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Michigan Retail Fraud/Shoplifting
Being charged with Michigan Retail Fraud does not automatically make you a criminal or a bad person. I encounter clients on a daily basis who have never been arrested before in their lives or who may have experienced a relapse or a problem they believed was in the past. It is quite common for good-hearted individuals to find themselves in a challenging situation that leads to a Michigan Retail Fraud charge.
Retail fraud is the most prevalent offense among first-time offenders and tends to have a high rate of repetition. It can be disheartening to sit across from someone who cannot explain why they committed the crime or struggles to control their impulses. Many individuals wish they could turn back time and avoid making the same mistake. A conviction for retail fraud can have severe consequences, particularly in terms of employment prospects. However, I am here to help you move forward without allowing this mistake to impact the rest of your life. It is possible to keep this incident off your criminal record.
When you reach out to me, I will inquire about your past and whether you have a criminal record. From there, we will discuss where the incident occurred and the parties involved. We will embark on the fact-gathering process together and develop a comprehensive game plan for your defense. This will involve obtaining all relevant police reports and evidence in your case. We may also explore the possibility of accessing video and audio evidence, and if necessary, involve a private investigator to strengthen your various defenses. Drawing on my experience as a former prosecutor, I will work with the prosecuting attorney to explore all available options. Our defense strategy will have two components: firstly, we will strive to defeat your case through dismissal or a not guilty verdict at trial; secondly, I will negotiate the best possible plea deal as a backup plan. You will have options, and together, as a team, we will determine the best path for your case. I eagerly look forward to working with you.
To secure a conviction for Michigan Retail Fraud, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant took property offered for sale by the store.
- The defendant moved the property, and any movement is sufficient. Whether or not the defendant successfully bypassed the cashier or left the store with the property is irrelevant.
- The defendant intended to steal the property, indicating an intention to permanently take it from the store without the store's consent.
- The incident occurred either inside the store or in its immediate vicinity while the store was open to the public.
- The value of the property.
If the value of the property is below $200, it falls under Michigan Retail Fraud in the Third Degree, which is a 93-day misdemeanor. For property valued between $200 and $1,000, it is Michigan Retail Fraud in the Second Degree, which is a one-year misdemeanor. If the value exceeds $1,000, it becomes Michigan Retail Fraud in the First Degree, which is a felony. Variations of the offense exist for cases involving attempted false return exchange or price switching to a lower amount. While these variations have slightly different elements, they carry the same penalty.