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Under Michigan law, retail theft (or “retail fraud”) and shoplifting are two different words for the same criminal act.

Retail fraud specifically refers to the theft of property from a retail store, or any fraudulent scheme where the defendant profited at the retailer’s expense. Legally speaking, shoplifting doesn’t have a specific definition apart from retail fraud, but in everyday use, shoplifting usually means the outright physical taking of retail items.

However, retail fraud is much broader, as it includes:

  • Using fraudulent receipts to return an item
  • Switching price tags to pay a lower price
  • Swapping out damaged goods for a product to return it
  • Returning stolen property to the store for money
  • Buying items at a discount to return for full price

All of these actions, as well as the taking of property from the store, are charged as “retail theft” or “retail fraud.” The severity of your charges will depend on the value of what you allegedly stole or defrauded from the store.

Retail theft is charged according to the value of the property in question:

  • Stolen goods at $200 or less (Third-degree misdemeanor): 93 days in jail and up to $500 in fines or 3x the value of the stolen property.
  • Stolen goods worth between $200 and $1,000 (second-degree misdemeanor): up to a year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines or 3x the value of the stolen property.
  • Stole goods worth $1,000 or more (first-degree felony): up to five years prison time and up to $10,000 in fines or 3x the value fo the stolen property.

A misdemeanor charge of retail theft could be elevated to a felony (regardless of value) if the prosecutor accuses the defendant of planning to sell the allegedly stolen items.

Speak with a Farmington Hills Retail Fraud Defense Lawyer as Soon as Possible

If you’re facing accusations of shoplifting, you’re looking at potentially severe consequences. Protecting your innocence will require the help of an experienced and aggressive attorney. I, Daniel D. Hajji, Attorney at Law, have been defending the accused in Michigan since 2002, including some high-profile cases statewide. My work has helped countless people avoid jail time, conviction, and heavy fines.

As a defense lawyer, I recognize that every case is the most important case of my client’s life-and I treat it like the most important case of my life too. My approach is to provide every client with 24/7 availability and relentless advocacy at every level, protecting their rights while restoring their peace of mind. If you want to learn how I might be able to help you, speak with me in a free consultation.

If you’re facing shoplifting charges, speak with me, an experienced Farmington Hills retail fraud defense lawyer, as soon as possible. Call (248) 599-0054 today!

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