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The consequences and penalties of a Michigan theft charge will depend on the seriousness of the crime, but overall can be quite extensive. The more serious the crime is, as it relates to the potential danger that other people are placed in or the amount of the property taken, the more serious the consequences of a conviction. More money at stake and more danger or fear induced means more time in jail.
With this attitude in mind, if you are facing penalties for a Michigan theft charge, it is important to contact an experienced theft attorney who can work hard to build a defense for your case to mitigate potential penalties.Determining Penalties
The prosecution will ask a number of questions to determine the circumstances of the case and therefore the extent of potential penalties. These questions may include:
- What is the value of the stolen property, in dollars?
- Where was the property taken from?
- Was it taken from a vacant building, or was it taken from a building where somebody was present?
- Was it taken by force from the person of another through assault?
- Did the accused party threaten a victim with harm using a weapon?
In Michigan, a misdemeanor theft charge can be punishable by no more than a year in jail. If the crime is punishable by more than a year, it is by definition not a misdemeanor, it becomes a felony. Most misdemeanors, however, are punishable by up to 93 days in jail.Felony Charges
Most felony crimes in Michigan start with a punishment of five years, but there are some low-level felonies which are punishable by two years. A person who is convicted of the most serious theft crimes, including those involving the harm, assault, or even death of another person, could be facing life in prison.Reduced Sentencing
Many times, without a prior criminal record, a person may be eligible for what the court would consider a probationary sentence. Reduced sentence options might also be available for a person depending on their age and prior record, and an attorney can pursue alternatives to incarceration. Successfully obtaining a reduced sentence requires the work of a lawyer who has taken the time to get to know their client and can demonstrate to the court the accused person is not the typical offender in some way.
Depending on a person's age and prior history, they may be eligible for suppression of their record, such as with HYTA (Holmes Youthful Trainee Act). Depending on the court other types of advisement may be possible or applicable.
A criminal attorney should work to paint the best possible picture of their client to the court, and demonstrate how their conduct after being arrested was responsible and therefore merited a reduced sentence from the penalties they face for Michigan theft charges. An experienced lawyer will know how to individualize their client's case so the court gives them the best possible sentence, and there are many things that they can sometimes start to do well before sentencing to put them in the best possible light at sentencing.Contacting an Attorney
An attorney supports their client by protecting them from the police and their investigation, putting a stop to questioning and examining their methods of investigation. They can also help their client comply with all the terms and conditions of their bond and eventually their sentencing, such as those applicable to probation.
When you have been charged with theft and are facing penalties in Michigan, it is very helpful to have an experienced attorney by your side.