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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Understanding the Varying Degrees of Theft and Property Crimes in Michigan

What are the penalties for shoplifting in the state of Michigan?

Theft and property crimes can vary in severity and maximum sentence, depending on the nature of the item stolen and any extenuating factors present at the time of the incident. Generally, the more valuable the item(s) stolen, the greater the possible punishment. Likewise, the presence of any aggravating factors (e.g., force, injury, extensive damage) could increase the possible sentence as well. The following explains some of the most common Michigan property crimes, which are found in Chapter 750 of the Michigan Penal Code.

Larceny

Larceny is the legalistic term for theft, and is simply defined as the “stealing [of] any of the…. property of another person.” The severity of the larceny charge will depend on the value of the item stolen, and a defendant could face a felony larceny charge –punishable by up to 10 years in prison if the item is valued at $20,000 or more, or the person has a history of prior larceny charges. If the item is valued at between $1,000 and $19,999, the maximum felony larceny sentence is five years in prison. By contrast, if the item is valued at $ 200 or less than $1,000, the larceny crime is a misdemeanor punishable by no more than one year in prison.

Each larceny offense carries a significant financial penalty as well. For the highest felony larceny crime, the offender could face a fine of not more than $15,000.00 or 3 times the value of the property stolen, whichever is greater.

Shoplifting

Known as “retail fraud,” there are three degrees of shoplifting crimes on the books in Michigan. Retail fraud in the first degree involves theft of retail items valued at $1,000 or more is considered a felony, and is punishable by imprisonment up to five years and a maximum fine of $10,000 or three times the value of the item stolen – whichever is greater.

Second degree retail fraud involves the theft of items valued between $200 and $1,000, and is considered a misdemeanor in Michigan, punishable by up to one year in jail  and a fine equal to or greater than $2000, or three times the value of the stolen goods. Lastly, third degree retail fraud of items less than $200 (also a misdemeanor) is punishable to up to 93 days of jail time and/or a fine equal to the $500 or three times the value of the stolen goods, whichever is greater.

There are a number of additional theft crimes under the Michigan Penal Code. If you are facing a charge of larceny, shoplifting, or any other property crime, please contact Martin T. Lievois 248-419-1566 or 810-250-4550 to obtain the most aggressive defense possible.


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