What is Retail Fraud?
To prove a charge of retail fraud, the prosecution 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.
First, 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. If the value 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 first degree if the defendant has prior retail fraud convictions.
Just because someone is charged, does NOT mean that he or she must be convicted. There are ways an experienced lawyer can help you avoid a conviction and jail.
Experienced, Effective Retail Fraud Defense Attorneys
The Retail Fraud Defense Lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.
have handled hundreds of retail fraud cases
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.
What about those individuals who are not United States citizens? LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., has represented a multitude of clients who were not citizens of the United States and are facing deportation or other immigration consequences. Retail fraud is considered under immigration law to be a crime involving “moral turpitude,” which 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.
Will You Have to do Jail or Prison Time?
One of the most common questions that are asked during consultation 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 a multiplicity of factors but 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.
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 an arraignment within 10 or 14 days. You do not want to go to the arraignment without a lawyer! In most cases, the defense team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. can take care of the arraignment without the client and save you an unnecessary and unpleasant trip to court.