Shoplifting has Consequences Under Michigan Law

Shoplifting has Consequences Under Michigan Law

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Shoplifting, or retail fraud, is a serious criminal charge in Michigan that could land you in jail if you are convicted. A conviction for a theft crime has far-reaching and life-altering effects on a defendant’s life. Once a defendant has been convicted of shoplifting or any other type of theft offense, it is often hard for him or her to rehabilitate his or her reputation. If you have been charged with shoplifting or any theft offense, this article will help you understand the basics of shoplifting charges and their potential consequences.

What is Retail Fraud?

Retail fraud, or shoplifting, is a form of theft. Anyone who attempts to steal or steals from a retail store may be found guilty of shoplifting. Even if you simply move an item and a store clerk suspects you of intending to steal the item, a court could find you guilty of shoplifting.

Switching price tags on merchandise to pay less for items is also a form of shoplifting. If you have been arrested for shoplifting, prosecutors need to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you.

Under the Michigan Penal Code, a prosecutor must prove that:

  • You entered a store that was open to the public;
  • You took items that were available to the public for sale;
  • You did not intend to pay for the items; and
  • You passed the last point of checkout with the items.

A prosecutor may prove you committed retail fraud by demonstrating that you switched price tags on items or tried to frequently collect a refund for items.

Penalties for Shoplifting in Michigan

Retail fraud is not a crime that courts and prosecutors take lightly. A shoplifting conviction can have devastating effects on your future. The penalties for shoplifting depend on the circumstances discussed below:

  • 1st Degree Retail Fraud: is a felony charge that occurs when items have a value of more than $1,000 or a defendant has a previous 2nd Degree retail fraud conviction. This charge can result in up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, or three times the value of the items, whichever is greater;
  • 2nd Degree Retail Fraud: is a misdemeanor charge that occurs when the stolen items have a value between $200 and $1,000 or the defendant has a prior conviction. This charge can result in one year in jail or a $2,000 fine or a fine of up to three times the value of the items, whichever value is higher;
  • 3rd Degree Retail Fraud: is a misdemeanor charge that occurs when items are worth less than $200. This charge can result in up to 93 days in jail and up to $500 in fines or three times the value of the items, whichever value is greater.

Seek Help from a Skilled Flint Criminal Defense Attorney

Shoplifting can result in serious consequences for defendants that range from large fines to jail time. If you have been arrested and charged with shoplifting, contact a Flint, Michigan criminal defense attorney. We can explain the legal issues surrounding your charge and provide you with the legal guidance you need to navigate the criminal court system. Please contact Nickola Law today at 810-767-5420 to schedule an appointment.

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