Theft & Larceny

Theft and Larceny Crimes Attorney

Financial crimes and other crimes involving theft and dishonesty can be painfully simple or extremely complex. Have you ever gotten distracted and taken something that wasn’t yours but never with the intention of permanently depriving the shopkeeper of the item by not paying for it? That’s how easy it is to make a life-changing mistake.

Fred consults with a client

At Mas/Stig-Nielsen we utilize smart criminal defense to achieve the best possible result for you based on the situation. If your activity is more akin to what is known in Benzie County as retail fraud, you need someone in your corner to help coordinate not only a plea reduction but also one that includes letters from your friends and employer to help the judge better understand your mistake and how or why it happened. Life can be tough and confusing and sometimes we don’t understand our own actions at a given time.

At Mas/Stig-Nielsen we have seen it all and then some. Let us help you find the truth in your financial crime case, be it through trial or treatment so that you are able to move forward in your life.


We Fight For Your Future

We use our skills and experience to ensure due process for every one of our clients. This means that we make sure you understand your constitutional rights and work with you to make sure that they are respected during your arrest and any interactions with the police and prosecution. Should your rights be violated, we will immediately move to try and significantly reduce the charges against you or, ideally, have them dismissed entirely.

A person accused of theft and larceny crimes, especially if they involve embezzlement charges, should contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as they are charged or have reason to believe they are about to be. Early preparation will increase the chances of a successful defense.

What is Larceny?

Michigan law defines larceny as the act of stealing property from another person. The use of force or breaking into a structure is not required. While many other states use the term theft, Michigan refers to this type of property crime as larceny and recognizes varying degrees of severity.

Depending on the value of the property, where the theft occurred, and whether the person has previous larceny convictions, larceny may be charged as a felony or misdemeanor in Michigan. There are also crimes related to larceny, such as:

  • Forgery uttering and publishing: Examples include writing bad checks for goods and using someone else’s debit or credit card without permission to access goods or money.
  • False pretenses: Obtaining property or money by means of fraud or misrepresentation.
  • Embezzlement: Misappropriating money or property one is entrusted with.
  • Motor vehicle theft: Taking and driving away a motor vehicle belonging to someone else without permission.
  • Larceny from a building: Stealing money, goods, or property from a house, trailer, office, store, gas station, or any other publicly used building.
  • Retail fraud: Altering, transfering, removing and replacing, concealing, or otherwise misrepresenting the price at which property is offered for sale, with the intent not to pay for the property or to pay less than the price at which the property is offered for sale, while a store is open for business.

An experienced lawyer for theft charges will explain how the law may apply to your particular case.

What's the Difference between Petty Larceny and Grand Larceny?

Petty larceny and grand larceny differ in the value of the items stolen. Michigan uses the terms misdemeanor and felony larceny.

There are two levels of misdemeanor larceny:

  • If the property taken was worth less than $200, you may be imprisoned for up to 93 days and ordered to pay a fine of up to $500 or three times the value of the stolen property, whichever is more.
  • If the stolen property was worth $200 or more but less than $1000, you could spend up to a year in jail and be fined up to $2,000 or three times the value of the stolen property, whichever is more.

Just like misdemeanor larceny, there are two levels of felony (grand) larceny in Michigan:

  • You steal property valued at $200 or more but less than $20,000 and you have at least two prior convictions for committing or attempting to commit larceny.
  • You steal property valued at $20,000 or more.

A felony theft charge also applies to when you break into or otherwise damage motor vehicles, trailers, or any motor vehicle part.

Potential penalties are outlined in the next section. If you are facing grand larceny charges in Michigan, call a felony theft attorney immediately.

How Much Theft is a Felony in Michigan?

A Michigan larceny crime will be charged as a felony if the property allegedly stolen is worth $1,000 or more but less than $5,000. If convicted, you could spend up to five years in state prison and pay a fine of $10,000 or three times the value of the stolen property, whichever is higher.

If the property was worth $20,000 or more, the punishment is up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $15,000 or three times the value of the stolen property, whichever is higher.

When you risk spending so many years of your life in custody, it becomes imperative that you call a larceny lawyer for help and representation as soon as you are charged. Until they arrive, say nothing to the police, even if you’re desperate to convince them that they made a mistake. Anything you say can -and likely will- be used against you if criminal proceedings continue, so speak to your attorney first and follow their advice afterward.

What is Larceny by Conversion?

Michigan Penal Code section 750.362 defines larceny by conversion as an offense that occurs when:

  • You acquire possession of property belonging to someone else
  • You intend to deprive the owner of the property
  • You do not have the owner's consent to possess or use the property

If you ask to test drive a motorcycle and the owner lets you, you would commit larceny by conversion if you kept it afterward instead of returning it to the owner. You may have been allowed to drive the motorcycle for a few minutes, but not keep it permanently.

Get Immediate Help from an Experienced Larceny Lawyer

If you've been charged with a property crime, Mas/Stig-Nielsen can help you fight the charges. All possible defense options and sentencing alternatives will be considered to ensure a favorable outcome in your case. In some cases, we can show the prosecution that no theft occurred: the items in question may not have been taken, they may have actually been yours, or you may not have intended to keep them.

Regardless of the circumstances, we will present the most strategic defense possible. To schedule a consultation, call (231) 714-4128 or contact us online.


420 E. Front Street
Suite C
Traverse City, MI   49686
Phone: (231) 714-4128
Fax: (231) 312-6066


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