Oakland County Retail Fraud Attorney
Criminal defense attorneys with decades of experience defending clients on misdemeanor and felony retail fraud cases in Oakland County, Michigan. If the stakes are high, and there is no room for errors, you are in the right place.
Overwhelming Stress is the Real Motivator for Most Retail Fraud
If a store or the police accused you of shoplifting or retail fraud in Oakland County, you could be facing a felony or misdemeanor criminal charge. Although most people, and places of employment, consider retail fraud to be a crime of dishonesty, experts in the field know this is not true.
Why do most people commit retail fraud? With decades of experience successfully defending clients in Michigan, the attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have developed vast experience helping people accused of retail fraud felony and misdemeanor charges. No profile is exact; however, these are some of the most common characteristics of a person charged with retail fraud:
- Educated (often with a graduate or professional degree)
- Family (someone married, often with children)
- No or little criminal history
- Adequate resources (has access to sufficient funds to pay for the merchandise)
- Recent traumatic event or high level of stress or anxiety from life circumstances
- Stoic personality (someone who is not great with sharing feelings of fear, stress, anxiety, or worry)
Our mission is not to let a single incident, mistake, or impulsive act define an otherwise law-abiding person.
Retail Fraud Motivated by Greed is Rare
There are some retail fraud cases where an intent to commit fraud is more difficult to disprove. First, teenagers who want electronics or other valuables from stores, such as name-brand products and jewelry, want something they cannot afford, so they steal it. Although these offenses are not committed due to stress or mental illness, youthful indiscretions do occur. Some statutes provide for sealed records and deferred convictions so that a young person might not end up with a criminal record.
A more serious form of retail fraud is “commercial” retail fraud. Commercial retail fraud occurs when someone or multiple people coordinate or conspire to steal merchandise to resell it for profit.
How to Avoid Jail, a Conviction, and Other Consequences for Retail Fraud
Police, prosecutors, and probation officers will assume that a defendant charged with retail fraud is dishonest or mentally ill. These misconceptions come from years of engrained bias and lack of education. A prosecutor who believes a person is a thief will be motivated to bring all possible charges against the defendant. A judge, convinced of a person’s dishonest character, will be predisposed to a harsh sentence. The secret to turning the tables and maximizing a client’s chance of getting charges dismissed or reduced, and getting a sentence without jail, is legal representation that is knowledgeable, persuasive, and credible.
The Oakland County Retail Fraud Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is exceptionally familiar with why people allegedly commit retail fraud. The removal of merchandise from a store almost always results from a thoughtless or impulsive act, a genuine mistake, or a misunderstanding by store employees. Defendants who are ethical, honest, and moral people are typically under severe stress, worry, or anxiety, and their actions are a call for help, not an attempt to steal. We have perfected our strategy for handling these cases and formed alliances with experts in the field. We have built a solid, reliable, and credible reputation as retail fraud defense lawyers. Because of our stellar reputation in this area, prosecutors and judges are persuaded by our arguments in court and receptive to the educational information we can provide regarding the motivation and psychology behind good people who make mistakes or act upon stress-induced impulses. We regularly help clients in Oakland County avoid convictions, jail, and lengthy, complicated terms of probation through our zealous representation in these cases.
Michigan Retail Fraud Criminal Penalties
There are three degrees of retail fraud in Michigan, and they are dependent upon the value of the merchandise allegedly stolen and a person’s prior criminal history.
1st degree retail fraud is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison, 5 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine. 1st degree retail fraud can be charged where:
- The value of the stolen property offered for sale is $1,000 or more; or
- The value of the stolen property offered for sale is $200 or more but less than $1,000 with a prior retail fraud conviction.
2nd degree retail fraud is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail, 2 years of probation, and a $2,000 fine. 2nd degree retail fraud can be charged where:
- The value of the stolen property offered for sale is $200 or more but less than $1,000; or
- The value of the stolen property offered for sale is less than $200 with a prior retail fraud conviction.
3rd degree retail fraud is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail, up to 2 years of probation, and a $500 fine. 3rd degree retail fraud is charged where the value of the stolen property offered for sale is less than $200, and the person has no prior retail fraud convictions.
A Conviction Must Be Avoided if Possible – The Stakes are High
A conviction for retail fraud can have significant, long-term consequences. In addition to the possibility of jail, probation, and fines, a conviction can cause:
- a loss of or inability to advance in employment,
- loss or suspension of a professional license,
- damaged credit and reputation,
- removal or suspension from some universities and professional school and programs,
- loss of firearms rights,
- loss of the right to vote (during incarceration), and
- deportation or removal from the United States for immigrants and other non-United States Citizens because retail fraud is considered a crime of moral turpitude under immigration law.
Why should you hire an Oakland County retail fraud attorney with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.?
Dismissal of all charges is always our top priority when possible. Although prosecutors and judges frequently have the initial impression that a person charged with retail fraud in Michigan is dishonest or bad, we are virtually always successful in helping them understand that our client is a good person who made an isolated poor decision is falsely accused. We will take the time to talk with you, answer all of your questions, address each of your concerns, and work with you to develop a winning strategy. When you hire LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., we will represent you with a unique and highly effective team approach. You will have multiple lawyers, paralegals, and other professionals collaborating to ensure that you receive the best outcome possible. We will always promptly return your calls and emails, and we will always be nonjudgmental and treat you will dignity and respect.
In those cases where a person admits that he or she committed a retail fraud and there is overwhelming evidence of guilt, or in cases with defendants who have prior records, we have a proven track record of helping most clients avoid jail and prison.
The Best Defense for Retail Fraud and Reasonable Rates
At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., we understand that money is valuable, and anything you spend on legal fees is less than you can save and use for your family. We also understand that having expert representation for retail fraud charges in Oakland County is invaluable. While it may be appropriate to look for a deal or bargain when making many purchases in life, finding a Retail Fraud Oakland County attorney you trust with your future is crucially important, and you should take time to make sure you make the right choice. We want to meet you and show you what we can offer. Do not trust your fate to the lowest bidder — this is your life.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.