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Clarkston Shoplifting Lawyer

Referred to as retail fraud in Clarkston, acts of theft or fraud against a store may constitute shoplifting and can lead to significant penalties. If you face a shoplifting accusation, a dedicated theft attorney can help you determine the best way to protect your rights and fight for a positive outcome.

Understanding your rights, thoroughly reviewing evidence, and preparing solid legal arguments may increase your chances of a favorable outcome. An experienced Clarkston shoplifting lawyer may be able to provide the guidance you need to prepare and present your case.

Shoplifting and Retail Fraud

What many people commonly refer to as shoplifting is called retail fraud under Michigan Penal Code §750.356c. These laws include simply theft of an item from a store, but also include:

  • Concealing, altering, or removing a price tag with the intent to pay less for an item
  • Misrepresenting the price of an item to avoid paying the listed sale price
  • Obtaining or trying to obtain money or property as a refund or exchange for an item that was not paid for and still belongs to a store

The facts leading to these allegations are sometimes confusing, and prosecutors often rely on statements from store clerks or security guards when pursuing shoplifting cases. Shoplifting differs from robbery as violence is not used. A retail theft attorney in Clarkston may be able to evaluate evidence and provide the defendant with advice on how to best address these allegations.

Penalties for Shoplifting

Penalties for shoplifting usually depend on the amount of money involved. First-degree retail fraud generally includes cases where the value of money or property stolen is $1,000 or more. The punishment for first-degree retail fraud is up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000 or three times the amount stolen, whichever is greater.

Case, where the value of the money or property is between $200 and $1,000 may be charged as retail fraud in the second degree. This crime is punishable by no more than one year of imprisonment and a fine. If the value of the property or money stolen is less than $200, a prosecutor may charge a person with retail fraud in the third degree, punishable by up to 93 days imprisonment and a fine.

Prior Shoplifting Convictions

The potential penalties may be more severe if you have any prior shoplifting convictions or recent charges. A prosecutor must provide a statement listing the prior conviction, and a judge must determine whether a prior conviction exists based on the following evidence:

  • A copy of the judgment or conviction
  • A transcript of a prior trial, plea hearing, or sentencing hearing
  • Information contained in a presentence report
  • A statement made by the accused

If a prosecutor fails to provide adequate notice, information, or evidence, a shoplifting lawyer in Clarkston might fight to stop the court from considering prior convictions.

How a Clarkston Shoplifting Attorney Can Help

Saying or doing the wrong things during the course of a shoplifting case can negatively affect your rights and legal options, but an experienced attorney may be able to help you avoid such unwanted outcomes. A Clarkston shoplifting lawyer could provide information on applicable laws, review evidence, negotiate with prosecutors, and fight for you in the courtroom. Get an experienced legal professional to work for you by calling today.