Tag Archives: Misdemeanor

Latest News: Client acquitted of Domestic Violence Charges after Jury Trial

Another win for Crowley, Cornish, Rockafellow & Sartz, PLLC.

Attorney Stephen Cornish successfully defended a client from allegations of Domestic Violence, First Offense, before a jury in Eaton County, Michigan. After a thoroughly contested case, the jury’s verdict was not guilty on all charges.


For more information on Domestic Violence allegations, click here.

Our experienced trial attorneys fight hard for our Michigan clients. We represent clients statewide. For a free initial consultation, feel free to contact us at (517) 507-5077.

Anyone charged, of course, is presumed innocent. The prosecutor would need to prove the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt if the matter proceeded to trial. Simply because a person is charged does not mean that they will be convicted.
If you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances you are encouraged you to consult with a lawyer. Circumstances may vary significantly.

If you are charged with an offense and cannot afford to pay for your own defense, the court may appoint you an attorney payable at the public’s expense. You have a right to counsel.

Retail Fraud, Second Degree

Loss and theft prevention is a big issue for retailers. Stores, especially larger chains, often have advanced surveillance, loss-prevention employees, and train their staff in techniques designed to deter or minimize losses from theft. However, even with all of these measures, theft offenses still cost larger retailers millions of dollars in losses and these cases still comprise a significant portion of a local court’s misdemeanor docket.

“Retail Fraud, Second Degree”,MCL 750.356 (4),MCL 750.356d (1)(b) is more severe offense than retail fraud third degree, MCL 750.356 (5), MCL 750.356d (4), and is often charged against people who allegedly “shop-lift” merchandise from merchants and retailers when the value of the allegedly stolen merchandise has a value over $200.00 and less than $1,000.00.

If the accused individual already has a prior conviction for retail fraud third degree, MCL 750.356 (5), they may be charged with retail fraud second degree even if the value is under $200.00 pursuant to MCL 750.356d (4); MCL 750.356 (4)(b).

Retail fraud, second degree a misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by “imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $2,000.00 or 3 times the value of the property stolen, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine,” MCL 750.356 (4), costs, restitution, probation up to two years, or other sanctions at the court’s discretion.

In general terms, this particular charge, MCL 750.356 (4), MCL 750.356d (1)(b) carries significantly greater sanctions for a conviction than a retail fraud third degree. However, it is not as severe as some of the other theft offenses which will be discussed in later posts because it is still a considered a misdemeanor. It is also considered a “crime against dishonesty.” As with any theft offense, there are collateral consequences that go well beyond the courts if a person is convicted of this charge.

As noted in the Michigan Rules of Evidence, convictions involving a “crime against dishonesty” may be used against someone by an opposing party if they ever testify in another court-proceeding to attack their credibility.

A conviction for this type of charge, for example, may also impact a person’s ability to find work in certain fields. A lot of employers, especially those professions involving the financial industry, may be deeply concerned about an applicant or employee if they have this type of conviction on their record.

If convicted, as a misdemeanor, it could stay on a person’s record for a long period of time.

However, certain people, especially younger alleged offenders between the ages of 17-20 who are interested in potentially pleading guilty may be eligible for diversionary programs such the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (see MCL 762.11-762.16), which, if completed, could keep a conviction from being entered in their public record. Diversionary programs often require probation and generally need to be negotiated through the plea-bargaining process prior to any trials.

If you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances, we encourage you to privately consult with a lawyer. Our office frequently handles this types of matters. For a free initial consultation, please contact us at (517) 507-5077.

Pre-trial bond is not out of reach

When a person is arrested and arraigned on a criminal misdemeanor or felony, bond is frequently an issue. When magistrates and arraigning judges determine a bond or bail amount, the purpose is not to punish someone for being charged. Unless a person is charged a violent capitol offense such as murder, there should be some type of bond or bail. Courts look at a variety of factors, with their primary focus on a person’s perceived threat to the community and possible flight risk.

Further, the amount or conditions are not set in stone. Bond conditions may be challenged or modified later on by motion, or the presiding judge may decide to add additional conditions to a bond. The process of determining a bond amount varies significantly depending on the particular county, type of offense, whether a person has a past criminal history, and many of the factors.

However, this guide provides some insight into what the courts are supposed to examine when the amount is set.

Types of Bond

There are two important components with different types of bonds. First, there is the listed amount for the bond. This is a monetary determination made by the arraigning or presiding judge or magistrate. The second classification addresses how that bond can be posted. This guide lists some of the more common types of bonds. For more detailed information, please review Michigan Court Rule (herein-after “MCR”) 6.106.

  • “Personal Recognizance:” Here, a person does not need to post any sort of bond to remain free from custody as their case proceeds.Common with less severe misdemeanors.
  • “Cash/Surety:” A person needs to either post the listed amount or either obtain a bondsman who can provide a surety or negotiate some of type of “surety” agreement with the court.
  • “10%:” A person needs to only pay 10% of the listed amount. There may be additional classifications or modifications depending on a person’s county of residence. Some judges may require a GPS tether for example.

Bond Factors

MCR 6.106 (F) (1) (a-i) lists the following bond factors: (a) defendant’s prior criminal record, including juvenile offenses; (b) defendant’s record of appearance or nonappearance at court proceedings or flight to avoid prosecution; (c) defendant’s history of substance abuse or addiction; (d) defendant’s mental condition, including character and reputation for dangerousness; (e) the seriousness of the offense charged, the presence or absence of threats, and the probability of conviction and likely sentence; (f) defendant’s employment status and history and financial history insofar as these factors relate to the ability to post money bail; (g) the availability of responsible members of the community who would vouch for or monitor the defendant; (h) facts indicating the defendant’s ties to the community, including family ties and relationships, and length of residence, and (i) any other facts bearing on the risk of nonappearance or danger to the public.

General Advice

Some general tips prior to being arraigned on a felony or misdemeanor charge:

  • Have a trusted friend or family member appear at your arraignment. It’ll be potentially important to have someone available.
  • Never assume you’ll be given a personal recognizance bond. Even with misdemeanor offenses, an arraigning judge may still insist on a small cash bond. Make sure you bring some cash or bring a trusted friend or family member with some money in case you need to post a bond.
  • Have the cards of a few bondsman with you. If you know you may have to post in advance, it helps to have the contact information about bondsman in your local area.
  • Bring personal paperwork with you regarding your employment, medical conditions, etc. As noted above, the court looks at these factors.
  • Retain council and have legal representation at your arraignment. The right lawyer who represents you well could make the difference between walking out that day or getting stuck with a big bond.

For additional information, please visit the following link:

Michigan Court Rules

Our experienced trial attorneys fight hard for our Michigan clients. We represent clients statewide. For a free initial consultation, feel free to contact us at (517) 507-5077.

For more information on Michigan criminal law, click here.

For information on Michigan No-Contest pleas, click here.

For information on expunging prior non-traffic convictions under Michigan law, click here.

For information on Michigan probation violations, click here.