While retail fraud may seem relatively trivial next to some of the more serious crimes in the Michigan Penal Code, it is not taken lightly by the courts and the penalties it carries can be harsh. In addition, the scope of the crime is complex and extends beyond the commonly understood notion of stealing merchandise from a store.
For these reasons, if you have been charged with a shoplifting offense it is vital to seek competent legal representation at the earliest possible stage.
The lawyers at Grewal Law PLLC commonly encounter and defend against retail fraud and will be in a strong position to either get the charges against you dismissed or fight in your corner for a more favorable sentence.
Call us at (888) 211-5798 to schedule your free, no-obligation case consultation.
Michigan Shoplifting Offenses
Anybody who does any of the following in relation to a store or in its immediate vicinity is guilty of retail fraud:
- Steals property of the store that is offered for sale;
- Misrepresents the price at which property is offered for sale, with the intent not to pay for the property or to pay less than the price at which the property is offered for sale; or
- With intent to defraud, obtains or attempts to obtain money or property from the store as a refund or exchange for property that was not paid for and belongs to the store.
First, Second & Third-Degree Penalties
Whether offenders are charged with first, second or third-degree retail fraud depends on the value of the property stolen, the difference in price between the true value of the goods versus the value of the misrepresented goods, or the amount of money or the value of the property fraudulently refunded or exchanged.
Prior convictions for similar offenses may also have an impact on the classification of the crime. Broadly, where the amount is:
- $1,000 or more, you will be guilty of retail fraud in the first degree, which carries a sentence of up to 5 years in prison, or a fine of the greater of up to $10,000 or 3 times the value of the difference in price.
- between $200 and $1,000, it constitutes retail fraud in the second degree, with an accompanying sentence of up to 1 year in prison, or a fine of the greater of up to $2,000 or 3 times the value of the difference in price.
- less than $200, you could be charged with retail fraud in the third degree, which carries a prison sentence of a maximum of 93 days, or the greater of a fine of up to $500 or 3 times the value of the difference in price.
Regardless of the value of property stolen, the jail time and financial consequences set out in each of the categories above could be imposed together, as well as in the alternative.
Experienced Retail Fraud Defense Lawyers in Michigan
If you or a loved one are looking for legal representation to secure the best chance of a positive outcome, the trusted theft attorneys at Grewal Law PLLC are an excellent choice in Michigan.
We have over 20 years of experience in retail and shoplifting criminal defense and can help defend your interests both in the immediate future and protect you against the devastating impact a conviction can have longer-term.
Call us today for a confidential, no-obligation quote at (888) 211-5798.