Have You Been Arrested Or Charged In Oakland, Macomb, Or Wayne County For Home Invasion Or Retail Fraud?
The Consequences Can Be Severe. Here Are Some Things You Should Know
The State of Michigan, though it recognizes various offenses as being ‘theft’ related, sees most charges prosecuted under M.C.L.A §750.110a or M.C.L.A. §750.356c – ‘Home Invasion’ and ‘Retail Fraud’ respectively. These charges if pursued and convicted, can carry very serious consequences.
Let’s start with Home Invasion – home invasion involves breaking into and entering, illegally a structure or the dwelling of another (home, apartment, business, car are some examples) with the intent to commit a felony or a misdemeanor. Beyond the actual breaking in of a structure (this may not mean a literal breaking in either – maybe you just pushed in the door and walked in uninvited) and what the accused meant to do, there are other factors involved, such as was a weapon of some sort used and whether or not a another person is lawfully there at the time of the breaking. Michigan recognizes three degrees of home invasion charges, first through third degree, with first degree being charged as a felony. Another consideration that the court will look to in these cases is whether or not you are a first-time offender or have a prior record of similar charges. For imprisonment and fine ranges on these charges, the accused can face anywhere between 5 and 20 years in jail or prison along with $2000 – $5000 in fines and costs depending upon the conviction.
Retail Fraud – commonly known as ‘shoplifting’ occurs when someone rips off a business or retailer of its merchandise, either outright by stealing it with no intention of paying for the goods at all. It is also charged by ‘fixing’ price tags so that the accused pays a lesser amount of money than what the item is actually being sold for. Retail fraud, similar to home invasion has three degrees of conviction with the first degree being the most severe, and is also charged as a felony. Again, consistent with home invasion charges, the court will want to know if this is a first-offense or if the accused has a prior record of similar charges. Given all of the shopping districts, major malls, and chain-retailers around Metro Detroit, retail fraud charges are not uncommon. One key note about retail fraud is that you can be charged with this crime if store security detains you before you have left an establishment. Also, it is worth mentioning that theft offenses including both of these crimes, if convicted, will likely create numerous problems concerning future employment or if trying to go to school or university. These charges go towards being dishonest, something that most people (including the courts) heavily frown upon.
Another possibility in these ‘shoplifting’ cases is that the vendor may decide to file civil charges to recoup its losses. If this happens, it may be that the merchant could reclaim up to the full sale price for the item(s) either no longer usable or not returned at all. Further, the seller can ask for compensation of ten times the sale price of what was taken up to a certain amount. Remember, this is a separate action from any criminal charges you may face.
Potential Defenses In Home Invasion And Retail Fraud Charges
If you have been accused of, are being investigated for, or have been charged with either home invasion or retail fraud charges beyond possible criminal sanctions you may face, please understand that the long-term consequences can also be dire as theft-based convictions will almost certainly lead to employment difficulties down the road. Be it losing a job or the inability to get another one, business owners would naturally be leery of hiring someone who has a theft charge on their record.
Possible defenses for these charges may include:
- You Were Mistaken Or That You Really Didn’t Know – You Lacked Intent – Many times, theft cases come down to what someone actually knew or truly believed was within their right to do. It has happened more than once that people have walked out of stores with merchandise perhaps not realizing that it wasn’t paid for or that they had it at all. To show a jury that something was taken by mistake, that you did not mean to leave the premises with an item would be one defense to consider.
- You Had An Alibi – While there is certainly more to this than professing one’s innocence, if an alibi is at issue, then the prosecution has to show that you were there when the theft occurred. If you are charged with a theft crime, there must be some proof as to the accused actually being present. This often goes to store surveillance recordings during the time of the theft. Remember, we don’t have to show that you weren’t there – the prosecution has to show that you were. Another defense strategy that might work.
- The Items Were Actually Yours To Begin With – It is tough to present a theft case against someone where the items in question actually belonged to them. A person cannot mean to ‘steal’ something if they genuinely believe that the item was rightfully theirs to begin with. This defense goes back to what you ‘meant’ at the time.
What Can You Do About All Of This?
The Law Office of Barton W. Morris has defended several theft cases with great success including both home invasion and retail fraud. He is expertly versed with potential consequences and has years of experience in negotiating with prosecutors to assist you in giving you the best opportunity possible to either have the charges reduced or dismissed outright. His knowledge and expertise will prove most helpful dealing with the police, prosecutors and the courts. Theft cases are difficult to prove and defend. Don’t let yourself be charged with home invasion or retail fraud because of either cost or the facts and circumstances.
Let the Law Office of Barton W. Morris assist in creating the best defense strategy possible. His team is available to you at any time to discuss the facts of your case and provide you with excellent representation from the beginning of your case to its conclusion.
Do not get yourself into a situation that is very difficult to rebound from. Theft offenses pose an incredibly serious problem and are prosecuted routinely in the State of Michigan. Let Mr. Morris begin working with you as soon as possible on your case to work toward the best solutions available to you. Contact his office today at (248) 541-2600 to begin working on your retail fraud or home invasion charges.