A conviction for retail fraud, i.e. theft, is just like any other criminal conviction: you will have a criminal record that may follow you for the rest of your life. When you apply for a job, the employer will see the conviction when it does a criminal background check. Having a theft conviction may make it harder for you to find a job. Also, if you apply for college or professional licenses, any criminal conviction may be discovered.
Lastly, having a theft conviction may be considered a crime of “moral turpitude” which can have serious immigration consequences. It is no surprise that a potential employer, school, or immigration authority, would have concerns about an individual with a theft conviction.
However, many individuals are not afforded the opportunity to provide an explanation regarding an accusation or theft conviction which may result from a simple misunderstanding or theft of low dollar value item(s). As a result, it is important to explore all evidence brought against you and explore every option available in order to do whatever is necessary to keep a theft conviction off your public record.
Retail Fraud Defense Strategies
One strategy our firm employs to avoid negative consequences of a theft conviction is to negotiate a resolution with the prosecution and court whereby our client is able to avoid having a criminal conviction on their record. The substance of such negotiations can vary, but our objective is to ensure the client’s case is resolved without any theft or retail fraud conviction on their record. If we obtain evidence, such as surveillance video, that is favorable to our clients, it is possible that the case can be dismissed without any conditions.
However, if our client made a written or verbal admission to the authorities, the case may require us to negotiate a dismissal with conditions. Sometimes we are able to negotiate a dismissal upon payment of fines and costs along with a stipulation that the client will not engage in criminal activity for an agreed upon period of time. Other times the client may have to complete community service or other programs in order to qualify for the dismissal. Negotiated outcomes depend on the particular court, prosecutor, judge, and client.
Our Priority is No Conviction
No matter which strategy we elect to pursue, the number one priority is to ensure the client exits the process with no conviction on their record. Although people make mistakes, it is vital that a theft charge not affect a career, education, or citizenship. Hiring an attorney who is familiar with courts and prosecutors in the metro-Detroit area is the first step to avoid the long term consequences of having a theft conviction.