Retail Fraud and Shoplifting Defense
If you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony retail fraud, call Michigan’s top Retail Fraud Defense Team for a free consultation. We have decades of experience and an unparalleled track record of success.
Retail fraud, otherwise known as shoplifting, is one of the most common criminal offenses charged in the State of Michigan. Depending on the circumstances of the offense and the prior record of the defendant, the charge can be a felony or misdemeanor. The penalties for a retail fraud conviction can include jail, prison, extended probation, community service, therapy, drug, and alcohol testing, fines, and costs. The defense lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have extensive experience defending retail fraud charges, and our highest priority is to obtain a dismissal of all charges when possible.
What is Retail Fraud?
Retail fraud means taking or moving an object that is offered for sale to the general public, with the intent to steal or deprive the owner of the property without full payment. A defendant charged with Retail Fraud must be found not guilty unless the prosecution can prove the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. For a conviction, the prosecutor must prove several elements beyond a reasonable doubt. Aside from the value of the property, the elements of retail fraud are identical between first, second, and third-degree retail fraud.
The vast majority of retail fraud cases do not go to trial. Most cases are settled with a plea bargain or a sentence agreement, or they are dismissed before trial. At a bench or jury trial, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant took control of some property that the store offered for sale. Second, the prosecutor must show that the defendant moved the property. Many people think that the defendant must have removed the property from the store, but the law in Michigan is that “any movement is enough.” The law further indicates that “it does not matter whether the defendant actually got the property past the cashier or out of the store.”
If the prosecutor can prove that the defendant took the property and that he or she moved the property, the prosecution must then prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to steal the property. Intent to steal means the defendant intended to permanently take the property from the store without the store’s consent.
The last element the prosecution must prove is the collective value of the property in question.
Penalties for Retail Fraud
If the value of the property allegedly stolen was $1,000 or more, the charge is First Degree Retail Fraud, a felony, and the defendant can receive a sentence in prison. If the value was $200 or more, but less than $1,000, the offense is Second Degree Retail Fraud, a misdemeanor that is punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail. Finally, if the value is less than $200, the offense is Retail Fraud Third Degree, and the maximum possible sentence is up to 93 days in jail.
What would otherwise be a retail fraud second or third-degree can be enhanced or increased to a felony retail fraud if the defendant has prior retail fraud convictions.
A Savvy, Experienced Retail Fraud Defense Lawyer May Be Able to Get Charges Reduced or Dismissed
Just because someone is charged, does NOT mean that he or she must be convicted. There are ways an experienced lawyer can help their client avoid a conviction and jail. The Retail Fraud Defense Lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have handled more than a thousand retail fraud cases in district and circuit courts throughout Michigan. We understand that a conviction for retail fraud can be life-changing in a tragic way, and everything humanly possible must be done to get a charge dismissed or reduced when possible.
Immigration Consequences for Retail Fraud
The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., has represented many clients who were not citizens of the United States and were facing deportation or other immigration consequences. Retail fraud is considered under immigration law to be a crime involving “moral turpitude.” A conviction for a crime of moral turpitude can result in deportation. When other lawyers claim to know how to help, we have extensive experience and a track record of helping in these difficult situations. We know what needs to be done to reduce or eliminate the risk of immigration consequences.
Will You Have to do Jail or Prison Time?
One of the most common questions that are asked during consultations with potential clients in retail fraud cases is whether the client will have to serve jail time. The answer to that question is complex and dependent upon several factors. The retail fraud criminal defense lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. can almost always help their clients avoid any jail or prison time in retail fraud cases. In the overwhelming majority of cases, we keep our clients out of jail.
Arraignment for a Retail Fraud Charge
Most people charged with retail fraud receive a ticket upon being released from police custody. Most tickets direct the defendant to appear for arraignment within 10 or 14 days. You do not want to go to the arraignment without a lawyer! In most cases, our attorneys can take care of the arraignment without the client, saving him or her an unnecessary and unpleasant trip to court.
Call us, and we will find a way to help you.
If you or a loved one is accused of committing a retail fraud, call us for a free consultation and confidential case evaluation. We are never judgmental, and we treat all of our clients with respect. The team approach used by LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., involving the collaboration and coordination of a team of highly experienced defense lawyers, routinely achieves extraordinary results. When the stakes are high, and there is no room for errors or false promises, we are prepared to defend and protect you.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.