Retail fraud is simply a term used in Michigan to describe the crime of shoplifting. Theft from stores is one of the most common crimes in the entire country with the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention reporting that police have caught over 10 million shoplifters in the last five years alone.
As is the case with several other offenses, there are various degrees of retail fraud. The degree greatly influences the type of penalties a person faces, and it also alters how the attorney will build a defense.
1st degree retail fraud
A 1st degree charge qualifies as a felony, and it is punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and up to five years in prison. The police can charge a person with 1st degree retail fraud if the individual attempted to steal something worth over $1,000. A 1st degree charge may also come upon a person if he or she stole something worth less than $1,000 but has a previous criminal record of shoplifting.
2nd degree retail fraud
For a 2nd degree charge, the person will face a fine up to $2,000 and up to one year in jail. A 2nd degree charge is on the table when a person stole something worth between $200 and $1,000. However, if the person stole something worth less than $200 but has a prior record of shoplifting, then he or she may face 2nd degree charges.
3rd degree retail fraud
A person will only receive 3rd degree charges if he or she has no prior criminal record and the value of the item stolen is under $200. In this instance, the person will face a fine of up to $500 and up to 93 days in jail. The penalties for any of these charges can increase if the police charge a person with an additional crime. For example, a person who steals something from a store after it closed may also need to fight against breaking and entering charges.