Grand Rapids Theft Crime Lawyer
If you or someone you love is charged or being investigated for a theft crime in or around Grand Rapids, you are probably wondering what do I do now? More specifically what are you accused of doing? Where did this alleged crime occur? If you are accused of a theft crime in the Grand Rapids area, then you can count on Grabel & Associates to defend you. Our Grand Rapids theft attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending theft crimes in the State of Michigan in our Grand Rapids office conveniently located here.
Know Your Theft Charge in Grand Rapids
Theft is a broad category in Michigan. There are numerous theft-related charges that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. The two general escalators from misdemeanor to felony are value of the property alleged to have been stolen or if some sort of physical force was used against the alleged victim of the crime. Most generally if the item(s) alleged to have been stolen have a value of over $1,000 then you are most likely looking at a felony charge. If the alleged theft is accompanied by a threat of force or violence, then you are also looking at a felony charge.
Theft crimes that can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies that are based on value:
- Retail Fraud (Shoplifting)
Again, the rule of thumb here is that anything that is alleged to have been stolen that has a value over $1,000 then you are looking at a felony charge, anything below $1,000 is a misdemeanor charge.
Some theft charges are only charged as felonies:
- Financial Transaction Device (illegal credit card usage)
- Uttering and Publishing (writing or passing bad checks)
- Unlawful Driving Away of an Automobile, UDAA (Grand Theft Auto)
- Home Invasion
- Identity Theft
- Unarmed Robbery
- Armed Robbery
- Larceny in a Building
The only charge that is only charged as a misdemeanor is the charge of Joyriding (unauthorized use of a vehicle without the intent to steal), but remember this charge can easily be enhanced to a felony when various factors are present.
Did you know that you could be charged with a theft related crime even if you didn’t steal the items yourself? If you knowingly receive stolen property that is also a crime that will be charged as a misdemeanor if the stolen property is valued at less than $1,000 and will be charged as a felony if the value is over $1,000. This crime is called Receiving and Concealing Stolen Property.
Once you know the alleged crime charged, the next important thing to know is what court(s) you are required to appear in.
Know Your Courts in Grand Rapids Theft Charges
The great city of Grand Rapids and surrounding cities are all within Kent County. All misdemeanor cases in Kent County are handled at the District Court level according to their location. Felony cases start at the district court level and end up in the Circuit Court if there is enough probable cause shown that a crime was committed and that the accused committed it. The first stop (after arraignment) for any criminal case in the Grand Rapids area whether it is a misdemeanor or felony is in District Court.
It is infinitely important to stand in front of the Judges in these various courts next to a theft crime attorney who has earned an excellent reputation and has achieved results for their clients. At Grabel & Associates we put our experience and knowledge to work for you immediately. We have successfully represented many clients in Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas. If you need an attorney for a theft crime, we offer a free case evaluation.
Know Your Theft and Property Crime Cases in Grand Rapids
Every theft offense has three basic elements that are common to them: Presence, Lack of Ownership, Intent.
Your presence in a theft crime is essential. A Prosecutor has to prove you were there when the crime occurred. Do you have an alibi? A defendant doesn’t have to prove his alibi, it is up to the Prosecutor to prove your presence at the scene of the crime in order for a jury to appropriately find you guilty of a theft offense.
You can’t be guilty of stealing something that is yours. Lack of ownership is a keystone element in a theft crime. If you are able to prove that the item in question was yours in some way, or that your honest belief was that the item was yours, then a jury cannot appropriately find you guilty of a theft offense.
What was your intention? A prosecutor must prove your intent to steal beyond any and all reasonable doubt in order for a jury to appropriately find you guilty of a theft offense. This intent can form at any point during the events in question.
For example: You put a bag of oranges in the bottom of your cart at the supermarket. You pay for everything except these items because you forgot they were there and didn’t put them on the belt in the checkout line. You proceed outside to your car. At this point, you are not guilty of retail fraud because you have no intent to steal. When you get to your car and start loading your trunk you see the bottom rack of your cart and realize you didn’t pay for that bag of oranges. If at this point, you decide to put them in your car and leave, then NOW you are guilty of retail fraud since your intent to steal has now formed. If you take the bag back inside and pay for them, then that would serve to prove that you did not have an intent to steal.
It is paramount to have an attorney that seeks to defend your case by every available avenue. A good theft crime attorney will know the importance of doing their own investigation if they feel the prosecution’s is false or lacking information. Were you there? Was the item yours? What was your intention? These core elements have a variety of ways to be defended and the attorneys at Grabel & Associates are ready to start building your case with you.
Our Defense Attorneys Are Here for You in Grand Rapids
At Grabel & Associates we are here for you in Grand Rapids and all over the State of Michigan. We stand ready to help successfully defend you in a theft crime. Come see us at our office at 2922 Fuller Ave NE, in between Plainfield Ave NE and 3 Mile Rd NE. or give us a call at 616-213-4133 OR contact us online for a free consultation.