Theft & Property Crimes
We represent individuals accused of felony and misdemeanor theft and property crimes, including larceny, retail fraud, and forgery. We welcome even the most difficult cases, and will aggressively advocate on your behalf to obtain the best possible outcome while ensuring that your rights are protected at every time. We understand that being accused of a crime can be frightening and overwhelming so we spend time getting to know our clients and their families and their specific circumstances.
Providing representation with compassion and responsiveness is our mission with every case we handle. We go the distance for our clients, never backing down or giving up, regardless of the charges we are fighting. We will investigate your case, interviewing witnesses, visiting crime scenes, and reviewing evidence, so that we are well-equipped to counsel you on strategy and potential options. We are skilled and experienced negotiators, but if a trial is necessary, we are effective, fierce advocates in the courtroom.
Under Michigan law, larceny (theft) crimes are categorized as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the stolen property. There are two felony larceny offenses in Michigan. “D” felony larceny is punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years or a fine of up to $15,000 or 3 times the value of the stolen property (whichever is greater), or both imprisonment and a fine, and can be charged when:
- The property stolen has a value of $20,000 or more; or
- The person charged has 2 or more prior larceny or attempted larceny convictions.
“E” felony larceny is punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years or a fine of up to $10,000 or 3 times the value of the stolen property (whichever is greater), or both imprisonment and a fine, and can be charged when:
- The property stolen has a value of $1000 or more, but less than $20,000; or
- The person charged has violated the misdemeanor larceny law (see below) and has 1 or more prior larceny or attempted larceny convictions.
There are also two misdemeanor larceny offenses in Michigan. If the property stolen has a value of $200 or more, but less than $100, or the person charged has a prior misdemeanor larceny conviction, potential penalties include imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $2000 or 3 times the value of the stolen property (whichever is greater), or both. If the property stolen has a value of less than $200, potential penalties include imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500 or 3 times the value of the stolen property (whichever is greater), or both.
Shoplifting (Retail Fraud)
As with larceny, retail fraud (shoplifting) can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the value of the property stolen. First degree felony retail fraud is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine, or both, and involves stolen property worth $1000 or more. As with larceny, the potential penalties are higher if there are prior retail fraud convictions.
Carjacking and Auto Theft
The theft of a motor vehicle can result in particularly serious consequences. Where there is an intent to permanently deprive the owner of the use of their vehicle, carjacking can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the car in question:
- For vehicles worth less than $1,000, auto theft is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to one year in jail. Second or subsequent offenses become a felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
- For vehicles worth between $1,000 to $20,000, auto theft is a felony with a penalty of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- For vehicles worth more than $20,000, auto theft is a felony with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
If the vehicle was taken by force, violence, or threat, carjacking becomes a form of robbery and can be punished by life in prison.
Joyriding (Unlawful Driving Away)
If the prosecutor cannot show a defendant intended to keep or sell the vehicle in question, that defendant can still be convicted of unlawfully driving away or using a vehicle without authority. This is often called joyriding. Taking possession of another’s vehicle is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. If you use a vehicle without authority, you can be charged with a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to two years in prison and a $1,500 fine. A first offense can sometimes receive a reduced sentence of three months in jail or a $500 fine.
Robbery is essentially larceny from a person. Felony robbery charges result when a defendant is alleged to have taken money or property from another person without their consent by force, violence, or fear. The penalty for robbery depends on whether the defendant used a weapon.
- Unarmed Robbery: Up to 15 years in prison
- Armed Robbery: Up to life in prison
Possession or Receiving of Stolen Property
Under Michigan law, It is a crime to “buy, receive, possess, conceal, or aid in the concealment of stolen, embezzled, or converted money, goods, or property.” As for intent, the prosecution will have to show the individual found in possession of stolen property knew or had “reason to know or reason to believe” that the property was stolen. As with other theft crimes, the value of the property will determine whether the offense is charged as a misdemeanor or felony, as well as the potential penalties.
How a Detroit Theft and Property Crimes Attorney Can Help
If you have been accused of a theft or property crime, we welcome you to contact Cripps & Silver now.