In Michigan, retail fraud, more commonly referred to as shoplifting, is an aggressively prosecuted and pervasive offense. Frequently, our office defends these cases in Harper Woods where the Eastland Mall is located and many of these offenses occur. Originally opened in 1957, the facility houses large department stores including the Burling Coat Factory, Macy’s and Sears. Most large chain stores have loss prevention (see our related post) and prosecute theft aggressively.
What is it that you need to know if you are being charged with retail fraud? Defendants should take note that the prosecution need not prove that you left the store with misappropriated merchandise. Pursuant to MCL 750.356d it only needs be shown that intent not to pay is coupled with one of the following;
– Altering merchandise,
– Transferring merchandise,
– Removing merchandise,
– Replacing merchandise,
– Concealing merchandise,
– And/or misrepresenting the priced value of the merchandise.
It is usual for those being charged with retail fraud to be overcome with feelings of embarrassment and anxiety. While a serious charge, retail fraud (especially a first offense) is one that can be handled if an aggressive legal defense is utilized early on in the proceedings.
Our practice of these cases in the 32-A District Court is as follows. Characteristically we can have these issues resolved with one appearance. Many times, we can secure a plea offer where the charge will come off of the client’s criminal record. This can be accomplished via the Youthful Trainee Act (sometimes referred to as MCL 771.1. Record preservation, especially for a theft crime, is crucial and is always one of our firm’s three goals for a retail fraud case. We further aim to eliminate jail time and minimize the terms of probation.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, what can defendants expect when being sentenced in the 32 – A by Judge Roger J. La Rose? Judge La Rose will oftentimes attempt to reach out to defendants. We have observed him in many instances take the time to really see what the underlying circumstances are in the defendant’s life that caused them to end up in trouble in the first place. Our office has observed that sentences in this Court include (sometimes with other conditions)
– 6 – 12 month probation,
– Fines and costs,
– And/or attendance of a misdemeanor class.
It is recommended that those being prosecuted for theft crimes retain the assistance of an attorney. Our office has been handling criminal matters in Macomb County for over 40 years and always fights to ensure our clients receive optimal disposition of their criminal charge. For a free consultation regarding a retail fraud charge, or any pending criminal matter, call our office at 586 412 5555