Skilled Burglary/Theft Defense Lawyers in the Greater Macomb County Area
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In Michigan, burglary is defined as breaking and entering into a building, dwelling, container or vehicle with the intent to commit a crime once inside. In the simplest of terms, breaking is accomplished when a person uses force, no matter how great or how small, to gain entry into one of the structures described above. As such, entering is accomplished when any part of an individual’s person is placed inside the structure.
Often, individuals presume that the amount of force used to gain entry and/or the length of time he or she spent inside the structure matters greatly. This is a common misconception. In Michigan, neither the amount of force used to gain entry nor the length of time spent inside a structure matter. If a person commits the acts described above, he or she is guilty of the crime of burglary and can face severe penalties including, but not limited to, imprisonment, fines and restitution.
Several examples of typical theft crimes in Michigan are larceny, burglary, embezzlement and retail fraud.
- Larceny: Is the taking and carrying away the tangible personal property of another by trespass with intent to permanently deprive the person of his or her interest in the property. Thus, real estate, services and other intangible "properties" cannot be objects of larceny.
- Burglary: Is illegally breaking into someone else's property with a plan or intention of committing a crime once inside. The seriousness of the crime can depend on when and where the crime occurred, whether or not people were present when the crime was committed and the use (or non-use) of a weapon.
- Embezzlement: Is a theft crime carried out by employees who are familiar with their employer’s business practices and exploit that knowledge to illegally take money from the business. The significant difference between embezzlement and other theft crimes is that embezzled property is legally possessed or accessed by the person doing the embezzling.
- Retail Fraud: Commonly referred as “shoplifting,” occurs when a person, or persons acting in concert, either physically remove merchandise from a store or alter the sale price of the merchandise in an attempt to defraud the retailer. Michigan has three degrees of retail fraud:
- First-Degree Retail Fraud is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. A person can be charged with first degree retail fraud in Michigan if the value of the merchandise stolen is over $1000.00 dollars or the person has a prior conviction for retail fraud.
- Second-Degree Retail Fraud is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail plus fines and costs. It is properly charged where a person is accused of stealing merchandise valued at more than $200.00 but less than $1000.00. The law is set forth at MCL 750.356d.
- Third-Degree Retail Fraud is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 93 days in jail plus fines and costs. It is properly charged where the merchandise allegedly stolen is valued at less than $200. The law is set forth at MCL 750.356d.
Retail fraud is a serious crime and can have long-term repercussions for a person’s employment and eligibility for student loans. Many businesses have written policies preventing the hiring of employees with a criminal history involving theft or dishonesty. The current law states that any person convicted of felony retail fraud is ineligible to receive federally guaranteed student loans.