No one likes to be called a thief. Being charged with a theft or property crime can be a traumatic experience. Unfortunately, it can be all too easy to find yourself wrongly accused. You accidentally forgot to scan the last item in your grocery cart. Or maybe you made an accounting error at work. Although you know you’re innocent, don’t expect the prosecutor to take your word for it. You’ll need a defense attorney that understands property and theft crimes in your corner.
To be sure, not all our cases are false accusations. Plenty of our cases can be classified as “momentary lapses of judgment.” Maybe you thought that the department store wouldn’t miss just one shirt. Or maybe you thought your employer wouldn’t notice those few dollars missing from the books. One mistake doesn’t need to ruin your life, though. A criminal defense attorney can help you keep your record clean and you out of jail. Read what our clients say about us and our proven results.
Here are some common theft and property crimes that we see here at Grabel & Associates.
We see a lot of retail fraud cases. In Michigan, retail fraud charges range from first-degree (most serious) to third-degree (least serious) depending on the value of the property you allegedly stole. Some of these cases are based on simple misunderstandings. Maybe you put an item in your purse intending to pay for it but forgot about it by the time you got to the checkout. Some cases, though, are simply regrettable mistakes. Either way, we can help you prove your innocence or else make sure a mistake doesn’t result in jail time and a permanent criminal record.
Most embezzlement cases involve employees stealing money that was entrusted to them by their employer. This is usually regarded as a so-called “white collar crime.” We often see accountants and bookkeepers charged in these cases. Sometimes, embezzlement accusations are simply accounting errors that get misconstrued or blown out of proportion. Even so, you’ll need a defense attorney to prove it.
If you take someone’s credit card without their permission, you can be charged with credit card fraud, sometimes called “stealing a financial transaction device.” You can be charged even if you never used the credit card.
Forging a check is commonly referred to as “uttering and publishing” in Michigan. Each case is unique, and some can get quite complicated. You’ll need a criminal defense attorney to explore potential defenses you might have.
Everyone has heard of identity theft. But what exactly does it mean? In Michigan, it generally means using someone else’s personal identifying information (usually a driver’s license) to obtain money, goods, or services. Given the widespread cultural fear of identity theft, prosecutors aggressively pursue these cases.
Larceny is, very simply, stealing someone’s property. The most common version we see is larceny in a building, i.e., stealing something from a building. This is a felony offense that carries up to four years in prison. As you’ll see, you can be charged with a more serious crime depending on the circumstances of the alleged theft.
Also referred to in common parlance as burglary, home invasion is exactly what is sounds like—invading someone’s home. It’s divided into three degrees depending on the seriousness of the conduct. Each degree, though, is a felony. It’s distinguished from larceny in that it generally involves breaking and entering with the intent to commit another crime once you get inside. Home invasion charges are taken very seriously by prosecutors. If you’re accused or charged with home invasion, contact an experience criminal defense attorney.
In Michigan, “robbery” generally involves taking money or property from someone using force or the threat of force. If you do it without a weapon, it’s unarmed robbery. Your run-of-the-mill purse snatcher will be an unarmed robber. An unarmed felony charge is a felony and can land you in serious trouble.
Armed robbery is just like unarmed robbery except—you guessed it—the person used a weapon to accomplish the robbery. In Michigan, armed robbery is a capital offense, meaning it’s punishable by up to life in prison. Prosecutors pursue these charges vigorously. You’ll need to consult a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Joyriding—sounds fun, doesn’t it? Not if you’re charged with it. Joyriding, as it is defined in Michigan, means to take someone’s car without permission but without the intent to permanently steal it. It’s common to see teenagers and young adults charged with this offense. It’s what’s known as a high court misdemeanor, meaning it’s technically a misdemeanor but punishable by up to two years in prison.
Sometimes called grand theft auto, this is another one that pretty much explains itself. If you take a car and drive it away without the owner’s authority, you may be on the hook for UDAA, a felony. But if you took the car without intending to permanently steal it, you may be eligible for a reduction to joyriding.
Distinguished from UDAA, carjacking is stealing a car while the occupants are still in it. The victims in these cases are often very sympathetic, and prosecutors are—understandably—not lenient when it comes to carjacking. Like armed robbery, it’s a capital offense punishable by up to life in prison. But often issues arise about whether the victims have correctly identified that carjacker.
What if you didn’t actually steal anything, but you bought or accepted something from another person knowing it was stolen? You could be liable for receiving and concealing stolen property. If the property is worth more than $1,000, it’s a felony. Most of these cases revolve around whether the person who bought or accepted the property knew that it was stolen. The assistance of a criminal defense attorney is essential.
In any theft or property crime case, there are a lot of different aspects to consider. Without giving away too much of our strategy in these cases, here are just some of the things we’ll be looking at in your case:
If you need a lawyer in Michigan for any of the following property crime or theft charges, Grabel & Associates can provide the best possible defense:
If you’re accused or charged in a theft or property crimes case, you need a criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact us online or call us at our 24/7 defense hotline at 1-800-342-7896.