First Time Shoplifting in Sterling Heights and Clinton Township

You shoplifted for the first time. You stole something and broke the law. It was a mistake. A lapse in judgment due to immaturity or financial hardship. You are scared and nervous. Shoplifting is a crime, and all criminal charges carry potential jail time.

Take a deep breath, everything will be ok.

Shoplifting (or its legal name, retail fraud) happens when you take something from a store without paying for it. You don't have to even leave the store to be charged with shoplifting. Shoplifting can occur if you switch price tags on an item or try to purchase an item when scanning another item of lessor value.

First Time Shoplifting penalties in Sterling Heights and Clinton Township

If you shoplifted for the first-time, and the value of the items taken was under $200, you will likely find yourself on probation, attending a class and paying a fine.

A first-time shoplifting offense where the value of the merchandise taken is under $200 is called Retail Fraud 3rd degree. The law says you can serve up to 93 days in jail, pay a fine of $500, be put on probation, and pay up to three times the value of the merchandise taken.

The store (or its attorneys) will also send you a letter advising that you must pay the store $200 as an additional civil penalty, separate from what the Judge orders you to pay.

Second or Third Shoplifting charge in Sterling Heights and Clinton Township

Second or third shoplifting charges in Sterling Heights, Clinton Township and throughout Macomb County can carry strict penalties.

A second shoplifting offense, or taking merchandise that is valued between $200 - $1,000, is called Retail Fraud 2nd degree. You can serve up to 1 year in jail, pay a fine of up to $2,000, be put on probation, and pay up to three times the value of the merchandise taken.

A third shoplifting offense, or taking merchandise that is valued at more than $1,000, is called Retail Fraud 1st degree. This is a very serious felony charge. You can serve up to 5 years in prison, pay a fine of $10,000, and pay up to three times the value of the merchandise taken.

You Need an Attorney for a First Time Shoplifting Charge

You made a poor decision to shoplift. You are caught, perhaps admitted you stole, and the store likely has you on camera. Your decision could result in jail and/or probation. Your scared. That's normal.

The next decision you make is an important one. Do you represent yourself or hire an attorney? Attorneys are expensive, but absolutely necessary.

When you hire an attorney, you send a message to the court that you are taking the matter very seriously, and now making responsible decisions. Your attorney should be reviewing your case, explaining the law and preparing you for court. How to appear, where to stand, what to say, what not to say, and having documents and describing for the court your best qualities: education, community/church involvement, family support, employment and family responsibilities.

You can call me, Nick Daniels, directly at 586-668-1229 and consult with me for free about your first (and last) shoplifting experience.