Being stopped in the store and being arrested for Shoplifting or Retail fraud is one of most embarrassing things that ever happened to you. If you got caught, you were stopped by store security, escorted to the store office, the police were probably called, and you might have been walked out of the store in handcuffs for everyone to see. If this happened to you or someone you know, this is probably a good time time for an experienced Shoplifting Defense Attorney to help.

Being stopped in the store and being arrested for Shoplifting or Retail fraud is one of most embarrassing things that ever happened to you. If you got caught, you were stopped by store security, escorted to the store office, the police were probably called, and you might have been walked out of the store in handcuffs for everyone to see. If this happened to you or someone you know, this is probably a good time time for an experienced Shoplifting Defense Attorney to help.


Shoplifting is a Crime of Dishonesty

Shoplifting or Retail Fraud is taking, or even just moving, store property that is for sale and doing so without the intention of paying for it. While some may consider taking property from a store, no big deal, it is considered a crime of dishonesty and could have a huge impact on your ability to get a job, get admitted into college, or merely be considered an honest and truthful person.,

It is important to hire an attorney who will aggressively work to properly handle your case, protect your rights, and reduce the impact a shoplifting or retail fraud charge will have on you and your record.

Store Owners Demand Prosecutors Enforce Retail Fraud Laws

Store owners put great pressure on prosecutors to punish individuals who take or just intend to take merchandise. So even if you don’t make it out the door, you still can be charged with Retail Fraud or shoplifting. Retail Fraud also includes switching one price tag for another just to get a better deal.

Penalties for Shoplifting or Retail Fraud

All Retail Fraud charges come with consequences. Shoplifting is serious and the charges will depend on how much the property is worth and/or your past criminal record.

Retail Fraud Third Degree: If the value of the merchandise is less than $200.00 and this is your first offense, you will be charged with 3rd Degree Retail Fraud. This is punishable by a fine of up to $500.00 and/or up to 93 days in jail. Often times, however, an experienced defense attorney can negotiate a plea deal where the judge may take the case under advisement that includes probation. Or sometimes, an experienced attorney can get the court to dismiss the charges entirely, if the terms of probation are successfully completed. In that case, your record will remain clean.

Retail Fraud Second Degree: If the value of the merchandise is greater than $200.00 and less than $1000.00 or this is your second offense, you will be charged with 2nd Degree Retail Fraud. This is a high court misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $2000.00 and/or up to 1 year in jail.

Retail Fraud First Degree: If the the value of the merchandise is greater than $1000.00 or this is your third offense, you could be charged with First Degree Retail Fraud. This is a felony and you could go to prison for up to 5 years plus fines up to $10,000.00

Additional Civil Sanctions: You are also liable to the merchant for civil penalties. This includes restitution for any goods that are taken and not returned so they could be sold. In addition, in a couple weeks you will receive a bill from the store's lawyer for $200. This is a civil fine, is legal and you avoid getting sued by them for damages. A payment plan can usually be arranged.

Retail Fraud Third Degree: If the value of the merchandise is less than $200.00 and this is your first offense, you will be charged with 3rd Degree Retail Fraud. This is punishable by a fine of up to $500.00 and/or up to 93 days in jail. Often times, however, an experienced defense attorney can negotiate a plea deal where the judge may take the case under advisement that includes probation. Or sometimes, an experienced attorney can get the court to dismiss the charges entirely, if the terms of probation are successfully completed. In that case, your record will remain clean.

Retail Fraud Second Degree: If the value of the merchandise is greater than $200.00 and less than $1000.00 or this is your second offense, you will be charged with 2nd Degree Retail Fraud. This is a high court misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $2000.00 and/or up to 1 year in jail.

Retail Fraud First Degree: If the the value of the merchandise is greater than $1000.00 or this is your third offense, you could be charged with First Degree Retail Fraud. This is a felony and you could go to prison for up to 5 years plus fines up to $10,000.00

Additional Civil Sanctions: You are also liable to the merchant for civil penalties. This includes restitution for any goods that are taken and not returned so they could be sold. In addition, in a couple weeks you will receive a bill from the store's lawyer for $200. This is a civil fine, is legal and you avoid getting sued by them for damages. A payment plan can usually be arranged.

An Experienced Retail Fraud Attorney Can Lessen the Impact of a Retail Fraud Charge

Most stores are very careful when accusing someone of Shoplifting or Retail Fraud; they know they face a huge lawsuit if they accuse someone who is innocent. Most always there is in-store video, still shots of the accused, and testimony from loss prevention employees, other employees, or even other shoppers who witness the crime. With all that evidence, you need an experienced Shoplifting attorney who can look at all the testimonial evidence, review any video and photographic evidence, and provide you with the finest legal advise so you can determine your best course of action.

Schmierlaw has the experience to properly represent and defend you if you are charged with Retail Fraud or Shoplifting. And even if there is a conviction, an experienced attorney may be able to negotiate a Diversion Program for first time offenders.


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Law Office of James G. Schmier, PLLC
2222 Attard Street, Birmingham, Michigan 48009
Tel: (248) 705-3742     FAX: (248) 540-0044    Email: jschmier@schmierlaw.com