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Michigan Shoplifting Defense Strategies

When preparing a defense for shoplifting in Michigan, an attorney will employ a variety of strategies. One of the most important strategies an attorney will use in a shoplifting case involves examining the elements of the case to determine if the prosecutor will be able to prove them beyond a reasonable doubt. This simple strategy is crucial in defending such a charge.

If you have been charged with shoplifting in Michigan, it is crucial to consult with legal counsel as soon as possible. An experienced Michigan shoplifting lawyer will mount a strong defense to help lessen or dismiss any consequences associated with your charge.

Initial Steps

Oftentimes, a defense attorney will begin preparing a defense in a Michigan shoplifting case with a detailed questionnaire to find out exactly what happened, and will ask questions about their client’s background and their employment, education, and criminal history.

The attorney will want to know the value of the property in question to determine to whether they might establish a lower value for the property than what the prosecutor has assigned. Then, the attorney will review the police reports, witness statements, and police procedures to determine weak points in the prosecution’s case that the attorney can highlight in the defense. All of these elements are crucial in building an effective defense strategy in a Michigan shoplifting case.

Arguing Down the Value

In retail fraud cases, one of the critical elements is movement, and in some scenarios, the defense may be able to demonstrate that property was not actually moved or that there was no intent to steal. Additionally, determining the fair market value of the property in question is important in shoplifting cases, as retail stores set prices, and mark products down.

Prosecutors may push for a high valuation that can result in a more serious charge, and a criminal defense lawyer can challenge the value determined by the prosecution as part of their defense strategy. An experienced lawyer can use their creativity to push for a significantly reduced charge, and in cases where their client’s rights were violated, it could even result in the charge being dismissed.

Reduced Sentencing Options

Probation is often a possibility for many types of theft crimes, depending on the accused party’s previous criminal history and the circumstances of the case. In many simple theft cases with no injury or assault, and no prior criminal background, the person being charged may be eligible for a probationary sentence.

There may also be reduced sentence options available, such as a sentence to parole or having the charge sealed. For a person who has been charged with shoplifting, it is important to have representation from an experienced and reputable criminal attorney who is well-respected by the court and can help pursue alternatives to incarceration. A proper defense strategy against a Michigan shoplifting charge can help argue down an individual’s potential sentence.

Uniqueness of a Shoplifting Offense

Establishing the fair market value of the property that has been allegedly stolen is one of the most important elements of retail fraud cases. Value can be very difficult to establish simply because many stores do not have a unique value they have assigned to a product for the whole time that the product is in the store.

Many stores issue coupons, have periodic sales, or they may have a procedure where after a period of time that the item is in the store, the price get reduced automatically. Because shoplifting charges are more serious when the value of the stolen property is higher, it is important for a person who has been charged with shoplifting to seek representation from an experienced theft defense lawyer who can help ensure a fair valuation of the property in question.

Also, the issue of intent is sometimes much different in a shoplifting case because an individual can be charged with shoplifting before they leave the store but after they have passed one or more cash registers. It is possible for an individual to do this innocently, meaning all the other elements of a shoplifting are proven, but they never had any intent to steal.

Benefit of an Attorney

Prosecutors in retail fraud cases are required to prove the value of the property beyond reasonable doubt. Any potential discrepancy in value can have a major bearing on the case, and a skilled shoplifting defense attorney will use these discrepancies as part of their Michigan shoplifting defense strategy.

Attorneys are trained, know the law, and understand the rules of evidence. An experienced lawyer knows their way around the court, they know the judge and the prosecutor, and they can help move the case through the system and pursue a favorable result.