If I’ve been charged with retail fraud 3, do you think I need a lawyer?

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If I’ve been charged with retail fraud 3, do you think I need a lawyer?

And what do you think the out come might be? I have a clean record and I did pay for the $10 item I took, plus 10 times that amount as the store requested. I have all my paper work for that.

Asked on July 28, 2014 under Criminal Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Retail Fraud is a theft crime (like larceny) requiring proof that the item was taken intentionally (not accidentally), with the intent to steal. If you were charged in the 3rd degree that means the value of the merchandise was under $200, which you confirm here. It is a misdemeanor and you could get up to 93 days in jail and/or $500 fine (or 3x merchandise's value).

In addition to criminal penalties, a shoplifter may also be subject to civil penalties demanded by the store, including the full retail price of unrecovered property or recovered property that is not in salable condition, and civil damages of 10 times the retail price of the property - which you paid - but not less than $50.00 and not more than $200.00. So from what I can tell here you admit you took the item and the store had you pay for it and the civil penalty already.  I would hire a lawyer just in case given the charge and talk about what this will do to your record and your options. 


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