Washtenaw County Retail Fraud Attorney

You could have substantial personal and employment repercussions if you face retail fraud charges in Washtenaw County. You need a defense lawyer with the knowledge, skills, and expertise to protect you.

What You Need to Know About Retail Fraud in Washtenaw County

Retail fraud, commonly known as shoplifting, is a crime carrying the possibility of jail, probation, and more. Typical allegations include stealing goods or attempting to pay less than full price for a product using deceptive means. Although jail is possible, there is no mandatory incarceration for a retail fraud conviction. A skilled, experienced Washtenaw County retail fraud attorney can discuss your situation, talk with you about your options, and work with you to develop a winning strategy for your case. Suppose a store accuses you of retail fraud, or you’re under investigation. In that case, a proactive attorney with experience representing clients on a precharge basis might be able to negotiate with the store or police to avoid charges.

Good People Make Mistakes – We Are Here to Help

Good, honest people make impulsive or unthinking mistakes. No one is perfect. Someone under terrible stress or anxiety might make a regrettable choice. On the other hand, stress can be so consuming that a person can forget an item under a purse or inadvertently conceal something in a pocket or bag. These things can happen without an intent to steal or deprive a retail establishment of its goods. We frequently see that clients charged with retail fraud are under extreme stress from work, home life, family illness or a recent death, abuse, mental illness, and more.

What can a retail fraud attorney for Washtenaw County do to help someone wrongfully accused of retail fraud? An experienced, savvy attorney can provide the police and prosecutor with evidence corroborating that their client is a good, honest person who did not intend to steal. If our team can convince the prosecutor there was an innocent mistake, they will drop charges.

What if I am Falsely Accused of Retail Fraud?

If you or your loved one is innocent of the felony or misdemeanor retail fraud charge, our team of highly skilled defense lawyers and experts can get to work to formulate a winning defense. If possible, our highest priority is obtaining a complete, outright dismissal. In those cases where the prosecutor will not dismiss charges, our retail fraud experts get to work preparing to argue for a Not Guilty verdict at trial. An acquittal in retail fraud cases is possible with careful preparation, hard work, and an aggressive defense.

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Washtenaw County – Types of Retail Fraud

Many different actions can result in a retail fraud charge. Retail fraud can include any of the following with an item offered for sale:

  • changing or reducing the price,
  • taking or concealing the item, or
  • seeking a refund or returning an item not legitimately purchased.

The value of the item and the defendant’s prior criminal record determine the seriousness of the offense. In Michigan, misdemeanor retail fraud is most common; however, felony retail fraud charges are common in Washtenaw County.

Retail Fraud Third Degree – Misdemeanor

Under Michigan law, MCL 750.356d(4), retail fraud in the third degree includes stealing less than $200.00 worth of items from a store. Third-degree retail fraud is a misdemeanor with the possibility of 93 days in jail, in addition to probation and fines.

Retail Fraud Second Degree – Misdemeanor

Under Michigan law, MCL 750.356d(1), retail fraud in the second degree includes theft of more than $200.00 but less than $1,000.00 worth of items from a store or committing third-degree retail fraud while having a prior retail fraud conviction. Second-degree retail fraud is a misdemeanor carrying up to 1 year in jail, two (2) years of probation, and fines.

Retail Fraud First Degree – Felony

Retail fraud in the first degree, MCL 750.356c, includes shoplifting more than $1,000.00 worth of items from a store or committing second-degree retail fraud with a prior retail fraud conviction. First-degree retail fraud is a felony punishable by five (5) years in prison in addition to probation and fines of up to $10,000.00 or three (3) times the value of the stolen item.  Felony matters are prosecuted in the Washtenaw County Circuit Court.

Possible Consequences of a Retail Fraud Conviction

Retail fraud is considered a crime of dishonesty, and a conviction of such kind can have life-long consequences. If convicted, a retail fraud charge will stay on a person’s criminal record forever unless they get the conviction expunged or set aside years after the court proceedings. This type of conviction can result in loss of employment, child custody changes, revocation, inability to get a professional or a medical license, loss of public benefits, denial of admittance to college or university, and so much more.

Additionally, people who are not United States citizens must take criminal retail fraud charges very seriously. Under immigration law, a retail fraud conviction can result in deportation or inadmissibility because the offense is considered a Crime of Moral Turpitude (CMT). It is essential to know that Immigration courts will find a “conviction” even if a charge is dismissed or taken under advisement by the Court.

There are many ways a great retail fraud defense attorney can help avoid the consequences of a retail fraud conviction. Successfully defending a retail fraud charge takes extensive experience and understanding why good, law-abiding people can sometimes find themselves charged with this offense. At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., our Washtenaw County defense attorneys will take the time to understand the entire situation and provide you with the best possible defense to protect your future.

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Experienced Attorneys Defending Retail Fraud in Washtenaw County

If you or someone you love is charged or accused of retail fraud or any crime in Washtenaw County, please call us for a free consultation and confidential case evaluation. If you trust LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., to work with you on your case, our criminal defense lawyers will provide you with the best possible defense in Washtenaw County. We fight to win!

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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The Courts in Washtenaw County include:

  • Washtenaw County Circuit Court, 101 E. Huron St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104. This Court handles all felony cases in Washtenaw County.
  • 14A District Court, 4133 Washtenaw, Ann Arbor, MI 48108. This Court handles all misdemeanor cases arising in Washtenaw County except those within the city of Ann Arbor and the Township of Ypsilanti.
  • 14B District Court, 7200 S. Huron River Dr., Ypsilanti, MI 48197. This Court handles all misdemeanor cases for the Township of Ypsilanti.
  • 15th District Court, 301 E. Huron St., Ann Arbor, MI 48107-8650. This Court handles all misdemeanor cases for the City of Ann Arbor.