Property Crimes

Crimes involving property encompass a wide range of conduct which can include entering into a property without permission or taking or damaging property belonging to another person.  Most property crimes have a negative impact on a person’s criminal history as they may be viewed as crimes of dishonesty and therefore cause employers not to accept applicants.


Shoplifting is a common symptom of a deeper problem such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or some form of compulsive disorder.  Shoplifting can also be classified as an impulse disorder independent of any other diagnosis.  Because stores aggressively prosecute shoplifters, even when the value of the property is small, shoplifting carries a stigma that can be difficult to overcome.  Many people shoplift even when they have the means to purchase the items they have stolen or shoplift during a stressful life event.  Michele has represented many successful people who have been charged with shoplifting.  For many of these individuals, the actual theft involves a small item but the consequences can still be significant.  Michele’s comprehensive approach involves quickly addressing the legal issues and making appropriate referrals to experts who can focus on the underlying problems behind the shoplifting. 

Theft and Embezzlement

Theft charges can occur anytime someone makes a claim that another person unlawfully took a property or service without permission or payment.  Theft can take many forms and a charge may be filed when someone mistakenly believes a theft occurred.  Sometimes theft cases can be extremely complicated such as when embezzlement is involved or any cases where an employee is accused of taking property or money from an employer.  These cases involve a detailed review of transactions to determine whether or not the transactions were legitimate and are particularly difficult where an employee has signing authority but an employer later alleges they did not grant authority for a particular payment.  Michele is experienced working through the minute details of these allegations.  Forcing the State to prove every penny can make the difference between a misdemeanor or felony charge and the amount of funds that must be paid back in the future.

Criminal Trespass

Trespass is a crime that occurs when someone illegally enters property belonging to another person.  Criminal trespass is a lesser included offense of burglary and can occur when someone enters a building, crosses a property boundary, or enters other property such as a Metro Bus garage or shipping container.  Trespass charges are often alleged in connection with Domestic Violence cases where a couple once shared a residence in common.  Trespass also occurs in cases of intoxication where a person may make a mistake and enter the wrong house, dorm room, or apartment.  If a person trespasses and has an intent to commit another crime while trespassing, the offense becomes the more serious charge of Burglary.  There are many possible defenses to the crime of trespass relating to whether the accused had or believed they had a reason to be where they were.


Burglary occurs when a person enters or remains unlawfully in a building and has an intent to commit a crime while in the building.  Burglary can occur in a residence or other building.  Like many crimes, if a weapon is involved in the Burglary it becomes a more serious offense.  Burglary is often an offense that occurs with young people.  For instance, house parties where groups of young people converge on a residence without invitation.  During these parties it is not uncommon for damage to occur, especially when drugs and alcohol are involved.   These cases have special considerations and specific defenses involving consent.


Robbery is a crime that involves taking property from another person with the use of force.  Robberies can occur with a weapon or words threatening force.  Robbery is a very serious crime with strong penalties.  The value of the property involved in a Robbery is immaterial; it can be something as expensive as a car or as inexpensive as a bottle of wine.  Robbery cases often rely on eye witness testimony and identifications, both of which are inherently unreliable.  Michele is experienced in determining when experts can be helpful to undermine witness testimony and defeat the charge or deter an investigation.