Armed Robbery

Armed Robbery

Lansing Michigan Robbery Defense Attorney

Armed robbery is a capital offense under Michigan law, meaning it carries a potential life sentence. It has life altering consequences and you are guaranteed a prison sentence, even if it is your first offense. If an aggravated assault occurred during the commission of the robbery, there is a minimum two-year prison sentence.  If you have a prior felony record or a firearm was used during the commission of the robbery, it only gets worse.

Armed robbery is defined under MCL 750.529 as possessing a dangerous weapon or an article used or fashioned in a manner leading any person present to reasonably believe it is a dangerous weapon or orally or otherwise represents that he is in possession of a dangerous weapon during the commission of a larceny.

What the Prosecutor Must Prove

  • Defendant used force or violence that placed the victim in fear
  • Defendant did so while committing a larceny (taking money or property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner)
  • Victim was present during the course of the larceny
  • Defendant possessed a dangerous weapon or object used in a fashion or manner of a dangerous weapon or orally or otherwise represented that he was in possession of a dangerous weapon (Note: Defendant does not actually need to have a weapon– mere implication is enough, i.e. finger in the pocket trick)

Felony Firearm

If a firearm was the weapon used during the course of the armed robbery, an additional charge of felony firearm can be added.

Penalties

The maximum penalty for armed robbery is life or any term of years. If an aggravated assaulted or a serious injury was inflicted during the armed robbery, there is a minimum sentence of two years that is imposed.

Unarmed Robbery

Unarmed Robbery has the same elements of armed robbery but without the requirement of a dangerous weapon or the implication of a dangerous weapon. In other words, it is when someone uses force or violence during the course of a larceny while the victim was present. It carries a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in prison. Unarmed robbery is frequently used as a plea reduction in armed robbery cases.

Unarmed Shoplifting!

Recent caselaw permits prosecutors to charge shoplifters with unarmed or even armed robbery in certain cases. If a struggle ensues between a shoplifter and a loss prevention officer, a minor misdemeanor can easily escalate into a serious felony. If a weapon was found on your person and they believe you were attempting to use it during the struggle, you could find yourself facing life behind bars—for retail fraud! Yes, it does happen. Not only has a bad situation become worse (much worse), but now the prosecutor can give themselves more bargaining which makes it easier to scare defendants into taking pleas. That is how retail fraud or shoplifting can become a capital offense.

Carjacking

Carjacking is another type of robbery offense. Essentially, it has the same elements of unarmed robbery but instead of it occurring during the course of committing a larceny, it occurs during the course of committing larceny of a motor vehicle. In other words, someone uses force or violence to take someone else’s car, while they are present, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner. The victim must be the operator, passenger, or someone in lawful possession of the car. Like armed robbery, it has a maximum penalty of life in prison or any term of years.

Being charged with any type of robbery offense has drastic consequences that could forever alter your life, future, and the lives of those around you. If you have been charged with armed robbery, unarmed robbery, or carjacking, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Many robbery cases hinge on witness identification. Human memory can be very faulty and police lineups can be very suggestive and can lead to false identifications. Often they depend on circumstantial evidence recovered from the scene.

If charged, you need an attorney with experience defending robbery charges to protect your rights, prevent unreliable and false evidence convicting you, and to get the best possible outcome. Each case is different with its own unique facts. Call Austin Legal Services, PLC at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan robbery defense lawyer today!

Defending robbery and carjacking charges throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Jackson, Livingston, Washtenaw, Barry, Shiawassee, Kent in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, Ithaca, St. Johns, Jackson, Brighton, Howell, Ann Arbor, Hastings, Grand Rapids, Corunna, Durand.

Larceny

Larceny
Lansing Michigan Larceny Defense Lawyer 

 

Under Michigan law there are numerous larceny charges ranging from misdemeanor to felony depending on the value of the property taken, where it was taken, and if the defendant has any prior larceny convictions. In general, larceny is unlawfully taking something from someone else. It is a specific intent crime in that the defendant has to intend to take the property of someone else and intend on never giving it back, or permanently depriving the owner. Penalties include hefty fines, restitution, probation, jail, or even prison. If you have been accused of larceny, you need to be represented by an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney.

 

Definition of Larceny

 

A person commits larceny by stealing any of the following property of another person:

 

  • money, goods, or chattels
  • bank note, bank bill, promissory note, due bill, bill of exchange, or another bill, draft, order, or certificate
  • book of accounts for or concerning money or goods due, to become due, or to be delivered
  • deed or writing containing a conveyance of land or other valuable contract in force
  • receipt, release, or deference
  • writ, process, or public record
  • non ferrous meal

 

Larceny Charges

 

Larceny Less than $200

 

If the property taken is less than $200, defendant is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail and/or $500 in fines or three times the value of the property, whichever is greater

 

Larceny $200-1,000

 

If the property taken is valued between $200-1,000 or if defendant has one prior conviction for Larceny less than $200, defendant is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or $2,000 in fines or three times the value of the property, whichever is greater

 

Larceny $1,000-20,000

 

If the property taken is valude between $1,000-20,000 or if defendant has one or more prioer convictions for Larceny $200-1,000, defendant is guilty of a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines or three times the value of the property, whichever is greater.

 

Larceny $20,000 or Greater

 

If the property taken is valued at over $20,000 or if defendant has two or more convictions for Larceny $1,000-20,000, defendant is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or $15,000 in fines or three times the value of the property, whichever is greater.

 

Larceny from a Motor Vehicle

 

If someone steals, unlawfully removes, or takes away any wheel, tire, airbag, catayltic converter, radio, stereo, clock, phone, computer, or other electronic device in any motor vehicle, house, trailer, or semi trailer, they are guilty of a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines. Also, if the defendant breaks, cuts, tears, or otherwise damages any part of the motor vehicle, defendant is guilty of a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines.

 

If items are taken from the motor vehicle other than those listed, the degree of the crime depends on the value of the property.

 

If the value of the property taken is less than $200, it is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail and/or $500 in fines or three times the value of the property, whichever is greater.

 

If the value of the property taken is between $200-1,000 or defendant has a prior conviction for Larceny from a Motor Vehicle less than $200, it is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or $2,000 in fines or three times the value of the property, whichever is greater.

 

If the value of the property taken is between $1,000-20,000  or defendant has one or more prior convictions for Larceny from a Motor Vehicle $200-1,000, it is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines or three times the value of the property, whichever is greater.

 

If the value of the property taken is greater than $20,000 or defendant has two or more prior convictions for Larceny from a Motor Vehicle $1,000-20,000, defendant is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines or three times the value of the property, whichever is greater.

 

Larceny from a Person

 

This is larceny by stealing directly from the person of another. It is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

 

Larceny in a Building

 

This is stealing in a dwelling house, house trailer, office, store, gasoline service station, shop, warehouse, mill, factory, hotel, school, barn, granary, ship, boat, vessel, church, house of worship, locker room, or any other public building. There is no specific value required for the taken property; the property just has to have some value.  It is different from Home Invasion in that the defendant was lawfully permitted or was given consent to be in the building. Also, larceny in a building can take place in any kind of building and not limited to just a dwelling.

 

This is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

 

Aggregate the Values

 

If property was taken over the course of a 12-month period as part of a scheme or course of conduct, the value of the property may be aggregaged to determine the entire amount of the property that was stolen.

 

Defenses to Larceny

 

  • No intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property
  • Defendant believed he had consent to take the property
  • Defendant believed the property belonged to him
  • Property was not owned by the victim

 

It is up to the prosecutor to prove that the property in question existed, the value of the property or that it had value, and that it was taken by the defendant. Larceny cases are often very circumstantial. A larceny conviction can be very costly in terms of fines, costs, resitution, and jail or prison. It can also have collateral consequences such as preventing you from ever working in professions where you would be overseeing people’s property or money. Even retailers are hesitant to hire anyone with a conviction for a crime involving theft or dishonesty, even if it is a misdemeanor. You may qualify for a diversion progream which could keep the matter off your public record. An experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer will be able to explain your options and likely outcomes after thoroughly reviewing your case.

 

If you or someone you know has been charged with a larceny offense, call Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan larceny defense lawyer.

 

Defending larceny charges throughout Michigan in the counties of: Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Jackson, Shiawassee, Washtenaw, Livingston, Barry, Kent, Gratiot in the cities of: Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Okemos, Haslett, Bath, St. Johns, Charlotte, Jackson, Corunna, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Brighton, Howell, Ithaca. 

Home Invasion

Home Invasion 1 Lansing Michigan Home Invasion Defense Attorney

 

Home Invasion is a very serious criminal charge that carries severe penalties. Even for first offenders, prison is not uncommon. If you have been charged with home invasion, you need to be represented by an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney.

 

Home Invasion involves the breaking and entering or entering of a dwelling and is divided into three degrees The first degree is the most severe and third degree is the least severe. Here are a list of the degrees and what the prosecutor must prove.

 

First Degree Home Invasion

 

Breaking and entering or entering with the intent to commit or actually did commit a felony, larceny, or assault and the defendant was either armed with a dangerous weapon and/or a person was lawfully present in the dwelling.

 

This is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $5,000 in fines.

 

Consecutive Sentencing– the court may impose consecutive sentencing meaning you would have to first serve your sentence for any other crime or crimes you were convicted of during the home invasion before serving your sentence on the home invasion charge.

 

Second Degree Home Invasion

 

Breaking and entering  or entering of a dwelling with the intent to commit a felony, larceny, or assault or actually did commit a felony, larceny, or assault.

 

This is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and $3,000 in fines.

 

Third Degree Home Invasion

 

Breaking and entering  or entering of a dwelling with the intent to commit a misdemeanor or actually did commit a misdemeanor.

 

Breaking and entering of a dwelling as a violation of probation, parole, bond condition, or pretrial release order to protect a named person(s).

 

This is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and $2,000 in fines.

 

Breaking and Entering Defined

 

Breaking– applying any force, however slight, to the home such as the door or window to gain entry. Even barely pushing open the door or merely raising the window is enough.

 

Entering– any part of your body that crosses the plane into the home. The entire body is not needed. Just passing your arm through the window is sufficient.

 

Home Defined

 

A home, or dwelling is a structure or shelter that is used temporarily or permanently as a place to live. This includes an appurtenant structure that is attached to the structure or shelter such as a loft over a restaurant.

 

Other Ways to be Charged– Accomplice and Co-conspirator liability

 

Even though you may not actually partake in the home invasion, you can still be charged and suffer the same penalties. If you act as an accomplice or as a co-conspirator, you will be charged with the same offense. For example, you can be charged with home invasion under the accomplice or conspirator theory by acting as a “lookout” during the robbery. If you plan with someone before the home invasion occurs and help them get tools to perform the job, you can be charged as a conspirator. Just because you weren’t there and got caught with the rest of them, doesn’t mean you are off the hook.

 

Michigan prosecutors treat home invasion very seriously. A conviction can have a devastating impact on your future and career. You need an attorney with experience in handling serious felony cases who is invested in the outcome to get you the best possible result. Call Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan home invasion attorney.

 

Representing robbery and home invasion clients throughout Michigan in the counties of: Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Jackson, Barry, Livingston, Shiawassee, Washtenaw, Kent, and Gratiot in the cities of: Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, St. Johns, Bath, Jackson, Hastings, Brighton, Howell, Corunna, Durand, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Ithaca.

 

 

 

                                                                                               

 

 

Fraudulent Use of a Financial Transaction Device (Credit Card Fraud)

 

 

Credit Card Fraud

 

Fraudulent use of a financial transaction device (more commonly known as “credit card fraud”) is a serious charge with harsh penalties. If you have been charged with this offense or under investigation, you need the representation of an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney who can help you avoid jail, reduce the charges, or get the matter dismissed.

What Must the Prosecutor Prove for Credit Card Fraud and What are the Penalties

While it is commonly referred to as credit card fraud, the charge under MCL 750.157n actually involves all financial transaction cards including credit, debit, and gift cards. It is a theft crime which carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison, plus fines, court costs, and restitution.

To be convicted of the offense, the prosecution will have to prove that you possessed, used, sold, or altered a financial transaction device with the intent of fraudulently obtaining money, refunds, or credit for goods or services. Simply being in possession of an account number or personal identification number (PIN) can be enough to get you charged and convicted.

Defenses

The crux of these cases often hinge upon the “knowing” and “intent” elements. It is often indisputable that the accused was in possession of or used the credit card in question. The big hurdle for the prosecutor to overcome is can he prove that the accused “knowingly” possessed the credit card with the “intent” to somehow defraud the card holder. Absent a confession, this usually has to be inferred from circumstantial evidence. A common defense is that the accused had permission or believed he had permission to use the card either through conversations or past occurrences. It is not uncommon for the accused to be facing criminal charges based on a genuine misunderstanding or because a spiteful partner in a dating relationship gone sour decided to to extract revenge by falsely reporting a card stolen or falsely telling police that that the accused did not have their permission to use the card. 

 

Lesser Offenses

There are some lesser offenses under this statute, although, they are not as commonly charged.

Revoked or Canceled Financial Transaction Device

If the amount of money, good, or services that were fraudulently obtained is less than $100, it is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail and/or $500 in fines. If the accused has one or more prior conviction for this offense, the maximum punishment is elevated to up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines.

If the amount of money, good, or services that were fraudulently obtained is between $100-500 and it is a first or second offense, it is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail plus $1,000 in fines or three times the value of the defrauded amount, whichever is greater. If the accused has two or more prior convictions for this offense, the maximum punishment is elevated to a high court misdemeanor of up to two years in prison or $2,000 in fines.

If the amount of money, good, or services that were fraudulently obtained is greater than $500, it is a high court misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison and $2,000 in fines or three times the value of the defrauded amount, whichever is greater.

Note: the value of the property pursuant to a scheme or course of conduct during 12-month period may be aggregated to determine the total value. 

Sales to or Services Performed for Violators

If the accused knowingly sales or delivers goods or renders service to a person knowing that he is committing credit card fraud, that person is guilty of a felony

Causing the Cardholder to be Charged or Overcharged

If the card is presented by the card holder for a lawful transaction, but the accused intentionally causes the cardholder to be charged for a purchase not authorized or overcharges the cardholder, that person is guilty of a felony.

False Statement of Identify for Purpose of Procuring the Issuance a Financial Transaction Device

If the accused knowingly and with the intent to defraud (directly or indirectly) makes a false statement in writing regarding his identify or the identity of any other person for the purpose of procuring the issuance of a financial transaction device is guilty of a felony. In other words, getting a credit card by lying about your name.

Fraudulent Use of a Financial Transaction Device to Withdraw or Transfer Funds in Violation of Contractual Limitations

If the accused uses a card and exceeds the amount imposed upon him or exceeds the imposed upon frequency of withdrawals or transfers an amount exceeding the funds on deposit, is guilty of a crime as follows;

If the amount of the funds is less than $200, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail, $500 in fines or three times the value of the funds, whichever is greater

If the amount of the funds is greater than $200 but less than $1,000 or the accused has one or more prior convictions for this offense, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, $2,000 in fines or three times the value of the funds, whichever is greater.

If the amount of the funds is greater than $1,000 but less than $20,000 or the accused has two or more prior convictions for this offense, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, $15,000 in fines or three times the value of the funds, whichever is greater.

Notice of Enhanced Sentence

If the prosecutor wishes to seek an enhanced sentence with a prior conviction, notice of those prior convictions and the dates and locations for those convictions must be listed in the complaint.

How We Approach Your Case

If you have been charged or accused of fraudulently using a financial transaction device, you need an experienced criminal attorney on your side. Make sure you do not make any statements to the police or anyone else before consulting with a lawyer. If you have been arrested, your first court appearance will be an arraignment where we will argue for a reasonable bond. If the charge is a felony, you are entitled to have a preliminary examination within 14 days of your arraignment. We will help you decide whether it is in your best interests to have the exam or waive your right to the exam. Sometimes it is necessary to establish testimony through cross examination that can be used later on at the trial court for motions to reduce or dismiss the charges. If substantial weaknesses in the case are demonstrated, that can be used as leverage with the prosecutor during plea negotiations for a more favorable resolution.

What Are the Likely Sentences and Possible Outcomes

This is always case specific and there is no generic answer that can be given. It will depend on if the accused has any prior criminal history, what the relationship between the accused and victim is, the amount of money involved, the facts of the case, the strengthens and weaknesses of the case, and how hard the victim is pressing the matter. If it is your first offense, a misdemeanor plea is quite likely.

You may be able to secure a sentencing agreement through a Killebrew agreement with the prosecutor or a Cobbs agreement with the judge which can eliminate the option or jail or limit it. You may also qualify for a diversion program or deferred sentencing such as Holmes Youthful Trainee Act status (HYTA) which would prevent the accused of having a public record of this offense. Another important point is to make sure the amount of restitution is correct and if necessary, insist on having a hearing to determine the correct restitution amount.

If you have been charged with fraudulent use of a credit card or financial transaction device contact Michigan criminal defense attorney Jared Austin at Austin Legal Services, PLC at (517) 614-1983 today.

Representing clients on credit card fraud charges throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Jackson, Shiawassee, Gratiot, Livingston, Washtenaw, Kent, Calhoun in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Haslett, Okemos, Eaton Rapids, Hastings, St. Johns, Bath, Ithaca, Alma, Jackson, Corunna, Durand, Brighton, Howell, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek.

Unlawful Driving Away of an Automobile (UDAA)

Unlawful Driving Away Automobile-- Auto Theft

 

Unlawful Driving Away an Automobile (UDAA)

 

Unlawful driving away of an automobile is defined under MCL 750.413 as taking possession of a vehicle that does not belong to you and driving it without the owner’s permission. It does not matter whether or not you intended on eventually bringing it back or whether you intended on keeping it forever. It is a specific intent crime, although no specific intent to permanently deprive the owner of the car is required, only the specific intent to drive the car unlawfully or without permission.

 

Use of an Automobile without Authority and without the Intent to Steal

 

Also known as Unlawful Use (or Joyriding), it is a crime under Michigan law that is similar to UDAA. Unlawful Use is when someone uses a vehicle that belongs to someone else without authority or permission from the owner coupled with the intent to knowingly use the car without the owner’s permission or authority.

 

Distinction Between Unlawful Driving Away and Unlawful Use

 

The distinction between the two is that with UDAA, the defendant takes possession unlawfully in the first place. Unlawful Use is a lesser offense that applies if the defendant had permission to use the car initially, but exceeded the scope of the permission or used it in a way that he knew was unauthorized. Unlawful Use can also be a good plea negotiation since it is a much less severe offense.

 

Penalties

 

UDAA is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Unlawful Use is a high-court, or serious, misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison and/or $1,500 in fines. If it is a first offense, the court may reduce the punishment to a maximum of three months and/or $500 in fines.

 

Prosecutor’s Discretion

 

The prosecutor has the discretion to charge the defendant with larceny since the elements would fit the crime.