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While many do not consider shoplifting a severe offense, depending on the value of the merchandise, a conviction could have adverse consequences. Also known in Michigan as retail fraud, shoplifting carries the potential for jail time and harsh fines. In addition, the blemish on your permanent record could result in difficulty finding new employment or housing.

If you have been charged or arrested for retail fraud, speaking with a skilled theft attorney should be your priority. Schedule a meeting with a Marquette shoplifting lawyer to discuss the best plan of action for your circumstances.

Common Examples of Retail Fraud

The Michigan legal system takes theft incredibly seriously. Those who are facing convictions for shoplifting in this state face criminal and civil penalties. Shoplifting is the act of taking an item from a store that is open to the general public or from the immediate area around the store. In addition, the state prohibits anyone from:

  • Concealing items with the intent to leave without paying for the goods
  • Switching labels or containers to pay a lower price for the merchandise or otherwise altering their prices
  • Attempting to steal merchandise and then return it to a retailer to collect money for returned goods

A Marquette shoplifting attorney could review the details of an arrest and answer specific questions about the case and potential outcomes.

Theft Detection Devices

The state further prohibits the use of theft detection devices. Attempting to produce, sell, or possess a theft detection device will result in separate charges. A conviction is punishable by up to $4,000 in fines and four years in prison.

Potential Penalties for Shoplifting

Shoplifting is considered a form of larceny under state law, and a person facing charges can be met with severe penalties, including jail time. According to Michigan Penal Code § 750.356, a person who steals money or goods valued at less than $200 is guilty of misdemeanor larceny. A conviction is punishable by up to 93 days in jail, fines of up to $500, and will receive a misdemeanor on their permanent criminal record. If the property’s value is over $200 to $1,000, they will face up to one year in jail. The person will also face up to $2,000 in fines and penalties.

A conviction for stealing property or goods worth $1,000 or more faces a felony larceny conviction. If the criminal court finds an individual guilty, they could face up to ten years in prison, hefty court costs, and fines of up to $10,000. A shoplifting attorney in Marquette could help build a solid defense against these severe charges and work hard to defend an accused person’s rights.

Reach Out to a Marquette Shoplifting Attorney for Trusted Guidance

Theft charges not only carry the potential for expensive fines and jail time, but they also come with a stigma that could result in problems in nearly every part of your life. Being convicted of retail fraud can create challenges with finding gainful employment or even acquiring some professional licenses.

If you face shoplifting, theft, or larceny charges of any type, you should reach out to a legal professional immediately to go over your options. A hard-working Marquette shoplifting lawyer could thoroughly investigate the details of your case and help strategize a defense for the best potential legal outcome. Call Berger Law today and schedule a consultation to learn more.