Birmingham Theft Lawyer

Theft and other property crimes are taken very seriously in Michigan, and anyone convicted of committing one or more of these offenses will be subject to substantial punishment.

Though the legislature has seen fit to delineate an expansive series of crimes that fall under the broad classification of theft, and the penalties that attach do vary wildly, there is always one constant in play. Plainly stated, there truly is no substitute for a strong legal defense in terms of safeguarding your future and that of those you love.

If you have been or believe you are about to be charged with a crime against property, a Birmingham criminal lawyer stands prepared to offer the advocacy required to achieve the best possible result in your case.

Basics of Theft Crimes in Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.356 places theft crimes under the broad umbrella of larceny, and provides that offenses of this nature include the stealing of things such as:

  • Money, goods, or chattels
  • Bank notes, bills, bonds, promissory notes, bills of exchange, drafts, orders, certificates, and the like
  • Books of accounts for, or concerning goods or sums due, yet to become due, or yet to be delivered
  • Deeds or written conveyances of land or other valuable contractual agreements
  • Receipts, releases, or defeasances
  • Writs, processes, or public records
  • Scrap metals

Misdemeanors vs. Felonies

It is important to note that not all theft crimes are created equal under Michigan law, and the penalties attaching to offenses within the classification range from relatively minor to quite severe.

Pursuant to Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.356(4)(a), misdemeanor theft crimes carrying possible imprisonment for up to a year and/or a fine of up to $2,000 or 3 times the actual value of the stolen property (whichever is greater) include:

  • Instances in which the property stolen is valued at $200 or more, but less than $1,000
  • Second-offense violations at the aforementioned value threshold

Misdemeanor theft crimes punishable by imprisonment of up to 93 days and/or a fine of no greater than $500 or 3 times the value of the stolen property are those in which the goods at issue are worth less than $200.

By contrast, certain felony theft crimes are far more serious in nature, with potential imprisonment of up to 10 years and/or a fine not exceeding $15,000 or 3 times the value of the stolen property, whichever is greater. According to Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.356(2)(a) and (b), offenses within this classification include:

  • Instances in which the stolen property was valued at at least $20,000
  • Second or subsequent convictions for committing or attempting to commit larceny

It is also a felony to commit larceny of items valued between $1,000 and $20,000, though the possible punishment is capped at 5 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine totaling no more than $10,000 or 3 times the value of the stolen property, whichever is greater.

Typical Property Crimes Charged in Michigan

Though the mention of theft often conjures images of clandestine shoplifters helping themselves to a department store’s wares, there are in fact several other sorts of property crimes within this category that are commonly charged in Michigan. These offenses include:

  • Credit card theft
  • Carjacking
  • Home invasion
  • Identity theft
  • Forged checks
  • Retail fraud
  • Armed and unarmed robbery
  • Automobile theft
  • Embezzlement

Consequences of Theft Convictions

The ramifications of being found guilty on any theft or property crime charge can be profound, having a negative impact not only on the defendant, but also on his or her whole family. The most obvious consequences include things such as terms of incarceration, costly fines, lost wages, and expenses related to probationary supervision. However, there are also staggering personal and professional ripple effects that can follow an offender for years after their official debt to society has been paid. These can include:

  • Permanent criminal history
  • Difficulty securing and maintaining positions of employment
  • Professional licensing sanctions or revocation
  • Harm to immigration status including Green Card denial or deportation
  • Damage to community standing and personal relationships

Clearly, a great deal is at stake any time a theft charge is filed, and a vigorous attack on the prosecution’s theories and evidence is the best method of combating the harm convictions almost always produce.

Aggressive Legal Defense of Theft Crimes Charges

Regardless of the facts underlying the charges you find yourself facing, do not allow fear, shame or embarrassment stop you from obtaining the dedicated legal counsel you deserve.

A Birmingham theft lawyer is ready and willing to fight for reduction or even dismissal of the allegations against you, or at the very least, seek drastic mitigation of the sanctions that will be imposed. To begin the process of crafting your defense, contact us today.