Being charged with shoplifting or retail fraud in the Detroit-area can lead to monetary fines or time spent in jail. The concept of shoplifting encompasses more than just taking an item from a store without paying. This can include suspicious behavior concealing merchandise on your person or under other items or switching price tags in order to pay a lower price for something. Being charged with shoplifting can carry significant weight if the defendant is found guilty. To avoid wrongful convictions or unfair sentencing, the person being charged with shoplifting will want to consult with a criminal defense lawyer proficient in shoplifting and retail fraud laws.
Michigan acknowledges three degrees of retail fraud. The value of the stolen merchandise directly impacts the level of fraud assigned in the charge of shoplifting. Thus, a third-degree charge indicates that the stolen item was valued at less than $200. As the dollar value of the item goes up, the higher the charge will be. An item that costs between $200 and $1,000 warrants a second-degree charge while anything over $1,000 is first-degree.
All three degrees of retail fraud result in some form of penalty, such as jail time and fines. As the value of the stolen merchandise influenced the shoplifting charge, the value will factor into the ultimate outcome of the case. For example, someone being charged with a first-degree charge of retail fraud may face up to five years in prison and be required to pay $10,000 in fines. Conversely, someone with a third-degree charge would be more likely to end up with 93 days in jail and $500 in fines. In some cases, the monetary amount owed may be calculated by requiring payment of three times the cost of the stolen merchandise.
If you have been charged for shoplifting or retail fraud, refrain from telling the police your side of the story until you have obtained legal representation. Factors specific to your situation can make a case more or less complicated, so it is critical to discuss all the details with an experienced attorney.
Call an attorney who is familiar with Michigan’s laws on theft and who can help determine the best course of action to take in order to protect your rights. No two situations are the same. Thus, each case is gauged on an individual basis. An attorney is capable of handling a wide variety of retail fraud and shoplifting cases while protecting your rights and negotiating on your behalf. When facing such serious charges, you need serious representation. That is where a quality Detroit shoplifting lawyer comes in.