Courts in Michigan take theft offenses seriously. These charges are brought when a prosecutor believes that a person has stolen property that belongs to someone else. Property that may be stolen includes money, goods, bank notes, book accounts, real estate deeds, public records, and receipts, among other things. If you have been charged with theft, you should retain an aggressive criminal defense attorney. Kelly Neumann is an experienced Grand Rapids and Traverse City theft lawyer who can seek to negotiate a lesser charge or to obtain a dismissal. She can also take your case to trial if that proves to be an appropriate strategy.Protect Your Rights When Facing a Theft Charge
Theft and larceny may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the property that allegedly has been stolen. Misdemeanor larceny or petty theft may be charged when the property is worth less than $200. For example, stealing makeup and sunglasses from a drug store may be charged as misdemeanor larceny or as retail fraud in the third degree. If you are convicted of either of these offenses, you may be punished by being imprisoned for up to 93 days or paying a fine of at most $500 or three times the value of what you allegedly stole, whichever is greater. You also may face both fines and imprisonment.
When stolen property is worth between $200 and $1,000, the theft is charged as a misdemeanor. If you are convicted, you may be penalized with imprisonment for up to one year, up to $2,000 in fines or three times the property's value, whichever is greater, or both. This offense may also be charged as retail fraud in the second degree.
The theft of more valuable property is a felony. If you are charged with stealing something that is worth between $1,000 and $20,000, you may be charged with felony theft. A conviction is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000 or three times the property's value, or both. This charge may also be brought if the property at issue is a motor vehicle, a trailer, or a particular motor vehicle component. You may also be charged with retail fraud in the first degree if you stole the property from a store.
If you are alleged to have stolen property worth $20,000 or more, you may be charged with felony theft, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $15,000 or three times the property’s value, whichever is greater, or both.
If you have been convicted of prior theft-related offenses, you may face greater penalties. In Michigan, the punishment may increase to the penalties associated with the next higher level of theft. For example, if you are charged with stealing a $5,000 item, but you have a criminal record with a conviction for stealing other items, you may face up to 10 years’ imprisonment and fines of up to $15,000.Retain a Theft Lawyer in the Grand Rapids or Traverse City Areas
You should not feel daunted if you have been charged with a theft offense in Michigan. An experienced Traverse City or Grand Rapids theft attorney can examine the details of your circumstances and negotiate for a plea deal or seek to get the charges dismissed. The Neumann Law Group also represents people in Ann Arbor, Lansing, Flint, Detroit, Kalamazoo, Wyoming, Detroit, Saginaw, Muskegon, Midland, Holland, Warren, and Petoskey, as well as communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact us at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form to set up a free appointment. We also can assist people who need a drug crime attorney or vigorous advocacy in fighting another type of charge.