Michigan Theft Laws

Michigan Theft Charge Attorneys

We are willing to aggressively defend clients throughout Michigan; this includes traveling to cities like Detroit, Ann Arbor, Lansing, and Grand Rapids and to defend our clients against theft-related charges.

Retail Fraud and Shoplifting Charges

Retail fraud, commonly known as “shoplifting,” is a major concern for retailers and law enforcement agencies. According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP), retailers lose more than $13 billion dollars in stolen merchandise each year. That adds up to $35 million dollars of stolen merchandise each day. So when retailers post signs that say, “Shoplifters will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” they mean it. Theft crimes are a concern in all stores. If you are accused of retail fraud, do not speak to store security personnel or the police. Instead, call us immediately before speaking to them. We can be reached at 1-866-766-5245.

Typically, retail fraud occurs when a person physically removes the merchandise from a store. But under Michigan law, other forms of retail fraud are common, as well. Examples include altering/switching the price tags or working with a store employee to commit a theft or get a fraudulent refund. Retail fraud is considered a crime against property in Michigan.

While approximately 25% of those who are apprehended for retail fraud are teenagers, the consequences are potentially severe for anyone charged with the crime. Convictions for retail fraud can have serious consequences for future employment and can limit financial opportunities. Many businesses refuse to hire persons with a criminal history involving theft or dishonesty. In addition, a person with a felony retail fraud conviction cannot receive federally-guaranteed student loans. Since the stakes are so high for what many people mistakenly believe to be a minor, “impulsive” act, if you have been charged with shoplifting or another form of retail fraud, you need an aggressive, knowledgeable criminal defense attorney protecting your rights. We work hard to ensure that you avoid serious consequences if at all possible. You can contact our team of defense lawyers at 1-866-766-5245.

Types of Retail Fraud Charges

In the state of Michigan, there are three degrees of Retail Fraud.

  • First degree retail fraud is a felony. A charge of first degree retail fraud occurs when the value of the merchandise stolen is over $1000, or if the accused has a prior conviction for retail fraud in the first or second degree. Maximum punishment: up to 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine (or 3 times the value of the merchandise if that is greater).
  • Second degree retail fraud is a misdemeanor. A charge of second degree retail fraud occurs when the value of the merchandise stolen is between $200 and $1000, or if the accused has a prior conviction for retail fraud in the third degree. Maximum punishment: 1 year in jail and/or a $2,000 fine (or 3 times the value of the merchandise).
  • Third degree retail fraud is a misdemeanor. A charge of third degree retail fraud occurs when the value of the merchandise stolen is under $200. Maximum punishment: 93 days in jail and/or a $500 fine (or 3 times the value of the merchandise).

In addition to these criminal penalties, someone accused of retail fraud may also be subject to civil penalties under Michigan law. This includes paying the full price of unrecovered or unusable property and also paying civil damages of 10 times the retail price of the property so long as that is not less than $50.00 and more than $200.

Our Approach to Retail Fraud Charges

If you have been charged with retail fraud or shoplifting in Michigan, two factors will be thoroughly considered by our trusted and experienced retail fraud criminal defense team. First, retail fraud is often committed by first-time offenders who are undergoing personal stress, not by serial offenders who calculate their crimes carefully. Our goal is to frame the act of retail fraud as an isolated, foolish mistake, so that prosecutors will be willing to consider either dismissal or a lesser charge. Second, since retail fraud is a theft crime, it requires proof that the merchandise was taken purposely (not accidentally) with the intent to steal or defraud. Intent can may be difficult to show, and our strategy sometimes focus on the possibility that the alleged criminal act was, in fact, inadvertent. But no matter what the strategy, our attorneys are dedicated to fighting for your rights and ensuring that you avoid significant penalties. Our phones are answered 24/7 at 1-866-766-5245. Our track record throughout the Lower Peninsula of Michigan is impressive. Call us today for a confidential discussion about your case.

Contact us about your legal matter today! Call us at 1-866-766-5245.