Retail Fraud, a.k.a. Shoplifting
In the state of Michigan, stealing goods from a retail business can land you in jail. Michigan business owners are serious about their inventory shrinkage, so if the law accuses you of retail fraud, you need the services of an experienced attorney to avoid criminal punishment. A shoplifting charge on your record jeopardizes your future chances of employment. Furthermore, the costs of a criminal conviction are steep.
What Constitutes Shoplifting?
Shoplifting is when a person steals items from a retail store under the guise of being a customer, but it is more than simply pocketing items. Shoplifting also includes the acts of:
- Intimidating staff to look the other way of theft
- Attempting to steal merchandise
- Switching price tags to pay less for an item
- Using children to remove items from a store without paying
- Collaborating with an employee to take inventory
- Returning stolen goods in exchange for cash or store credit
Anyone who commits these act is guilty of retail fraud. In the state of Michigan, shoplifting leads to criminal prosecution. However, you have options when facing retail fraud charges. If accused of shoplifting, attorneys advise you do not speak to security, management, loss prevention agents, or police beyond what is available on your identification. You have the right to refuse to talk once you are in custody of security or police forces.
Retail Fraud in Michigan
The state of Michigan Penal Code defines three degrees of retail fraud.
Retail Fraud in the First Degree
First Degree shoplifting charges are the most serious. When the amount that is stolen equates to more than $1000, a person receives First Degree shoplifting charges. These charges apply whether the number comes from the value of the product taken, the difference between switched tags, or the attempt to defraud equates to $1000 or greater.
Under Retail Fraud in the First Degree, those convicted face jail time of up to 5 years and a potential fine of at least $10,000, up to three times the value of the stolen property.
Retail Fraud in the Second Degree
Second Degree shoplifting charges in Michigan constitute stealing or defrauding a business of an amount between $200 and $1000.
Those convicted of Retail Fraud in the Second Degree face up to a year of jail time of up to 1 year as well a fine of at least $2,000, up to three times the value of the stolen property.
Retail Fraud in the Third Degree
Third Degree retail fraud when is the value of the product taken, the difference between switched tags, or the attempt to defraud is less than $200. In the state of Michigan, a person convicted of Retail Fraud in the Third Degree faces up to 93 days in jail and a potential fine of at least $500, up to three times the value of the stolen property.
Unfortunately, no matter which Degree of shoplifting you face, all three require legal representation to fight damaging legal obligations. Furthermore, any previous convictions or additional charges may enhance the severity of your conviction. An experienced legal representative alleviates the struggles that come with your Michigan criminal shoplifting case.
Falsely Accused of Shoplifting?
The consequences of retail fraud last far beyond the time of conviction. There is no one-size-fits-all culprit for shoplifting. However, some people believe they can identify shoplifters through profiling. If a shopkeep wrongly accuses you of shoplifting based on racial or age profiling, you have the right to defend yourself in the court of law. A retail fraud charge endangers future employment opportunities. A lawyer with ample experience in shoplifting cases crafts a defense that saves your legal record and reputation. If you did not intentionally take goods from a store, but you face criminal penalties for shoplifting, your attorney works tirelessly to prove your innocence throughout the criminal process.
Detroit Retail Fraud Attorney Gary M. Wilson
If you are in Detroit and need legal representation facing charges of retail fraud, Gary M. Wilson can help. Wilson’s 23-years of criminal law practice provide you with ample defense against shoplifting charges.
Schedule a free consultation with attorney Gary M. Wilson by calling 313-886-5600