First-Degree Retail Fraud in Michigan is a Felony

Retail fraud is a felony if the value of the merchandise is $1,000.00 or more or the defendant has a prior shoplifting conviction.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Group

What You Need to Know about Felony Retail Fraud

Michigan calls shoplifting “retail fraud.” Felony retail fraud, or shoplifting, hurts individual retailers and has a broader economic impact. Retail fraud results in losses for retailers, which can affect their profits, inventory, and ability to invest in new products or expand their businesses. These losses can, in turn, lead to higher prices for consumers to make up for the losses. Retail fraud can also lead to increased security measures, such as hiring security personnel or installing security cameras, which can be costly for retailers. Moreover, it can also result in job losses, particularly for smaller retailers who may not have the resources to recover from significant losses due to theft. It is vital that anyone facing felony retail fraud first-degree charges have a strong, reputable defense attorney because judges and prosecutors are under tremendous pressure from the retail industry to prosecute and punish those convicted of shoplifting.

What is the penalty for felony retail fraud? Felony retail fraud is punishable by up to five (5) years in prison, five (5) years of probation, and a fine of $10,000 or three times the value of the merchandise, whichever is greater. In addition to jail, probation, and fines, retail fraud causes significant collateral consequences. For example, a “fraud” conviction has collateral consequences, such as making it hard for someone to get work or advance in a career.

How to Get Charges Dismissed

One common approach used by felony retail fraud defense lawyers is challenging the evidence presented by the prosecution. A reputable defense lawyer can argue that the evidence is insufficient or that the prosecution failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that their client committed the crime. For instance, if the store’s surveillance footage is blurry or unclear, the defense lawyer may argue that it’s not possible to identify their client as the alleged perpetrator. Additionally, if the store’s loss prevention personnel or security guards acted unlawfully, exaggerated, or were dishonest in their report, the defense lawyer may argue that the evidence obtained is inadmissible in court.

Another way defense lawyers get retail fraud charges dismissed is by negotiating a plea deal. In some cases, the prosecution may be willing to offer a plea bargain, which involves reducing the charges or getting them dismissed in exchange for a guilty or no-contest plea. This approach can be beneficial, particularly in cases where the evidence against the defendant is strong and a conviction seems likely. It might be possible to arrange a plea agreement where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, and the prosecutor agrees to a delayed sentence. This means that after a guilty or no-contest plea, the charges will be dismissed after a period of court supervision. In other words, the defendant is given the chance to “earn” a dismissal.

Suppose the prosecution fails to meet the burden of proof required to establish that the defendant is guilty of felony retail fraud beyond a reasonable doubt. In that case, the defense lawyer can move for the charges to be dismissed or for their client to be found not guilty.

Attorney - Michigan - Awards

What to Look for in a Defense Lawyer

The best shoplifting lawyers possess several essential qualities that make them effective advocates for their clients. Here are some of the most critical attributes to look for when choosing a retail fraud shoplifting lawyer:

  • Experience: Experience is essential when it comes to felony retail fraud cases. Look for a lawyer with extensive experience defending clients against shoplifting charges. They will have a deep understanding of the law and the legal strategies that work best in these cases,
  • Knowledge: A good retail fraud shoplifting lawyer thoroughly understands criminal law and the legal process. They will be well-versed in the relevant statutes and case law and have experience dealing with prosecutors and judges in these cases. Don’t be afraid to question a lawyer about the extent of their experience and success.
  • Communication: Communication is vital in any legal case, and retail fraud cases are no exception. A good lawyer must communicate effectively with their clients, explaining the legal process and strategy in a way that is easy to understand. Also, a retail fraud defense lawyer can only be an outstanding advocate in court if they communicate effectively and persuasively with the prosecutor and judge. Ask the lawyer to explain the legal process you will be going through. Do they communicate the answers to your questions effectively? Effective communication is vital to the attorney/client relationship.
  • Creativity: Retail fraud and shoplifting cases can be complex and require creative legal strategies. Look for a lawyer who is creative in their approach to these cases and willing to think outside the box to develop a strong defense strategy.
  • Attention to Detail: Retail fraud shoplifting cases often involve complex evidence and legal issues, and a good lawyer should have keen attention to detail. They should be able to review and analyze evidence thoroughly, identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and develop a strategy to exploit those weaknesses.

Expungement of a Felony Retail Fraud Conviction

The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience and an unparalleled track record of successfully obtaining expungements of retail fraud convictions in courts throughout Michigan. To persuade a judge to set aside a conviction, the defense lawyer must demonstrate (1) that the defendant is rehabilitated and (2) that expungement is in society’s best interest. Someone convicted of retail fraud must wait at least five (5) years following their successful discharge from probation before applying for a hearing. If someone files a motion and loses, they cannot seek expungement again for at least three (3) years, and it becomes harder to succeed after an initial loss in court.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Your Best Defense Against Felony Retail Fraud Charges in Michigan

The team of lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is well-known for providing the most vigorous possible defense to retail fraud first-degree felony charges. We understand that sometimes people make mistakes, but a momentary indiscretion should not forever impact their lives. Even with solid evidence of guilt, we can often negotiate for dismissed or reduced charges without jail time for retail fraud. For those clients facing false or exaggerated charges, we are premier trial lawyers who can fight for an acquittal at trial or dismissal of all charges in court. Call us for a free consultation. We will take the time to talk with you, answer your questions, and address your concerns. Most importantly, our lawyers will find a way to help you!

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

Contact Us - Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys