If I got caught shoplifting, what is going to happen and will I go to jail? 5 Answers as of February 16, 2015

I made a dumb idea of trying to get away with a $30 item from a retail store and got caught. The lady told me I will get a fine from the store in the mail and possibly be prosecuted. She told me to call a prosecutor from my city in a week or two and see what happens. This is my first time getting in trouble. My record is clean. I'm 17 years old. What's going to happen? The police were not contacted and I didn't get asked to sign any papers. They took some information and let me leave. And told me it would be best to plead guilty.

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
If you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances, I encourage you to privately consult with a lawyer. The following series of blogposts is for general educational purposes only. Circumstances may vary significantly. If you need specific legal advice, please privately consult with a lawyer. If you are charged with an offense and cannot afford to pay for your own defense, the court may appoint you an attorney payable at the public's expense. You have a right to counsel. Anyone charged, of course, is presumed innocent. The prosecutor would need to prove the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt if the matter proceeded to trial. Simply because a person is charged does not mean that ultimately, they will be convicted. Loss and theft prevention is a big issue for retailers. Stores, especially larger chains, often have advanced surveillance, loss-prevention employees, and train their staff in techniques designed to deter or minimize losses from theft. However, even with all of these measures, theft offenses still cost larger retailers millions of dollars in losses and these cases still comprise a significant portion of a local court's misdemeanor docket. "Retail Fraud, Third Degree", MCL 750.356 (5), is often charged against people who allegedly "shop-lift" merchandise from merchants and retailers when the value of the allegedly stolen merchandise is under $200.00.This offense may also be charged as some variation based on a local municipal ordinance; however, the possible maximum punishments are often similar. This is a misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by up to ninety-three days in jail, "a fine of not more than $500.00 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," MCL 750.356 (5) costs, restitution, probation up to two years, or other sanctions at the court's discretion. In general terms, this particular charge MCL 750.356 (5) is the least severe of the theft offenses. However, it is considered a "crime against dishonesty," and as a theft offense, there are collateral consequences that go well beyond the courts if a person is convicted of this charge. As noted in the Michigan Rules of Evidence, convictions involving a "crime against dishonesty" may be used against someone by an opposing lawyer if they ever testify in another court-proceeding to attack their credibility. A conviction for this type of charge, for example, may also impact a person’s ability to find work in certain fields. A lot of employers, especially those professions involving the financial industry, may be deeply concerned about an applicant or employee if they have this type of conviction on their record. Assistant if convicted, as a misdemeanor, it could stay on a person's record for a long period of time. However, certain people, especially younger alleged offenders between the ages of 17-20 who are interested in potentially pleading guilty may be eligible for diversionary programs such the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (see MCL 762.11-762.16),which, if completed, could keep a conviction from being entered in their public record. Diversionary programs often require probation and generally need to be negotiated through the plea-bargaining process prior to any trials. I'd recommend you retain a lawyer or ask for a lawyer payable at the public's expense.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/16/2015
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
Never plead guilty or agree to anything without first consulting with a lawyer. You may have valid defenses or at the very least, there may be sentencing options (such as diversion programs) that can keep the matter off your public record. Look for an attorney in the area that primarily practices criminal defense and schedule a consultation.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/3/2014
Dennis John Woods, Attorney at Law | Dennis John Woods
It may be that nothing happens. It was fairly minor and the store may just want to scare you. Otherwise, you are in the criminal justice system and you NEVER plead guilty until you have a deal. A deal would be a few hours of community service and then dismissal.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/3/2014
Klisz Law Office, PLLC
Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
Worse advice ever! Do you want a permanent theft conviction on your record? Try getting a job with that. You need to hire local counsel who can make sure it stays off your record.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/3/2014
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
See an attorney, you do not want this on you record, and stop taking legal advice from store security.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/3/2014
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