A common question when someone is arrested for retail fraud is: “Will I be placed on probation?”. Another common question is: “Can I avoid Jail?”. When a person is arrested there is often a fear of the unknown. “What will happen to me?”. “What will the Judge do?”. Although probation is common for shoplifting, it is not guaranteed.
All retail fraud/shoplifting cases are criminal cases, which means that the Judge always has the discretion to impose jail as a condition of bond or sentence. There are a lot of different factors that can influence what will happen:
- The Defendant’s prior history. Obviously, the worse a person’s prior record the more likely incarceration becomes an option. This is especially true when the prior history also involves shoplifting. When the charge is a Felony (1st Degree Retail Fraud or Organized Retail Fraud), the Defendant’s prior record is a factor in the computation of sentencing guidelines. In Michigan, sentence guidelines are an advisory sentence range for a Judge to consider which is determined by the scoring of prior record and offense related variables. Although sentencing guidelines are advisory, they are influential in terms of how a Judge determines the sentence.