Shoplifting Lawyer in Oakland County

Do you need a shoplifting defense lawyer in Oakland County? People charged with shoplifting are often in court because of a mistake, a momentary indiscretion, or an unexplainable, out-of-character impulsive act.

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Most retail fraud and shoplifting suspects are not crooks or bad people. We’ve represented hundreds of clients charged with retail fraud in Michigan. An experienced shoplifting lawyer in Oakland County knows that these incidents are often misunderstandings, the result of impulsively or thoughtlessly because of stress, anxiety, or depression. We can find out the best way to help you.

The cities and townships within Oakland County have many retail stores, and suspected shoplifting, also called Retail Fraud, is aggressively prosecuted. After representing hundreds of clients with Retail Fraud charges, every shoplifting lawyer in Oakland County with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., has learned that there are almost always extenuating circumstances. Police, prosecutors, and Oakland County judges have heard every excuse. They presume that the defendant won’t take responsibility or punishment is necessary to prevent future law violations. These presumptions are rarely accurate and almost always fail to consider important information. A defense lawyer must get all the facts and make the government understand that the accused is not a dishonest or evil person and that harsh punishment is unnecessary.

Inaccurate Presumptions About People Accused of Retail Fraud in Oakland County

Most shoplifting arrests or accusations result from presumptions and speculation by store employees. A defendant must not only know they are committing a crime, but they must also intend to steal or defraud the store to be guilty. Life is busy, and with all the stress people are under, it is understandable that mistakes happen. Inadvertently leaving an item in a shopping cart or forgetting to take off an item of clothing or jewelry should not be criminalized. If a person accidentally forgets about merchandise, then there is no intent to steal, and that person is innocent. Without a respected shoplifting lawyer in Oakland County by your side, you might not persuade the judge that your failure to pay for an item was an oversight and unintentional.

Frequently, people accused of shoplifting experienced anxiety, depression, or suffered from crushing stress. It is common to find that these incidents occur around the same time a family member suffered from an illness, a divorce was pending, a change of employment was imminent, a loved one recently passed away, or some similar stressful circumstance occurred. In these cases, the defendant is not a crook or dishonest; they were just overwhelmed with life and made a tragic mistake. If this sounds familiar to you, you are not alone. Good people make mistakes far more often than you can imagine. The greatest attribute of a top shoplifting lawyer in Oakland County is understanding the psychology of shoplifting. To be most effective, the attorney must make the judge and prosecutor understand that their client is a good, honest person who made a mistake. This quality of lawyering is precisely what the Retail Fraud Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. brings to the table.

Defending Against Retail Fraud Allegations

The best approach to defend against retail fraud allegations is to work with a Michigan larceny defense lawyer with extensive knowledge of Michigan’s legal system. A skilled lawyer can assess the strength of the prosecution’s case by looking at the integrity of the evidence and witnesses. Usually, the evidence in these prosecutions comes from store security testimony and video surveillance footage (also known as loss prevention officers or LPOs). Discrediting that evidence can be necessary to have the charges dropped or reduced.

There are dozens of potential defenses to retail fraud charges in Oakland County. Some examples of ways your defense lawyer can attack the prosecution’s case are as follows:

  • 4th Amendment Violation – Seeking to suppress evidence when loss prevention officers or police mishandled you or the evidence. For example, if you were illegally detained and unreasonably searched.
  • Attacking the Surveillance Footage – We can attack surveillance footage that is poor quality and inconclusive. Frequently the video doesn’t capture the whole story, and a look from a different angle would have demonstrated the inaccuracy. A reputable defense lawyer can show that there was more to the story!
  • Lies and Exaggerations – The retail fraud defense attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. will go through the evidence with a fine-toothed comb to detect any discrepancies between the loss prevention officer’s report, witness statements, and the footage from the surveillance cameras. Any differences weaken the prosecutor’s case and increase the lawyer’s bargaining power.
  • Attacking the Credibility of Witnesses – We can explore any opportunities to demonstrate that a loss prevention officer’s testimony or opinion is not credible because of their lack of training and prejudice.
  • Lack of Intent – Mistakes happen. People can be distracted by personal issues, stress, anxiety, or external stimuli (such as another customer creating a disturbance or acting threateningly). Someone might leave a store or proceed past the checkout area without realizing they still possess the store’s property or haven’t paid yet. If there was no intent to steal, the defendant is not guilty of retail fraud in Oakland County.
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Jail Time for Shoplifting in Oakland County is Wrong

In most cases, jail is unnecessary in a shoplifting or retail fraud case. Most defendants charged with retail fraud have no or little criminal history. In almost all cases, the person did not steal an item because of greed or an evil mind. As previously mentioned, if a shoplifting lawyer in Oakland County cares enough to take the time to get to know their client and discover what happened, they can make a successful argument to convince a judge not to order jail time. In some cases, a defendant needs mental health therapy; in others, a brief probation period is sufficient.

If a defendant did not know an item was inadvertently concealed or taken, or if they did not intend to steal, that person is innocent, and the prosecutor should dismiss all charges.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about retail fraud in Oakland County:

Do first-time shoplifters in Oakland County go to jail?

Most first-time retail fraud defendants do not get jailed in Oakland County. Probationary sentences are most common and can include therapy, drug, and alcohol testing, a prohibition against entering retail stores, theft crime education, community service, and fines and costs. Even a first-offense retail fraud conviction can result in the inability to obtain employment, more difficult career advancement, suspension of a professional license, immigration consequences, and a damaged reputation. Some of the more harsh judges in Oakland County will not hesitate to impose jail time, even for a first offense.

What is the law of shoplifting in Oakland County, Michigan?

Retail fraud occurs when a person is in a store open to the public and intentionally alters, transfers, removes and replaces, conceals, or misrepresents the price of an item, steals an item, or makes a fraudulent return.

What is retail fraud third-degree in Michigan?

Third-degree retail fraud is a 93-day misdemeanor involving merchandise valued at under $200.00.

Is shoplifting a felony in Michigan?

The charge would be a felony if the merchandise were worth over $1,000.00 or a defendant has prior retail fraud convictions. A skilled, savvy shoplifting lawyer in Oakland County can negotiate for reduced or dismissed charges.

How long after shoplifting can you be charged in Oakland County?

The gravity of your crime determines the statute of limitations in Michigan. For example, a criminal charge for murder has no time limit, whereas shoplifting has a six-year limit.

What is the punishment for retail fraud in Michigan?

First Degree Retail Fraud is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. 1st degree is where (1) the value of the stolen property offered for sale is $1,000 or more, or (2) the value of the stolen property offered for sale is $200 or more but less than $1,000 with a prior retail fraud conviction.

Second Degree Retail Fraud is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $2,000 fine. 2nd degree can be charged where (a) the value of the stolen property offered for sale is $200 or more but less than $1,000, or (2) the property’s value is less than $200 with a prior retail fraud conviction.

Third Degree Retail Fraud is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine. 3rd degree retail fraud occurs where the property’s value is less than $200, and the person has no prior retail fraud convictions.

How long does retail fraud stay on your record in Michigan?

Up to two (2) felonies and four (4) misdemeanor retail fraud convictions can be automatically expunged so long as the person is not otherwise disqualified and remain free from contact with the criminal justice system for seven (7) years for misdemeanors and 10 years for felonies. The waiting periods to seek expungement with a Motion to Set Aside Conviction are 3 (three) and five (5) years, respectively. The Oakland County shoplifting lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have extensive experience with retail fraud expungement and a well-known track record of success,

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Oakland County Retail Fraud Defense Attorney

Money is valuable, and anything you spend on legal fees is less you can save and use for your family. However, having expert criminal defense representation and obtaining the best possible result is a significant investment. It would be best if you had assistance from a highly experienced, aggressive, and effective shoplifting lawyer in Oakland County.

Whether you are looking to avoid a conviction and jail or get your charges dismissed, we have shoplifting defense attorneys who will effectively fight for you. We are experienced and skilled enough to achieve the best possible outcome. We will not let you down.

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!

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Cities in Oakland County, Michigan

  • Addison
  • Addison Twp.
  • Auburn Hills
  • Berkley
  • Beverly Hills
  • Beverly Hills Vlg
  • Bingham Farms
  • Birmingham
  • Bloomfield
  • Bloomfield Hills
  • Bloomfield Township
  • Brandon
  • Clarkston
  • Clawson
  • Commerce
  • Commerce Township
  • Davisburg
  • Dryden
  • E Pearl
  • Farmington
  • Farmington Hills
  • Fenton
  • Ferndale
  • Franklin
  • Grand Blanc
  • Groveland
  • Hazel Park
  • Highland
  • Highland Township
  • Holly
  • Huntington Woods
  • Independence
  • Independence Township
  • Keego Harbor
  • Lake Angelus
  • Lake Orion
  • Lakeville
  • Lathrup Village
  • Leonard
  • Lyon
  • Lyon Township
  • Madison Heights
  • Milford
  • New Hudson
  • Northville
  • Novi
  • Oak Park
  • Oakland
  • Oakland Township
  • Orchard Lake
  • Orion
  • Orion Township
  • Ortonville
  • Other
  • Oxford
  • Pleasant Ridge
  • Pontiac
  • Rochester
  • Rochester Hills
  • Rose
  • Rose Township
  • Royal Oak
  • South Lyon
  • Southfield
  • Springfield
  • Springfield Twp
  • Sylvan Lake
  • Troy
  • Union Lake
  • Walled Lake
  • Washington Township
  • Waterford
  • Waterford Township
  • West Bloomfield
  • West Bloomfield Township
  • White Lake
  • Wixom
  • Wolverine Lake

Facts About Oakland County

  • County population in 2019: 1,257,584 (95% urban, 5% rural); it was 1,194,156 in 2000
  • Oakland County is proudly home to 62 cities, villages, and townships.
  • Airport – Oakland County International Airport (PTK) (Waterford Township)
  • Amtrak’s Wolverine serves Oakland County with 3 daily trains each way, stopping in Pontiac, Troy, and Royal Oak, and continuing on to Chicago.
  • The majority of Oakland County’s non-residential roads are not bicycle-friendly. There are some exceptions, mostly in the inner-ring suburbs in the southeast of the county.
  • Twelve Oakland County all-sports lakes have public boat launches.
  • There are five rivers in Oakland County, including the Clinton River, Flint River, Huron River, Rouge River, and Shiawassee River.
  • Oakland County is home to multiple institutions of higher learning, including:
    • Baker College, Auburn Hills campus
    • Oakland University, Rochester
    • The Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Auburn Hills campus
    • Lawrence Technological University, Southfield
    • Rochester University, Rochester
    • Walsh College of Accountancy and Business, Troy and Novi campuses
    • Oakland Community College has five campuses: Orchard Ridge (Farmington Hills), Auburn Hills, Southfield, Highland Lakes, and Royal Oak.
    • Saint Mary’s College of Madonna University, Orchard Lake
    • Cranbrook College of Art, Bloomfield Hills
  • Automation Alley is a state-wide nonprofit trade association for technology and manufacturing companies in Southeast Michigan that was founded in 1999 in Oakland County.
  • Oakland County was founded by Territorial Governor Lewis Cass in 1819.
  • The 1950s saw a rapid increase in Oakland County’s population as residents of Detroit started moving out to the suburbs.
  • The largest sheriff’s department in Michigan is the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Oakland County has traditionally been a Republican Party stronghold since it was historically a hotbed of suburban conservatism. Though it started to become quite competitive in the 1990s, it has swung more and more Democratic after 2008, casting more than 50% of its ballots for the Democratic candidate for president in each election.