Retail Fraud Attorney Oakland MI
Having to go to Court for a retail fraud charge (also known as retail theft or shoplifting) in Michigan does not make you a bad person. In fact, retail fraud is a frequently prosecuted offense by both State and city prosecutors, but it is often only based upon an isolated incident due to a momentary lapse in judgment. However, just because retail fraud accusations are frequently prosecuted in Michigan courtrooms, it does not mean that there are not serious consequences or that it will not affect your life in a negative manner, because any criminal record for retail theft can have damaging repercussions. The repercussions of a Michigan shoplifting conviction may include: the loss of your freedom (incarceration); probation with inconvenient 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); personal embarrassment, etc. If you need to go to Court in Michigan for a retail fraud charge, you need a top notch defense attorney who will aggressively fight for you.
There are several different ways in Michigan in which both State and local city prosecutors can accuse someone of retail fraud: the most common situation when store merchandise is stolen or an attempt to steal store merchandise is made; the price tag of the merchandise is intentionally misrepresented or changed; or merchandise is fraudulently exchanged for money or other store merchandise. There are a few different felony and misdemeanor retail theft offenses prosecuted in Michigan, including:
First Degree Retail Fraud is a felony charge that carries up to a 5 year maximum prison sentence (there is no mandatory term of incarceration that a Judge must impose under Michigan law) 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 (there is no mandatory term of incarceration that a Judge must impose under Michigan law), that is also subject to applicable habitual offender sentencing provisions. The offense occurs when the alleged intent of the Defendant is to commit a retail fraud and to resell 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 (there is no mandatory term of incarceration that a Judge must impose under Michigan law), 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 (there is no mandatory term of incarceration that a Judge must impose under Michigan law), 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 (there is no mandatory term of incarceration that a Judge must impose under Michigan law) that is prosecuted under State law.
Hire a Well Respected Lawyer that Specializes in the Defense of Retail Fraud Accusations
Many businesses and merchants have implemented loss prevention related procedures with the goal of reducing retail fraud losses, reducing insurance costs, avoiding litigation, and deterring store theft. It is not uncommon for businesses and merchants to hire trained asset protection personnel and use theft detection devices with up to date technology (theft detection devices, closed circuit television, etc.) to combat the costs and liabilities associated with retail theft. Even with the most up to date loss prevention technology and employee training, mistakes are still made and persons are still sometimes falsely arrested due to errors in judgment (false identification of a suspect, false interpretation of a situation, etc.), cultural issues, and procedural errors - all of which can potentially lead to obtaining an acquittal, dismissal, or negotiating for a great result.
The lawyer that you select to retain to defend your retail fraud accusation 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. Ultimately, you can either contest your charge at trial in front of a Judge or jury, or resolve the case through a plea or plea bargain. Resolving your retail fraud accusation without a trial may involve reaching a plea bargain (an agreement with the prosecution to dismiss, expunge, or reduce the charge(s) against you) or reaching a sentence agreement (an agreement with the Judge [such as a Cobbs or Killebrew agreement] to impose a specific sentence, such as avoiding or limiting any confinement). Before you do anything further, make the wise decision to hire an experienced top tier defense attorney to help you obtain the best possible result for your circumstances. Again, a shoplifting conviction will likely cause you problems throughout your life, including making it extremely difficult to find a job or establishing a great career, because many employers do not want to risk hiring someone convicted of stealing. Retain top notch Michigan attorney Daniel Hilf to defend you, because he is an impassioned and aggressive criminal defense lawyer with over 20 years of experience inside and outside of courtrooms helping clients obtain great results for shoplifting and other theft accusations. Choose a lawyer that you have the confidence to do a great job defending you!
If you have been accused of any theft crime in Michigan, it's time to make an impactful and intelligent decision to contact us right away for outstanding criminal defense representation.