A Guide to Retail Fraud in Troy, Michigan
The City of Troy in Michigan is widely known as Michigan's upscale retail area with many high-end, luxury stores. For lawyers, this area is also known for the aggressive and zealous prosecution of those accused, sometimes falsely, of retail fraud. Retail fraud is commonly known as "shoplifting."
The Police and Prosecutor in Troy, MichiganThe prosecutor and the police department are extremely motivated when it comes to the prosecution of Retail Fraud charges. The retail establishments are vital to Troy as they produce tremendous revenue and help to keep the city prosperous. Moreover, the retail establishments expect and demand this type of action from their city government against stealing. Unfortunately, the aggressive investigation and prosecution of retail fraud charges will sometimes result in an innocent person being falsely accused or the exaggeration of allegations.
What is Retail Fraud?Retail Fraud has three classifications and it is dependent upon the value of the item(s) stolen or whether you have been convicted of stealing in your past.
FIRST DEGREE (FELONY) - First-degree Retail Fraud is the offense with the highest punishment. This charge indicates that the item of value was $1000 or more. This crime is a felony, and the penalty could result in a maximum of five years in prison. Another reason that you could be charged with first-degree Retail Fraud is because you've had a prior conviction and the new charge alleges that you stole an item valued at $200 or more. This could label you as a habitual offender and the possibility of a higher fine.
SECOND DEGREE (MISDEMEANOR) - Second-degree Retail Fraud indicates that the item of value was at least $200 but less than $1000. Because this crime is a misdemeanor, the penalty could result in a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of up to $2000. If you've had a prior Retail Fraud conviction, the prosecutor could still charge you with second-degree even if the value of the merchandise was under $200.
THIRD DEGREE (MISDEMEANOR) - Third-degree Retail Fraud indicates that the item of value was under $200. Due to this crime being a misdemeanor, the penalty could result in a maximum of 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Direct and Indirect Consequences of Retail Fraud in TroyA Retail Fraud charge will affect you for the rest of your life and even more so if there is more than one offense on your record. The punishment for this crime doesn't just end with the court. In fact, the damage from indirect consequences often far exceeds whatever punishment the judge imposes. Retail fraud is viewed as a crime of dishonesty and future employers, educational institutions, banks and more will look closely at these convictions. Those individuals with a professional license may have to go through separate disciplinary procedures or even face sanctions or the loss of a license. A retail fraud can be used against you if you are ever involved in a lawsuit, in a divorce or even in a custody battle.
Retail Fraud and Immigration Consequences - Crimes Involving Moral TurpitudeUnder federal immigration law, a retail fraud is considered a crime involving moral turpitude. This is true even for a first offense misdemeanor. A "Crime Involving Moral Turpitude" (CIMT) often causes major immigration problems. A noncitizen is inadmissible to the U.S. if he is convicted of, or admits to committing, one retail fraud, unless he qualifies for:
(1) the petty offense exception, where the person committed only one retail fraud ever and the potential sentence was a year or less. Additionally, the actual sentence imposed must have been six months or less; or
(2) the youthful offender exception, where the person committed a single retail fraud while under age 18, and at least five years have passed since the conviction and release from jail (if any).
Most people, even lawyers, fail to understand that a "conviction" for immigration purposes occurs if the alien admits guilt in court, regardless of whether there is a formal retail fraud conviction is entered into the record.
A noncitizen is deportable if convicted of a retail fraud, committed within five years after the date of his admission to the U.S. The maximum sentence possible is the determining factor and a possible sentence of a year or more is more problematic. A noncitizen is deportable for two or more convictions for crimes involving moral turpitude that occur any time after admission to the U.S. on any visa, or after adjustment of status.
To be admitted to the U.S. as a permanent resident or to prevent removal from the U.S. as a result of a retail fraud, the person must qualify for certain relief, such as a 212(h) waiver in conjunction with adjustment to lawful permanent resident status.
In addition, any criminal record can make it much harder for you receive naturalization. A retail fraud conviction can make it harder for you to establish "good moral character" and easier for USCIS to deny your naturalization application.
What to do if you are charged or accused of retail fraud in Troy, MichiganIf you are accused of or charged with retail fraud in Troy, you need to understand the seriousness of the offense. Self-representation in court on these charges is a major mistake and should not even be considered. The importance of a good criminal defense lawyer cannot be understated. In the 52-4 District Court in Troy, you have two options for lawyers. If you cannot afford to retain a lawyer, the court will appoint an attorney to represent you at government expense. You also have the option of hiring a lawyer of your choosing. The advantage of hiring a lawyer is that you will get the benefit of meeting the attorney before court and preparing. You can also personally evaluate the lawyer's reputation, track-record, and familiarity with the court.
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