If you have been accused of a theft offense in Michigan, it is important you work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with the complicated theft laws in the state of Michigan.
A seasoned theft lawyer in Michigan will have represented those accused of both misdemeanor and felony theft and can fight passionately to help clear your name. Whether you have prior theft convictions or are concerned about keeping your record clean, an attorney can help.
The type of theft offense a person is charged with and the severity of the penalties associated with the crime depends upon the value of the goods or services taken, and whether or not the defendant has any prior theft convictions. A Michigan theft attorney can help determine the best defense strategy that fits the dynamics of their client’s charge, whether it be a felony or misdemeanor, and the circumstances surrounding it.
There are two types of misdemeanor theft offenses in Michigan – petty theft, or larceny, of goods or services valued at less than $200, and second-degree theft of goods or services with a value between $200 and $1000.
Petty theft is punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a fine of not more than $500, or three times the price of the goods or services taken, whichever is greater. Second-degree misdemeanor theft in Michigan is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2000, or three times the price of the goods or services taken.
Just like misdemeanor theft, there are two levels of felony theft in Michigan. Persons charged with theft of goods or services valued at between $1000 and $20,000 face criminal penalties of up five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, or three times the value of the goods or services taken. Felony theft charges also apply to theft of motor vehicles, trailers or any motor vehicle part, even when those parts or vehicles are not valued at more than $1000.
Second-degree felony theft in Michigan applies to goods or services valued at $20,000 or more and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine, or three times the amount of the stolen property value.
If a defendant has previously been convicted of a theft offense, a subsequent theft conviction may carry penalties that are one degree of severity higher than the charged offense. For instance, if a person is accused of stealing goods or services valued at less than $200, but they have a prior theft conviction, the defendant may instead face penalties for the next highest category of theft, which under Michigan law would be theft of a good or service valued at between $200 and $1000. If someone has faced theft convictions in their past, a skilled Michigan theft lawyer is their greatest hope for achieving the best possible outcome.
Skilled Michigan criminal defense attorneys learn in law school that their job is to ensure due process. In criminal cases, due process means that all the accused person’s constitutional rights are protected and that they see the benefit of them. To guarantee due process, criminal defense lawyers work to ensure that the police do not violate the law, engage make mistakes or engage in foul play while investigating a case or at any time during the arrest procedures. If the police did not follow the law, an attorney can use that fact, once established, to significantly reduce charges or, in some cases, have them dismissed entirely.
A person accused of theft should contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as they have any indication that they might be charged. The earlier the attorney can get started, the better opportunity they will have to prepare a successful defense.
If you are facing a theft charge, it is crucial you work with an experienced Michigan theft attorney who can pursue reduced charges on your behalf and investigate if any theft defenses may apply in your case. Whether you have a history of theft convictions or have never before been charged with a crime, an attorney will look out for your best interest throughout the judicial process.