Retail Fraud / Shoplifting

Retail Fraud — commonly known as shoplifting — is a crime in every state in the U.S. Many businesses perceive this crime to be increasing and have become more aggressive in their enforcement by using in-store detectives or loss prevention employees.  hands in handcuffs Grand Rapids Criminal Attorney

Retailers’ Rights to Detain Suspected Shoplifters

Due to the financial losses suffered by retail establishments because of shoplifting, many retail stores hire undercover security staff or install cameras in strategic locations throughout the stores to watch for shoplifters. Under Michigan law, retailers have the right to detain anyone committing retail fraud in their stores. They usually do this by approaching the person, confronting them and demanding that the suspect accompany them to a private office while the police are called.

Typically, once a person has been found shoplifting, he is taken to a private area away from the main store area for detention while the police are called, which also gives the offender the opportunity to call a shoplifting defense attorney. If the shoplifter is a minor, his parents are often called. Once the police arrive, the suspected shoplifter is often read his rights, searched, and arrested.

Misdemeanor Shoplifting

Shoplifting is a crime that can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the value of the item stolen and the shoplifter’s history. A shoplifter can be charged with misdemeanor if the value of the items stolen is less than $200.

Felony Shoplifting

Shoplifters can be charged with felony if the value of the item stolen is more than $1,000 or if the person has a history of retail fraud. Additionally, there are felony charges for groups of people engaged in “organized” retail fraud.

Holmes Youthful Trainee Act

The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act applies to youthful offenders aged between 17 and 24 years. The result of this act is that the court does not enter judgments of convictions for youthful offenders, seals the record, and dismisses the case upon compliance.

In Michigan, offenders aged 17 years and older are charged as adults for criminal offenses. However, the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act gives youthful offenders the chance to keep criminal offenses off their records. This law does not apply to juvenile offenders under the age of 17 and offenders above the age of 24. The main benefit of the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act is that it helps youthful offenders avoid the stigma and label of a criminal conviction.

Youthful offenders who seek the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act are required, through their Michigan criminal defense attorney, to plead guilty to their offenses before they can be considered for HYTA pleas. Once a person has been accepted into the HYTA status, his record is sealed and kept away from public view unless he violates the HYTA status.

How does someone get HYTA status?

HYTA status is not guaranteed for all youthful offenders. The judge may decide to accept or reject HYTA status at his/her discretion. HYTA can be obtained by a Michigan criminal defense attorney through negotiation with a prosecutor and by petitioning the court to accept the same. Since the judge may reject HYTA, it is important to retain a Michigan criminal defense attorney to help maximize your chances of receiving HYTA status.

Shoplifting is crime that could result in fines and jail time. If you’ve been charged with retail fraud or shoplifting, give us a call to discuss your case. 616-773-2945