Retail Fraud – First Degree

Retail Fraud is commonly referred to as ‘shoplifting.’ The charge involves stealing or attempting to steal items offered for sale by a store. It can also be charged in situations where the price of an item is altered with the intent to pay less than the marked price. As described below, Retail Fraud can be charged as a 93 day misdemeanor, a 1 year misdemeanor, or a 5 year felony depending upon the specific facts and background of the case and the accused.

For many people, shoplifting is a one time mistake and the embarrassment of being caught is more than enough punishment. People in this type of situation often make the mistake of going to court and pleading guilty because they want “the whole thing done and over with as soon as possible.” While that is certainly an understandable sentiment, it may leave you with a conviction for a crime involving theft. Such a conviction could impact your future.

Michigan Penal Code

750.356c Retail fraud in first degree.

(1) A person who does any of the following in a store or in its immediate vicinity is guilty of retail fraud in the first degree, a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00 or 3 times the value of the difference in price, property stolen, or money or property obtained or attempted to be obtained, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine:

(a) While a store is open to the public, alters, transfers, removes and replaces, conceals, or otherwise misrepresents the price at which property is offered for sale, with the intent not to pay for the property or to pay less than the price at which the property is offered for sale, if the resulting difference in price is $1,000.00 or more.

(b) While a store is open to the public, steals property of the store that is offered for sale at a price of $1,000.00 or more.

(c) With intent to defraud, obtains or attempts to obtain money or property from the store as a refund or exchange for property that was not paid for and belongs to the store, if the amount of money or the value of the property obtained or attempted to be obtained is $1,000.00 or more.

(2) A person who violates section 356d(1) and who has 1 or more prior convictions for committing or attempting to commit an offense under this section or section 218, 356, 356d(1), or 360 is guilty of retail fraud in the first degree. For purposes of this subsection, however, a prior conviction does not include a conviction for a violation or attempted violation of section 218(2) or (3)(b) or section 356(4)(b) or (5).

(3) The values of the difference in price, property stolen, or money or property obtained or attempted to be obtained in separate incidents pursuant to a scheme or course of conduct within any 12-month period may be aggregated to determine the total value involved in the offense under this section.