Theft

Articles Posted in Theft

Science and technology play an increasingly important role in our society. Over recent decades, advancements in these areas have been incorporated into the Michigan criminal justice system, with the advent of DNA evidence and other new scientific evidence. While, in theory, reliance on new types of evidence can help the fair administration of justice, too often, these new developments are used solely to obtain convictions, rather than to ensure a fair process for those facing serious crimes. A recent example of the fallibility of new types of evidence is discussed in a New York Times article. The article details the...
If you are arrested for shoplifting, it is important to learn more about the criminal charges you are facing and to seek help from a Michigan retail fraud defense lawyer as soon as you can. We often assist individuals who are facing shoplifting charges, and we want to walk you through some of the most important steps to take after being arrested in Michigan. Understand the Charges You are Facing If you are caught shoplifting in Michigan, you will likely be facing retail fraud charges (MCL 750.356c). Depending upon the value of the item you allegedly stole or attempted to...
Interviewer: Do you think that there is some sort of empathy or some sort of understanding when it comes to a judge and perhaps a jury when it comes to someone’s reasoning behind stealing or are they always demonized? Paul Tafelski: Generally, there is no understanding and there is no empathy and that they will simply look at you like a bad person and a thief. Most judges are smart people who will somewhat listen to what is presented to them if it’s done in a way that is more than just talk. That’s what we try to do in...
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Interviewer: Is there ever a look back period where the new theft charge is treated like a first one again? Paul Tafelski: Typically it just depends upon the crime.  For being habitualized, if you have a gap of 10 years with no priors, then they won’t count an offense as a second offense or more.  Otherwise, it’s kind of up to the prosecutor how to charge that crime as to whether or not to consider the priors to enhance the seriousness of the offense or no. But usually, unless you get an expungement of your record so that the prior...
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Interviewer: What’s going to happen to someone’s life; what can a theft charge prevent someone from doing? Paul Tafelski: One of the most important things that people have to remember with these criminal convictions is that whether they’re misdemeanors or felonies, they go into the computer and circulate around the world and follow you more than they ever did in the past. Any kind of conviction is something to think about and what I’ve seen is that theft convictions are often more troublesome for people than convictions for things such as drunk driving.  The reason is that when people go...
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Interviewer: How long would shoplifting-related cases typically take or how long could they potentially take? Paul Tafelski: That all depends on whether or not there is some angle for us to fight the case.  If there is, then we have to go to trial and that takes longer but if it’s a situation where we’re trying to do damage control, those cases can start and finish within six weeks or so. Sometimes, we want to slow it down because we want the opportunity to demonstrate something to the court in order to prove that our client is a positive person...
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Interviewer: What’s the difference between robbery vs. burglary? Paul Tafelski: The difference is robbery involves an element of force and an element of threat; whereas burglary can be more- sneaking around and doing stuff “in the dark” so to speak. The Penalties for Robbery are Harsher as It Involves an Element of Violence or Threatened Violence Interviewer: Which one has harsher penalties? Paul Tafelski: Typically robbery is going to be more harshly punished because it’s a crime that involves sort of an assault in nature, along with a theft aspect. It’s kind of a double whammy in the criminal justice...
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Interviewer: When it comes to theft in general, what are some of the top misconceptions people have that you had to deal with? Paul Tafelski: The biggest misconception is that the person accused of theft always steals and that he may always lie, and gets painted with a broad brush. Many times, these are just isolated incidents where things happen out of character, in particular when related to a stressful event or use of alcohol or drugs. They do stuff that’s really not who they are. So one of the biggest challenges is to present people in a positive light...
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Interviewer: When they refer to theft of lost property, lost property, what do they mean first of all by that just to analyze the words because some of it doesn’t make sense to me? Paul Tafelski: That gets a lot more tricky but, for example, it might be a situation where somebody lost their wallet and it has all their identification in it. It’s easy for whoever picks it up to see whose wallet it is, who it belongs to and everything else.  Then, if you took all the money or used the credit card, you still would be stealing...
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A new law designed to crack down on organized retail crime in Michigan has taken effect. The measure makes it a felony to wrongfully take retail merchandise with the intent to resell, distribute or transfer it to another retailer or seller. Penalties include up to five years in prison. The bill also covers use of the mail or any electronic medium such as the Internet in such an enterprise. Organized retail crime is responsible for a large and growing share of the estimated $15–30 billion in annual retail theft nationwide. “We’re not talking about conventional shoplifters, we’re talking about sophisticated rings of...
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