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Theft Crimes Lawyers in Michigan

Defending Clients against All Types of Theft Offenses

Retail fraud, commonly referred to as shoplifting, is a serious crime in Michigan. Shoplifting is the stealing of property from a store during regular business hours. There are three degrees of retail fraud and the punishments vary depending on whether you are convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony.

First degree retail fraud is a 5-year felony and carries a fine of up to $10,000 or 3 times the value of the stolen property. There is also a maximum 5-year probation term. A person can be charged with first-degree retail fraud if, while the store is open to the public, the person changes, transfers, or otherwise misrepresents the price at which property is offered for sale with the intent to pay less if the resulting difference is $1,000 or more; stealing property that is offered for sale at a price of $1,000 or more; or obtains or attempts to obtain a fraudulent refund or exchange of property that is $1,000. A person can also be charged with first-degree retail fraud if they steal property that is valued between $200 and $1,000 and they have a prior retail fraud or attempted retail fraud conviction on their record.

Second-degree retail fraud is a misdemeanor that has a possible 1-year jail term plus fines and costs. There is also a maximum 2-year probation term. A person can be charged with second-degree retail fraud if the theft of property is between $200 and $1,000, or if the theft is under $200 but the person has a prior theft-related conviction on their record.

Third-degree retail fraud is a misdemeanor that carries a possible 93-day jail term plus fines and costs. There is also a maximum 2-year probation term. A person can be charged with third-degree retail fraud if the theft of property is valued below $200. This often occurs with the stealing of small items from stores such as Meijer, Target, Kmart, or CVS.

UDAA – Unlawfully Driving Away of an Automobile

UDAA – unlawfully driving away of an automobile is actually not a theft crime. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person took possession of a motor vehicle without the owner’s permission. It does not matter whether the person intended to permanently keep the vehicle. The prosecutor must also prove that the person had the specific intent to commit the offense, meaning it was not a mistake. UDAA is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison. Assisting another to unlawfully possess the vehicle is unlawful too, as long as there is a specific intent to do so. Mistake is a common and effective defense to this offense. Lessor offenses include the misdemeanor offenses of joyriding and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.

Larceny in a Building

If you have been accused of stealing money or property from a building in Michigan, you will be faced with harsh criminal punishments which may include significant jail time and hefty fines. Hiring an experienced theft crimes lawyer in Michigan immediately is imperative to protect your rights. At The Law Offices of Barton Morris, our team has extensive experience working and defending larceny in a building charges in Michigan and will work hard to build a strong defense. If you have already been convicted of larceny in a building, it’s not too late. Our firm provides a full range of post-conviction and appeal services for each and every one of our clients.

Larceny in a Building Charge

Larceny in a building is a felony offense and being convicted can send you to jail for up to two years. Breaking and entering into a building is not necessary. In fact, you can have permission to be in the building and still be charged with larceny in a building. This is often the case with housekeepers, babysitters, and students. You can be charged with larceny in a building if you steal something, big or small, from a privately owned building, such as a house, school, office, church, or a publicly used building, such as a locker room, gym, warehouse, or gas station. If you help another person – in any way – steal from a building, you will face the exact same charge and penalty. MCL 750.360 provides the legal description and definition for larceny in a building.

Larceny in a Building Defense

The Law Offices of Barton Morris will thoroughly analyze every detail of your case in an attempt to get the larceny in a building charge against you dismissed. There are many available defenses to a charge of larceny in a building and Barton W. Morris, Jr. will look at every single one when building a defense for your case.

Possible defenses to a larceny in a building charge include:

  • You intended to return the property;
  • You believed in good faith that the property belonged to you when you took it, even if it didn’t; and
  • You had consent from the property owner to take the property.

To schedule a free consultation with our Michigan theft crimes lawyers, call us at (248) 368-0038 today.

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