Possession of Stolen Mail or Theft of Packages

Crimes involving the diversion or theft of mail are dealt with harshly by courts and prosecutors. Because of the wide use of security cameras, prosecutors and police have new tools to gather evidence. Defense lawyers must employ aggressive and creative defenses in these cases to keep clients out of jail.

The Mail and Mail Depository Protection Act (MMDPA) was enacted to dramatically increase the potential consequences of a conviction for theft or diversion of mail. Mail means a letter, postal card, package, bag, or anything similar that is addressed to a person. A person means an individual or a business. Under this definition, mail includes anything from the United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, or really anything left or addressed to an intended recipient.

Under the MMDPA, it is illegal to take, hold, conceal, or destroy mail addressed to another person or deprive the person to whom the mail was addressed. The offense is a crime regardless of whether the intended recipient of the mail is living or deceased. This law would apply to mail, packages, boxes and similar items that are delivered to a person’s mailbox, left on their porch, or hung from a door knob. The law is so broad that even failing to forward misdelivered mail could be penalized.

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Sentencing for Stolen Mail or Packages

A first conviction under the MMDPA is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and up to 2 years on probation. A second offense is a felony with a maximum possible prison sentence of 5 years and up to 5 years of probation. If an offender has prior felony convictions, the possible sentence can be greater. Probation, also known as court supervision, could include requirements such as not committing new crimes, drug and alcohol testing, monthly or weekly reporting to a probation officer, mental health therapy, a psychiatric evaluation, cognitive behavioral therapy, tether, and much more. At sentencing, the judge will order restitution, costs, fees, and fines. This conviction is an expensive one!

In addition to the punishments that judges can impose, there are also important collateral consequences to consider. A theft conviction is considered a crime of dishonesty. A crime involving dishonesty can make it difficult to obtain employment, secure promotions, qualify for loans, and get a professional license.

Other Crimes That May Be Charged

The MMDPA provides that a person who violates that law may also be charged with other crimes committed at the same time. For example, if a package stolen contains a valuable object, the defendant can also be charged with larceny. If the information obtained from a letter was used to establish credit or take out a loan, a violation of identity theft laws could be alleged. Two or more people who cooperate in any way could be charged with conspiracy. In other words, the single act of taking one item can result in multiple charges.

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Avoiding Jail and Prison Time for a MMDPA Violation

Someone charged with a violation of the MMDPA for taking, holding, concealing, or destroying mail addressed to another person may face a high likelihood of incarceration. Judges and prosecutors frequently take these crimes personally because there is a good chance that they have been the victim of this crime. As more people utilize online shopping and delivery services, the pressure on prosecutors and judges to make examples of defendants will increase. The goal of the judge will be to deter others who may commit this crime by handing out a severe punishment.

The best hope of avoiding jail time and an extensive period of probation is a good and experienced defense attorney. A highly successful defense lawyer will argue mitigating circumstances to persuade the judge not to order jail or prison time.

Examples of mitigating circumstances include a good employment record, a history of being compassionate and generous, success in school, a good family, a positive reputation as a parent and member of the community, a lack of prior criminal history, health problems, and more.

Michigan Criminal Defense for Theft of Mail and Packages

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Lewis & Dickstein PLLC

The best way to avoid a conviction and jail is with the Defense Team at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., the premier criminal defense law firm in Michigan. Our attorneys have decades of experience successfully and aggressively defending clients charged with felony and misdemeanor offenses throughout Michigan. Mail fraud and mail theft crimes are most frequently charged in Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, and Washtenaw County. If you or your loved one is charged with a criminal offense in Michigan, our attorneys will do everything possible to protect and defend you. We have a reputation as one of the top defense firms because we treat every client as our most important, we believe every case is defensible, and we routinely achieve an extraordinary level of success in court.

Don’t trust your fate to the lowest bidder or risk your future to a court appointed lawyer who is overwhelmed with a huge docket of cases. Call us today for a Free Consultation at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form, and a seriously experienced defense lawyer will promptly contact you.


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

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