Retail Fraud Laws in Michigan
Retail Fraud is one of the most common criminal offenses charged in Michigan. Depending on the circumstances, Retail Fraud can be a felony or misdemeanor charge.
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Retail Fraud allegations cross all socioeconomic, geographic, political, and educational boundaries. Although a charge for Retail Fraud in Michigan can be scary and potentially life-altering, a good lawyer will be able to lessen or eliminate the consequences.
“What can happen if I’m charged with retail fraud in Michigan?”
If you are charged with retail fraud in Michigan, you likely have many concerns about what can and will happen to you and what a conviction could mean for your future. Most importantly, do not panic. Although a retail fraud charge is very serious, a resolution without jail is possible. An experienced defense lawyer who frequently handles retail fraud in Michigan can help a client avoid a conviction in many cases.
There is a vast amount of misinformation on the internet regarding retail fraud, potential consequences, and legal representation on these charges. Much of the internet’s information about retail fraud in Michigan is inaccurate and misleading. The most accurate information regarding retail fraud charges, defenses, and consequences will come from an experienced lawyer.
Because a retail fraud conviction can cause loss of employment, inability to obtain employment, denial of a loan or federal benefits, deportation, exclusion from home rental, and more, every available effort must be made to defend these charges. Do not take retail fraud charges lightly because they have long-term, negative consequences.
Types of Retail Fraud in Michigan
Retail fraud can be a felony or a misdemeanor depending on either the value of the item allegedly taken, moved or concealed or the prior record of the person charged with the offense. The prosecutor can increase the severity of a retail fraud charge if the defendant has one or more prior retail fraud convictions. If the prosecutor enhances the charge to a felony, the maximum term of incarceration will be years in prison. The three degrees of retail fraud are:
- Retail Fraud 1st Degree – Felony (maximum possible sentence of 5 years)
- Retail Fraud 2nd Degree – Misdemeanor (maximum sentence of 1 year)
- Retail Fraud 3rd Degree – Misdemeanor (maximum penalty of up to 93 days)
The degree of the retail fraud charge depends on the value of the property stolen and any prior record of the defendant.
Violation of Probation on Retail Fraud in Michigan
If you are on probation for retail fraud and your probation is violated, you risk a jail or prison sentence up to the maximum possible term. If your conviction was delayed or taken under advisement, you risk the conviction being placed permanently on your record. Even though the stakes are high with a probation violation, a public conviction or jail sentence may be avoidable. Consulting with an experienced defense attorney is your best hope of avoiding or lessening any potential consequences.
Immigration Consequences of Retail Fraud
As mentioned previously, individuals who are not citizens of the United States have to take retail fraud charges very seriously. Under immigration law, a plea of guilty or no contest to retail fraud charges can result in deportation or inadmissibility. Any plead of guilty or no contest is a conviction under immigration law, regardless of whether there is a conviction under criminal laws. In other words, an immigration court will find there is a “conviction” even if a charge is dismissed or taken under advisement. Retail fraud in Michigan is a crime of moral turpitude. How can a good defense lawyer help a client avoid immigration consequences? A good, savvy attorney may be able to get a charge dismissed in a way that will not result in a “conviction” for immigration purposes or convince a prosecutor to change a retail fraud charge to a non-deportable offense. In some cases, the lawyer can fight for an acquittal (not guilty) at trial.
Experienced Attorneys Defending Retail Fraud in Michigan
The team of defense lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has vast experience defending felony and misdemeanor retail fraud in Michigan. We know and have used every available defense for clients, and we have a well-known track record of success.
If you or someone you love is charged or accused of retail fraud, do not hesitate to contact LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for the best defense.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.