on the correct date for any Court date, at the location specified in any type of notice that you receive (in Court, by telephone, from your lawyer, from a police officer, in the mail, etc.). For all shoplifting charges the best course of action is to hire your lawyer prior to any scheduled court date to fully represent you (if you have the financial ability to do so).