Dealing with a theft charge can be an extremely intimidating experience. While the circumstances may vary, the long-lasting impact on your freedom and personal life is most certainly the scariest thing to face.
There are even some circumstances where the negative consequences are not justified. For example, someone may have been charged with a theft crime that they did not commit, and could simply be a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We understand that a police report is just an initial take on the truth and that there are always other elements that can come into play during a criminal investigation.
Our criminal defense attorneys have successfully defended many different types of theft charges. These charges have ranged in severity, and some cases have been more complex than others. This wide range should ensure that whatever your specific set of circumstances, there is a Grand Rapids theft lawyer that will be able to assist you with whatever you need.
When a person gets hit with a theft charge, it is normal for them to panic about the seriousness of the situation. The consequences of a theft conviction are significant and can result in a person having difficulty passing a background check, landing a job, and even establishing decent credit.
Despite these life-altering consequences, some people will consider representing themselves and forgoing retaining an experienced Grand Rapids theft attorney. However, the prosecution will be filled with highly-trained professionals who are looking to obtain a conviction. These individuals will know things about the law that an ordinary citizen would not know from their everyday experience. Attempting to represent oneself puts the defendant at a serious disadvantage at a time when they can least afford it.
A seasoned theft attorney will know the ins-and-outs of theft law and will be able to apply their knowledge to the specific circumstances affecting each case. They will work tirelessly to provide clients the best defense possible and may even succeed in having the case dropped or having the charges significantly lowered.
Michigan laws regarding theft can be found in sections 750.356-750.367c of the Michigan Penal Code. Michigan criminal law refers to the general crime of theft as larceny. A person can commit larceny in Michigan by stealing the property of another person. This property can include money, goods, real estate deeds, and public records.
Like many states, Michigan classifies theft or larceny convictions as misdemeanors or felonies based on the monetary value of the property that was stolen and, in some cases, based on the circumstances surrounding the theft.
If the property stolen is valued at less than $200, larceny is classified as a misdemeanor under Michigan law. This is sometimes referred to as “petty larceny” or “petty theft.” If convicted of petty theft, a person could serve up to 93 days in jail or pay a fine up to $500. They could also pay a fine of up to three times the value of the stolen property. This depends on which amount is greater in value. It is also possible for an individual to be both imprisoned and pay the fine.
When the property is stolen is more than $200 but less than $1,000, the theft still qualifies as a misdemeanor. If convicted, a person could serve a jail sentence of no more than one year, and could also pay a fine of up to $2,000, or up to three times the value of the stolen property. Whichever amount is greater is typically what a person convicted of theft will pay. They could also, depending on the judge, serve time in jail and pay the required fine.
If the value of the property is equal to or greater than $1,000 but less than $20,000, or if the property is a motor vehicle, trailer, or specific motor vehicle part, then the theft is considered to be a felony offense. If convicted, a person can be forced to pay a fine of up to $10,000, or three times the value of the stolen property, whichever is greater. It is also likely for a person to serve jail time. The time served can be no more than five years, and judges can still make people pay a fine even if they are sentenced to jail time.
Should the value of the property exceed $20,000, a person would most definitely be charged with felony theft. If convicted, they could potentially pay a fine of up to $15,000, or three times the value of the stolen property. A person could also be imprisoned for up to 10 years. Of course, in certain circumstances, people are forced to both serve time and pay the fine, which makes it important that a theft lawyer in Grand Rapids is there to advocate on your behalf.
If you have been charged with theft, it is vital that you seek representation as soon as possible. A theft charge can wreak havoc on a person’s life and can negatively impact the perception that people have about you. An attorney will be able to help you manage crucial aspects of your case and hopefully settle you down after the legal process has ended.
It is also prudent for people to remember that a theft charge does not equal a theft conviction. The attorney you hire will have the necessary tools to deal with a variety of circumstances that may affect the outcome of your case. These circumstances may make you look guiltier than you actually are, so it is important for you to keep a level head and remember that a theft charge does not automatically make you a bad person.
If you have been charged with theft in the Grand Rapids area, you should contact a Grand Rapids theft attorney who will help review your case and get you the assistance you need in order to obtain a positive outcome and defend your legal rights.