A charge of retail fraud can have lasting consequences on a person’s life. In some circumstances a conviction for retail fraud may result in any of the following: loss of employment; licensing issues for professionals; immigration consequences for persons that are not United States citizens; trouble with traveling to foreign countries due to visa issues; damage to reputation; etc.. When placed on probation for retail fraud, there are potential consequences for being on probation, including: incarceration; financial issues (payment of fines, court costs, restitution, crime victim’s rights fees, cost of drug/alcohol testing; cost of counseling); loss of rights/privileges; inability to travel out of state; loss of days of work due to court related issues; fear; stress; etc.
In some instances the case is defensible, and you need a great lawyer to fight for you.
In some instances the case is not defensible, and you need a great lawyer to help you make the best out of a bad situation.
One potential way to reduce the negative consequences is by the plea bargaining process. A plea bargain is essentially an agreement with the prosecution to dismiss or reduce a charge or charges in exchange for a guilty or no contest plea. Different prosecutors have different policies when it comes to the plea bargaining process. There are some prosecutors that will not offer plea bargains. There are other prosecutors that will offer plea bargains. The prosecutors that offer plea bargains may be selective in deciding who gets a plea bargain and who does not get a plea bargain. Factors that a prosecutor may consider in determining whether or not to offer a plea bargain include: the Defendant’s prior record; whether or not an injury occurred to a police officer or loss prevention officer; whether or not the Defendant was cooperative or not when he or she was arrested; whether or not the restitution (if any) can or will be repaid by the Defendant; how winnable is the prosecutor’s case?; etc.
A plea bargain may be beneficial for a few reasons: the plea might be to a non-theft related offense that may be better for future employment issues and immigration related issues. A plea bargain avoids the stress and cost of going to trial. A plea bargain may include some form of diversion, such as the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA).
A diversion program, if you are eligible, may make sense to your situation. A diversion program is a means by which a criminal conviction is avoided or kept as a non public record if the terms and conditions of the program are complied with. It is important to know that not all prosecutor offices and/or courts offer diversion programs. A diversion program that is available in every Michigan state court is the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA), however HYTA only applies to persons under 24 years of age. The granting of HYTA, if the person qualifies, is discretionary with the Judge. Diversion programs that require a guilty or no contest plea are also considered as convictions for immigration law related purposes. If you are not a United States citizen, you should consult with an immigration lawyer before resolving any criminal case.
Another possible option is a sentence agreement with the Court. Some courts will do sentencing agreements – others will not. Some prosecutors will not allow for a sentencing agreement if a plea bargain is already given. A sentencing agreement is sometimes the best way to ensure that a jail sentence is not imposed or that HYTA status is granted.
In all instances when you are charged with a crime it is important to immediately engage the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. How can an experienced lawyer help?
- an experienced lawyer may be able to arrange for a reasonable bond, or argue for a low bond when the bond amount is too high;
- an experienced lawyer will obtain all of the necessary discovery materials needed to properly defend the case (police reports; in store videos; loss prevention reports; witness statements; etc.);
- an experienced lawyer will look at the case for any weaknesses, inconsistencies, or flaws to provide you with the best possible defense;
- an experienced lawyer will provide a stellar defense at trial;
- an experienced lawyer, when appropriate and available, will negotiate plea bargains and sentencing agreements to help minimize the potential consequences of the case;
- an experienced lawyer will answer your questions and give you the confidence that your case is going to be handled in the best possible manner;
- an experienced lawyer will be prepared at all court dates, and ready to address any situation that may arise.
For retail fraud cases in the metro Detroit lawyer, the recommended lawyer is attorney Daniel Hilf of Hilf & Hilf, PLC. He is extremely knowledgable, experienced, and effective when it comes to the defense of all shoplifting related allegations. His telephone number is 248-792-2590, and he is located at 1775 W. Big Beaver Road in the city of Troy, Michigan 48084.