GET A SECOND CHANCE: Dismissal of Retail Fraud in the 41B District Court
The 41B District Court is located at 22380 Starks Drive, Clinton Township, Michigan, 48038. This Court has jurisdiction which encompasses the geographic areas of Clinton Township, Harrison Township and Mount Clemens. It is trial court with full authority to handle all misdemeanor proceedings. A misdemeanor is defined as a criminal offense that carries up to 1 year in jail but does not carry prison time. The 41B District Court also handles felony cases from the early stages of arraignment, probable cause conference and preliminary examination.
The 41B District Court region is densely populated with big name national retailers (Walmart, Target, Lowes, CVS), retail strip centers and the Partridge Creek Mall which opened in 2007. This publication is about the crime of retail fraud (shoplifting) cases and how to get a positive result in the 41B District Court system.
Getting charged with retail fraud looks bad and sounds worse and is very embarrassing. Most of our clients charged with retail fraud are good people that have contributed to society and are afraid of being labeled a thief. In general, many of our clients express a personal problem by engaging in retail fraud and just need a wake up call. We have practiced criminal law extensively in the 41B District Court and have practiced longer than most law firms in Macomb County and Metro Detroit. I can say that in my nearly 40 years of practicing in this district, the 41B District is a court where the judges will give offenders a second chance as I will explain in this publication.
Penalties for Retail Fraud Depend on Prior Record of Offender and the Value of Property Involved
In Michigan, the crime of shoplifting is prosecuted as an offense known as “retail fraud“. Retail fraud crimes are classified according to degree based upon the value of property or money attempted to be misappropriated. An offense can also be enhanced to a higher degree if the offender has a past record for retail fraud.
- 1st Degree Retail Fraud, Felony: Maximum Penalty: Up to 5 years in prison, $10,000.00 fine, court costs. Value of Property or Money: $1,000.00 or more
- 2nd Degree Retail Fraud: Misdemeanor: Maximum Penalty: 1 year jail, $2,000.00 fine, court costs. Value of Property or Money: $200.00 but less than $1,000.00
- 3rd Degree Retail Fraud: Misdemeanor: Maximum Penalty: 93 days jail, $500.00 fine, court costs. Value of Property or Money: Under $200.00
Triple Penalty: In addition to the above penalties, the court has the option to impose a fine, or a penalty up to 3x the amount of property or money attempted to be misappropriated, whichever is greater.
Civil Demand Letter: Don’t be surprised if you get a letter with a demand for civil restitution soon after being charged with retail fraud. The criminal retail fraud matter will not be dropped just because this amount is paid. The civil demand for money and the criminal proceedings are separate and distinct matters.
Retail Fraud 3rd Degree is Most Common: Concealment, Altering Labels, Failing to Scan at Checkout
The offense of Retail Fraud 3rd Degree is the most common form of shoplifting which means that the amount or value of the property attempted to be taken without authority is under the value of $200.00. Retail fraud can be committed in many ways including by:
- Concealment of merchandise
- Altering labels or misrepresenting the price
- Returning stolen merchandise
- Attempting to defeat self checkout barcode scanned
If you find yourself in this position, stop worrying and thinking that you are a bad person. We have represented people from all walks of life that have never been trouble but get caught committing a petty theft offense and are required to deal with the court system for the first time ever. Don’t attempt to represent yourself unless you are 100% sure that you know how to deal with a Macomb County Prosecutor or city attorney assigned to the case. In addition, you will be judicially interrogated at some point in time. Saying the wrong thing can result in the case being scheduled for a jury trial and missing an opportunity to get out of the system. There are also proactive moves that can made to get the best possible outcome and reduce your time in the 41B District Court system. We can explain how to keep your record clean of any theft related offense even if you tell us that you are guilty of the crime. Our goals are always the same: AVOID CONVICTION & AVOID HARSH PENALTIES!
But I Didn’t Intend to Steal Anything and I had the Money in My Purse or Wallet to Pay…
We hear it all the time and so do the judges that preside over retail fraud cases: “I didn’t intend to steal anything, it was a mistake” and “why would I need to shoplift something when I had the money in my pocket or purse to pay for it.” Don’t fool yourself into believing that you can win your case with these assertions. Again, saying the wrong thing in the courtroom can get you stuck in system and lead to a devastating irreversible guilty verdict. You may be eligible to get the case dismissed without trial even if you are guilty.
Getting Out of the System with a Delayed Sentence and Dismissal!
If you are caught shoplifting, getting a skilled Macomb County criminal defense lawyer with experience handling retail fraud cases in the 41B District Court is is the right move if you want a shot at getting a second chance. Again, the 41B District Court has jurisdiction over matters that occur in Clinton Township, Mount Clemens and Harrison Township. As I have mentioned, it is important to know how to approach these matters with the prosecuting attorney and the judge. In other words, we will protect you from drawing attention to negative aspects of your case. Being successful in the majority of these cases means that we know how to identify a client with the prosecutor and the judge as an “isolated offender’. In doing so, we are able to get a dismissal of the offense after a period of probation under a special provision of law (MCL 771.1) known as a delayed sentence. There are also other possible results which include dismissals pursuant to HYTA for youthful offenders (age 18 but under age 26) or amending the offense to a non-theft infraction. Once a case is resolved or dismissed, the offender can obtain an official copy of the resolution or dismissal from the court. Legal proceedings have a way of following a person and getting solid proof of the disposition from the court is the best way to avoid misunderstandings and possible future complications associated with the underlying case.