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Theft and Property Crime Glossary of Terms

Below is a glossary of terms relevant to Michigan theft and property crime cases. If you have any questions about the charges you are facing, or if you have yet to hire an experienced attorney, contact Grabel & Associates now for a free consultation.

Armed Robbery: using a weapon or an article used to suggest the presence of a weapon in order to steal money or a product from any establishment can result in armed robbery charges, which could lead to felony conviction and a minimum of two years in prison.

Burglary: also called “breaking and entering,” burglary is a crime that involves illegally entering a residence, business, or other building with the intent to steal something from the building.

Carjacking: using force, violence, or threats against any person in lawful possession of a motor vehicle in attempts to steal that vehicle. Carjacking is a felony offense in Michigan.

Charge: the formal accusation you have allegedly committed.

Check Forgery: manufacturing false bank notes or checks, possessing counterfeit checks, or uttering and publishing a false or forged financial transaction can all result in serious criminal penalties in Michigan, which could include up to 7 years in prison for forging a signature on a check, or 14 years in prison for uttering and publishing.

Conviction: when a person has been found guilty by a jury or judge, he or she has been convicted.

Credit Card Theft: stealing a credit card or fraudulently using, selling, or possessing a credit card is a criminal offense in Michigan, punishable by up to 4 years in prison along with restitution payments.

Defendant: the person who has been charged with a criminal offense.

Embezzlement: stealing money or property that was entrusted to you by a business or other person. Embezzlement charges can result in serious jail time and fines, which are dependent on the value of money or property stolen.

Federal Charge: often involves federal agencies such as the IRS, and may be prosecuted in a federal court. Federal charges are usually more serious and can result in extremely serious criminal penalties.

Felony: a more serious criminal charge, usually resulting in over a year in prison and other penalties as the maximum possible sentence.

Grand Theft: theft of money or property over $1,000. Grand theft auto, grand theft firearm, and other charges involving valuable property can result in this serious criminal charge.

Home Invasion: unlawfully entering a residence.

Identity Theft: stealing the identity of another person, often by stealing a credit card, checks, bank accounts, mail, or online details. If convicted of identity theft, you could face up to 15 years in prison and fines of as much as $75,000.

Joyriding: taking a vehicle that you do not lawfully own for the purpose of driving, but not stealing. Joyriding is often a juvenile crime charge, and if your child has been accused of joyriding, it is critical to contact an experienced defense lawyer right away.

Larceny: the unauthorized removal of personal property of another with intent to permanently take it from the lawful owner.

Larceny from a Building: taking another person’s property from a building is a criminal offense, which can result in felony charges and a jail sentence of up to 4 years.

Misdemeanor: a less serious criminal charge, however misdemeanors may still result in jail time, fines, a criminal record, and other serious penalties and anyone accused of a misdemeanor should contact an experienced defense lawyer now.

Petty Theft: theft of money or goods valued at under $1,000.

Pre-file: the stage of a criminal case before charges have been filed. This investigative stage will be used by police and prosecutors to gather evidence against you, and it is never too early to hire a lawyer to protect you from criminal penalties.

Prosecutor: the attorney assigned to prove the guilt of a defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.

Retail Fraud: see “Shoplifting.”

Robbery: taking another person’s property by force, violence, or threats of force or violence. See “Armed Robbery” and “Unarmed Robbery.”

Shoplifting: stealing from a retail store or attempting to steal from a retail store. This includes altering, transferring, concealing, or otherwise misrepresenting the price of an item with intent to not pay the full price for the item. Depending on the value of the item or items, charges can be in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree.

Theft: taking another person’s property without consent.

Unlawfully Driving Away an Automobile (UDAA): taking possession of a motor vehicle that does not belong to you and willfully driving away. UDAA is a felony charge that can result in up to 5 years in prison.

Unarmed Robbery: taking the property of another person using threats, force, or violence, without the presence of a weapon or an article fashioned as a weapon. Unarmed robbery can result in up to 15 years in prison, and aiding in a robbery or attempting a robbery can result in similar serious penalties.

Contact Our Michigan Criminal Defense Firm 24/7

If you have been charged with theft or any other property crime, contact a Michigan criminal defense lawyer now. Grabel & Associates aggressively defends clients who are facing harsh penalties for theft or burglary, and we are dedicated to protecting the rights and freedom of clients statewide.

Call 1-800-342-7896 now for a free initial case consultation, or contact us online to discuss your theft or property crime case. Ask to set up a free initial no-obligation consultation with experienced trial lawyer Scott Grabel, who has been working in Michigan criminal defense for over a decade. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to begin protecting you from criminal conviction.


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