Farmington Hills Retail Fraud Attorney | Novi Retail Fraud Lawyer
MICHIGAN RETAIL FRAUD CHARGE LAWYER
Most people who have been charged with first offense Michigan retail fraud (also commonly known as ‘shoplifting’) simply made an isolated bad judgment. They’d do just about anything to take back that decision. The embarrassment of being caught and detained by store security is more than enough punishment. Unfortunately, retail fraud is a crime – a crime that can do real damage to your current and future employment.
The key to minimizing the impact of a retail fraud arrest is working out a resolution that keeps the conviction off of your criminal record. Attorney Jeffrey Buehner is a former Oakland County Prosecutor who has worked in Michigan’s criminal justice system for over 20 years. He knows how to present a retail fraud case to both prosecutors and judges in a way that maximizes your likelihood of keeping a first offense retail fraud charge from becoming a part of your criminal record.
Don’t let a retail fraud conviction impact your career, your reputation and peace of mind. We can help you put this incident behind you so that you can move on with your life. If you’ve been charged misdemeanor or felony retail fraud, give us a call for a free consultation with an experienced Michigan retail fraud defense attorney. Call (248) 865-9640 or fill out our Free Consultation form.
What Is Michigan Retail Fraud?
Retail fraud occurs when a person in a store, while the store is open to the public, intentionally does one of the following:
- Alters, transfers, removes and replaces, conceals, or in any other way misrepresents the price of an item with the intent to not pay for the item or to pay less than the actual price; or
- Steals an item from the store; or
- With intent to defraud, obtains or attempts to obtain money or store property as a refund or exchange for property that was not paid for and belongs to that store.
Michigan Retail Fraud Criminal Penalties
There are three degrees of retail fraud in Michigan and they are dependent upon the value of the merchandise stolen and a person’s prior criminal history.
1st degree retail fraud is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or $10,000 fine (or 3 times the value of the difference in price, property stolen, or money/ property obtained, whichever is greater). 1st degree can be charged where:
- The value of the stolen property offered for sale is $1,000 or more; or
- The value of the stolen property offered for sale is $200 or more but less than $1,000 with a prior retail fraud conviction.
2nd degree retail fraud is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a $2,000 fine (or 3 times the value of the difference in price, property stolen, or money/ property obtained, whichever is greater). 2nd degree can be charged where:
- The value of the stolen property offered for sale is $200 or more but less than $1,000; or
- The value of the stolen property offered for sale is less than $200 with a prior retail fraud conviction.
($200 – under $1,000 stolen; or 3rd Degree + prior conviction):
Misdemeanor; up to 1 year in jail and/or $2,000 fine (or 3x merchandise’s value)
3rd degree retail fraud is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail and/or $500 fine (or 3 times the value of the difference in price, property stolen, or money/ property obtained, whichever is greater). 3rd degree is charged where the value of the stolen property offered for sale is less than $200 and the person has no prior retail fraud convictions.
Michigan Retail Fraud Civil Demand Notice
In addition to criminal charges, a retailer (or their lawyer) may provide you with a civil demand notice. Michigan law provides that a merchant can recover the full retail price of unrecovered property or recovered property that is not in salable condition, and civil damages of 10 times the retail price of the property up to $200.00. Again, this is a civil action in addition to the criminal prosecution.
If you are looking for an experienced Michigan retail fraud defense lawyer, your first call should be to Jeffrey Buehner. Call (248) 865-9640 or fill out our Free Consultation form.