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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    7

    Default Shoplifting Charge in Michigan

    What is the specific law in Michigan regarding Shoplifting or Retail Fraud. I was stopped upon exiting a grocery store with the suspicion of shoplifting. The police report states that I was not seen taking anything but was observed in one aisle with an item in my hand and the observed in the next aisle without it. I was not observed taking anything. When the sheriff arrived and upon my arrest asked the managers which one saw me take the item they said none of them did but went by the observations stated above. I thought the the way the law reads is that the person must be observed picking up the item, following the person and actually witnessing him conceal it. This was not the case. I was stopped at the door and asked what I had. I did not say anything and was subsequently arrested. I feel that the stop was illegal, illegal search and seizure and also false arrest. Does anyone know where I can find the specific law on this. Thank You.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    7

    Default P.S. I have an arraignment Hearing.

    I have an arraignment hearing next week, would I need an attorney for this? Is it possible to have charges dropped before this hearing? Can I bring up any info about the police report at this hearing or is that premature? They only gave me 3 days notice of this hearing.Thanks.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    5

    Default Illegal arrest

    Certainly if they have no evidence on you, than of course it was illegal, but there need not be anything more than probable cause. Now, you don't mention if they searched you and found something that was not paid for. Your argument certainly would be stronger if they did not find anything. They are supposed to ask you if they can search you before they arrest you. I think that would be the only argument you could address. As you know, people who just drive on the freeway in Forida can be stopped on the mere belief that their vehicle looks like a it could carry drugs. There seems to be a lot of loop holes on ciitizens rights at this time, especially since the new Patriot Act came out, they are using it for all types of excuses to invade citizens. It's scary.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Yes, as matter of fact they brought me in the office prior to arrest and found a bottle of shampoo in my coat. They then called the sheriff, guess my argument is, depending on the way the law reads, they had no legal right to detain me, so therefore anything found on my person is an illegal search and seizure. I attempted to remove myself from there custody stating they had no legal right to hold me, which they refused and illegally detained me, I believe. Does anyone know where this law is written and how to get a copy of it?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Arraignment in Michigan

    I suggest you try to speak with a criminal defense lawyer before your arraignment. If you are unable, or can't afford one, you can "stand mute" at the arraignment, which will cause the court to enter a plea of "not guilty", and request a petition for appointment of counsel.

    You can review Michigan statutes online through the Michigan Legislature website.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    7

    Default

    What is the difference if I just plead not guilty verses standing mute and the judge enters it for me? I was looking at the Michigan Leg website and that explains the retail convictions, sentence and fines. What I need to know is at what point anyone can legally detain you or say that you commited this crime? I was under the understanding that the act has to be witnessed.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default

    Quote Quoting Slowhands
    What is the difference if I just plead not guilty verses standing mute and the judge enters it for me?
    There's no practical difference any more. Some people feel more comfortable standing mute, if they intend to later enter into a plea bargain or plead guilty.

    Quote Quoting Slowhands
    I was looking at the Michigan Leg website and that explains the retail convictions, sentence and fines. What I need to know is at what point anyone can legally detain you or say that you commited this crime? I was under the understanding that the act has to be witnessed.
    You're looking for MCL 600.2917:
    Quote Quoting MCL 600.2917 - Liability of library, merchant, agent, or independent contractor for conduct involving person suspected of larceny of goods or library materials, or of violating § 750.356c or § 750.356d; definitions.
    (1) In a civil action against a library or merchant, an agent of the library or merchant, or an independent contractor providing security for the library or merchant for false imprisonment, unlawful arrest, assault, battery, libel, or slander, if the claim arises out of conduct involving a person suspected of removing or of attempting to remove, without right or permission, goods held for sale in a store from the store or library materials from a library, or of violating section 356c or 356d of the Michigan penal code, Act No. 328 of the Public Acts of 1931, being sections 750.356c and 750.356d of the Michigan Compiled Laws, and if the merchant, library, agent, or independent contractor had probable cause for believing and did believe that the plaintiff had committed or aided or abetted in the larceny of goods held for sale in the store, or of library materials, or in the violation of section 356c or 356d of Act No. 328 of the Public Acts of 1931, damages for or resulting from mental anguish or punitive, exemplary, or aggravated damages shall not be allowed a plaintiff, unless it is proved that the merchant, library, agent, or independent contractor used unreasonable force, detained the plaintiff an unreasonable length of time, acted with unreasonable disregard of the plaintiff's rights or sensibilities, or acted with intent to injure the plaintiff.

    (2) As used in this section:

    (a) “Library” includes a public library; a library of an educational, historical, or eleemosynary institution or organization; a museum; an archive; and a repository of public records or historical records, or both.

    (b) “Library material” includes a plate; picture; photograph; engraving; painting; drawing; map; newspaper; book; magazine; pamphlet; broadside; manuscript; document; letter; public record; microfilm; sound recording; audiovisual material; magnetic or other tape; optical storage disc or other recording medium; electronic data processing record; artifact; and other documentary, written, or printed material.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    7

    Default

    So it looks like that they don't have to witness the event just have probable cause? Am I reading this correctly? Is that where the anti theft scanner alarms come in to play. They don't witness but would have probable cause when they alarm in?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Probable Cause and Shoplifting

    They have to have probable cause, based upon the facts and circumstances of the individual case. That analysis will be made on a case-by-case basis.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    7

    Default

    Sounds like Probable Cause can be interpreted in many forms. Looks like a lawyer is really needed here. Thanks. Any more info please feel free to pass on. The definiton of probable cause comes into play here then.

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