Shoplifting Lawyer Birmingham Michigan
Facing a shoplifting charge (also known as retail fraud) from a Birmingham Michigan arrest or ticket does not make you a bad person. In fact, shoplifting is commonly prosecuted at the 48th District Court (the Court with jurisdiction over Birmingham non-federal criminal allegations), 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, because a shoplifting conviction can have many potential bad 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); professional licensing issues; embarrassment.
Shoplifting can occur under a number of different legal theories, including 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 shoplifting:
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 (because there is no mandatory minimum sentence, the decision to incarcerate at sentencing rests with the Judge). 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 (because there is no mandatory minimum sentence, the decision to incarcerate at sentencing rests with the Judge). Organized Retail Theft occurs when the intent of the Defendant is to commit a retail fraud and resell the stolen merchandise to another person - the aim of the government is to punish people more severely who choose to make a career out of shoplifting.
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 (because there is no mandatory minimum sentence, the decision to incarcerate at sentencing rests with the Judge).
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 (because there is no mandatory minimum sentence, the decision to incarcerate at sentencing rests with the Judge)..
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 (because there is no mandatory minimum sentence, the decision to incarcerate at sentencing rests with the Judge)..
Hire a Lawyer that Specializes in the Defense of Retail Fraud Charges in Birmingham Michigan
Major retail establishments (department stores, chain stores, boutiques, etc.) have formulated policies and procedures with the goal of reducing shoplifting losses, avoiding protracted or contested litigation, reducing insurance costs, and deterring overall theft. It is not uncommon for stores to use aggressive asset protection personnel (loss prevention) and use theft detection devices to combat the costs and liabilities associated with retail fraud. Even with these steps taken by retail establishments, mistakes are still made and persons are still sometimes falsely arrested.
Your criminal defense lawyer is obligated to obtain all the evidence against you to 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. At a pretrial conference your lawyer can request a trial date, or seek a resolution of the case on your behalf which 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 chance with these cases is to hire an experienced lawyer to help you obtain the best possible result for your circumstances. Again, a shoplifting conviction from an alleged Birmingham shoplifting incident 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 retain Daniel Hilf to be your defense lawyer, because he is an impassioned criminal defense lawyer with over 20 years of experience inside and outside of courtrooms helping clients obtain great results for shoplifting accusations. Contact us right away.