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Theft Crimes Attorney
In Michigan, theft crimes are treated quite seriously. Even for first time offenders, there is a very real chance they will be facing jail time for the lowest level theft charges such as shoplifting. Convictions for these crimes are public, which can make securing future employment difficult, especially for professional and white collar workers. In addition to this, even first time theft crimes such as retail fraud can be considered a felony depending on how much property was stolen. Other theft crimes such as larceny, embezzlement, etc. carry similar consequences, including possible prison sentences.
If you are facing theft charges in Michigan, it is absolutely critical that you act as soon as possible to protect your freedom, your record and your reputation. Facing theft charges on your own without a proper legal defense will almost certainly result in disastrous legal consequences that can leave a permanent scar on the rest of your life.
Our expert criminal defense attorneys have decades of combined experience successfully defending clients against theft charges. If you are facing theft charges in Michigan please contact our office as soon as possible to see how we can best help to protect your freedom and future.
Michigan Theft Laws
Theft crimes in Michigan are divided into classifications, with varying punishments and prison sentences. Below are the most common types of theft crime types:
- Misdemeanor Theft
- Juvenile Theft
- Felony Theft
- Retail Fraud (Shoplifting)
- Identity Theft
- Car Theft
- Credit Card Fraud
Something to be aware of is that robbery differs from theft in that it involves using or threatening to use force to steal from another person, unlike theft which is simply referring to someone who is stealing property that does not belong to them. For the purposes of this page, the forums will be on theft crimes.
Below is a chart showing the simplified breakdown of the various theft related offenses in Michigan.
Michigan Retail Fraud (Shoplifting)
More commonly known as shoplifting, retail fraud is defined as the act of stealing property from a store. There are multiple levels of retail fraud which are dependent on the value of the property stolen, as well as other factors such as prior convictions for similar offenses.
3rd Degree Retail Fraud – When the property stolen is valued under $200 and the individual does not have any prior convictions, it is considered to be a third degree retail fraud offense. This is considered to be a misdemeanor, with punishment being up to 93 days in jail and a fine of $500 or up to three times the value of the property stolen, whichever is greater.
2nd Degree Retail Fraud – When the value of property stolen is $200 or more but under $1,000, or the property is under $200 but the accused has a prior conviction for retail fraud, it is considered to be second degree retail fraud. This is a misdemeanor carrying a punishment of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 or three times the value of the property stolen, whichever is greater.
1st Degree Retail Fraud – The most serious type of retail fraud, this charge is brought about when the stolen property is valued at $1,000 or more, or if the value of the property is $2000 or more but less than $1,000 and the accused has a prior retail fraud conviction. Classified as a felony, first degree retail fraud is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $10,000 or three times the value of the stolen property, whichever is greater.
In Michigan, embezzlement is when a person in a position of trust uses their position to obtain a financial benefit without approval or knowledge of an employer or the principal. Defined under Michigan Penal Code 750.174, the crime of embezzlement occurs when:
“A person who as the agent, servant, or employee of another person, governmental entity within this state, or other legal entity or who as the trustee, bailee, or custodian of the property of another person, governmental entity within this state, or other legal entity fraudulently disposes of or converts to his or her own use…”
There are two primary levels of embezzlement in Michigan – misdemeanor level and felony. These categories are then subdivided into different levels depending on the specifics of the offense. Some of the factors that can affect the level of embezzlement being charged are things such as the amount of money embezzled, prior convictions on the offender’s record, or even factors such as whether or not the money was taken from a non-profit organization. Below is a detailed listing of each level of embezzlement charge.
First Level Misdemeanor Embezzlement – The first level of embezzlement is when the value taken is under $200. Punishment for those convicted of this level of embezzlement is up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500 or three times the amount stolen, whichever is higher.
Second Level Misdemeanor Embezzlement – This second level of embezzlement occurs when the value taken is $200 or more, all the way up to $1,000. It also comes into play when the defendant takes under $200 but either has a prior embezzlement conviction or their victim is a non-profit or charitable organization under federal or Michigan law. The punishment for a conviction is up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 or three times the value stolen, whichever is greater.
First Level Felony Embezzlement – The first level of felony embezzlement applies when the amount taken is over $1,000 but under $20,000. It also includes situations where the amount is over $200 but under $1,000 and the defendant has a prior embezzlement conviction or the victim is a nonprofit or charitable organization under federal or Michigan law. Punishment for a first level conviction is up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 or three times the value taken, whichever is greater.
Second Level Felony Embezzlement – The most serious level of embezzlement possible under Michigan law, this is when the amount of money taken is over $20,000 but less than $50,000. It is also applicable in situations where the amount taken is over $1,000 but less than $20,000 and the defendant either has prior embezzlement convictions or the victim was a nonprofit or charity organization under federal or Michigan law. The punishment for this is up to ten years in prison and a fine of $15,000 or three times the value taken, whichever is greater.
This is the act of stealing property from another person or a business without the use or threat of force. Unlike retail fraud, the offense isn’t specific to a retail store but covers a broad range of situations and circumstances. These include circumstances such as someone stealing money from another person’s wallet, or stealing property such as a computer, phone, tools, etc. There are several different levels of larceny, which are applicable depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense as well as the monetary value of property or cash taken.
Levels of Larceny
Petty Larceny – The lowest level of larceny, this is applicable when the stolen property or cash is valued under $200. This is a misdemeanor offense that carries with it a jail sentence of up to 93 days and a fine of up to $500.
2nd Degree Larceny – This second degree of larceny occurs when the property or cash stolen is valued over $200 but under $1,000. This offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and fines of up to $2,000 or three times the value stolen, whichever is greater.
Felony Larceny – This is the most serious form of larceny, which is applicable when the amount of stolen property is valued over $1,000 and under $20,000. Felony larceny is punishable by up to ten years in prison and carries with it fines of up to $15,000 or three times the value stolen.
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