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Michigan Shoplifting Lawyer

An individual can be charged with shoplifting if they take property from a retail store that is open to the public. In Michigan, it is often called retail fraud. When a person is charged with retail fraud, the prosecutor must prove first that you took some property from a store that was offered for sale. Second, you must move the property. Any movement is enough. A person does not have to leave the store, for example, so long as the state can prove that by taking and moving the property that individual had the intent to steal. “Intent to steal” means that you intended to permanently take the property from the store without the storeowner’s consent.

If you are facing charges of theft from a retail store, contact a Michigan shoplifting attorney as soon as possible to build your defense. An experienced Michigan theft attorney can work hard to protect your rights and build a strong defense.

Shoplifting Charges

Shoplifting does not have to occur inside the store itself. For example, if there was property left on a landing dock that was delivered but not actually brought into the store, and someone stole it, they may still be in violation of the shoplifting laws in Michigan. The prosecutor must prove the value of the property in question, and the penalties of a conviction depend on the value of the stolen goods. In Michigan, repeat offenses can also lead to harsher sentencing, if someone has a prior retail fraud conviction(s) on their criminal record, they may face a more severe penalty even if the property value is lower.

Theft crimes are really determined by several factors, including where the property was taken from, whether force or threat of force or a weapon was used, and the type and amount of the property that was taken. Shoplifting occurs when merchandise is stolen in or around a retail establishment that is open to the public. If the store is closed when the property is taken, a person may face charges other than retail fraud in Michigan.

Possible Penalties

The penalties for a retail fraud conviction vary depending on the circumstances of the crime, the accused person’s previous criminal history, and the value of the stolen property. These penalties range from probation to long-term incarceration. A conviction for shoplifting can also leave a person with a criminal record, which can impact their employment and housing prospects well into the future. Because the consequences are so serious, a person who has been charged with shoplifting in Michigan should contact a skilled Michigan shoplifting attorney who can help them fight their retail theft charges.

Arraignments and Bond

At the arraignment for a Michigan shoplifting offense, the judge will consider the amount of bond that is necessary to assure that a person would appear in the future. The range can be anywhere from a personal recognizance bond, where a person does not have to post any money or whatsoever, to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. A shoplifting defense lawyer can work to make sure that their client’s bond is low enough that they can post it, and remain out of jail while their case is pending.

Another consideration the judge or magistrate might make when establishing the bond is what conditions, if any, are appropriate to ensure the safety of the public while they are out of jail. If it is a retail fraud case, the magistrate may order the defendant to stay out of the retail establishment, or even the entire mall if it was a mall store, while their case is pending. Other conditions may apply to a tiered bond as well, and a Michigan shoplifting lawyer can help make sure that the conditions of the client’s bond are low or minimal.

Contacting a Michigan Shoplifting Lawyer

A person accused of shoplifting should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as they’re released from the custody of the police. In most shoplifting cases, the accused person is arrested at the premises of the store. As soon as that person gets released, contacting a lawyer should be their first priority.

When an individual has been charged with shoplifting, they would be wise to hire a Michigan shoplifting lawyer who can fight to keep the crime off that person’s record altogether. Even if a person pleads guilty to shoplifting charges, an attorney may be able to negotiate with the court to keep it off their record, or reduce the overall seriousness of the offense. A lawyer works to achieve this by questioning the charge itself and looking for defects in the prosecution’s case that could result in the charge being dismissed or reduced. They also look for ways to keep the case off the client’s record. In cases that result in conviction, a Michigan shoplifting attorney can advocate for their client to obtain the best possible sentence.