Juvenile Shoplifting Lawyer in Lansing
Shoplifting, also known as retail fraud, is a common form of theft. Minors are often involved in this crime, though adults can just as easily commit it. Shoplifting is a slang term. When dealing with court authorities and police, you will likely hear it referred to as “retail fraud.”
Retail fraud is defined as taking an item from a store or changing the sticker price of an item and having no intent to pay for it at all or at full price. This is a lighter crime, but more serious consequences can be attached to a conviction if you do not conduct yourself carefully and have a juvenile defense attorney draft and prepare your defense in court.
Like many crimes that often involve minors, the punishment for shoplifting varies greatly. The court can determine whether to deal out restitution payments, community service, or probation, among the lighter punishments. However, if the offender is nearing the age of seventeen, has a criminal history, or has stolen high value items, the court could increase the severity of the punishments. This can mean higher fines and possible jail time.
In the most severe cases, a court may consider having the offending minor charged and tried as an adult. There are laws in the state of Michigan that allow minors as young as 14 to be charged as adults. It should be noted, however, that the courts will usually only push for this exception in cases involving drugs and violent crimes.
Retail fraud charges are broken up into three degrees. First degree retail fraud can be charged if the offender has stolen goods whose value is $1,000 or more. First degree retail fraud is unique because, unlike the other degrees, is a felony. This means that significant fines can be levied along with other punishments as the court sees fit. Fine can reach $10,000 or three times the good’s worth, whichever is higher. The judge may also include a jail time punishment. This can be as long as five years.
Retail fraud in the second degree involves thefts between the value of $1,000 dollars and $200 dollars. This is a misdemeanor and has correspondingly lower punishments. A fine can go as high as $2,000 dollars or three times the value of the stolen property, whichever is higher. The offender can also be sentenced to as much as one year of jail time.
Third degree retail fraud can be given out to anyone who steals goods whose value is lower than $200. A misdemeanor and the lightest of retail fraud charges, the fines are low, but are still enough to be a major inconvenience to you and your family. A third degree charge can garner a fine of $500 or three times the value of the mishandled property, whichever is higher. In extreme cases, a court can give ninety-three days in jail to the offender.
Though the fines and penalties may be slight, the danger lies in the offender’s record. As a minor, they will be applying for jobs, applying for colleges, and being reviewed by a variety of organizations. A mark on their criminal record is a detriment to everything they might hope to achieve in their lifetime. The only way to make sure your child does not face this future is to contact an experienced legal team. Grabel & Associates have many talented lawyers on staff to handle theft and retail fraud cases. We have the knowledge to help you navigate the complex legal system and uphold your good name.
Expungement and Protecting your Child
There is one process we can help you navigate to protect your child’s criminal record. The courts realize how one stupid mistake as a kid can wreck someone’s professional chances in the long run. Therefore, there is a legal process to expunge or seal the minor’s record. Expunging will remove the charge altogether so it looks as though nothing was ever there. Sealing the record merely hides the contents, but anyone who wants to look will see a sealed record, rather than a clean record.
Michigan allows a juvenile with one felony or up to three misdemeanors on his record to request expungement. After filling out the application, you will need a fingerprint and ID card, a certified copy of your conviction record, and the name and address of the prosecutor in your case. If you do not know the name or address of the prosecutor in your case, you can often find that information in the Michigan Prosecuting Attorney Office Directory.
Once this request for expungement is submitted, you will be called to a hearing. You will have to convince the judge as to why you deserve the expungement. It will help if your record has been clean since your conviction. Officers and victims involved in your offense have the option of supporting or protesting the expungement.
Contact Grabel & Associates
Retail fraud can be a very minor road bump in a happy life, but it can also be the bump that sends the entire car over the edge. A criminal charge can upset your child’s life for a long time and financial fines can severely inconvenience your household. You need a retail fraud attorney who knows how to help your case. The attorneys of Grabel & Associates know the intricacies of the law and can help you determine how best to prepare for your trial. You can call us for a free consultation right now at 1-800-342-7896 or you can contact us online. Do not wait, ensure your child’s future against unjust charges.