The terms and definitions on this page are relevant to criminal cases in the State of Michigan, United States of America, unless noted otherwise. Criminal laws and procedures in other states and countries may be very different.

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The legal system can be filled with confusing phrases and terms. This list should help you to understand that system a little better.

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  • See Receiving and Concealing Stolen Property.


  • See Criminal Sexual Conduct.

Reasonable Doubt

  • A fair, honest doubt based on the evidence produced at trial (or missing from the proofs). A reasonable doubt must be based on reason and common sense, not on conjecture, speculation, possibilities or imaginary scenarios.

Receiving & Concealing Stolen Property [MCL 750.535]

  • Buying, receiving, possessing, concealing or aiding in the concealment of stolen, embezzled or converted money, goods or property, knowing that it was stolen, embezzled or converted.
  • Michigan defines 3 levels of R&C:
    • $20,000 or more: Felony - up to 10 years and/or $15,000 fine (or 3x property's value)
    • $1,000 or more but less than $20,000: Felony - up to 5 years and/or $10,000 fine (or 3x property's value)
    • $200 or more but less than $1,000: Misdemeanor - up to 1 year and/or $2,000 fine (or 3x property's value)
    • Under $200: Misdemeanor - up to 93 days and/or $500 fine (or 3x property's value)
  • A prosecutor may charge one higher level of R&C if the defendant has been previously convicted of (Attempted) R&C.
  • The values of property purchased, received, possessed, or concealed in separate incidents pursuant to a scheme or course of conduct within any 12-month period may be aggregated to determine the total value.
  • A dealer in or collector of merchandise or personal property (or that person's agent, employee, or representative) who fails to reasonably inquire whether the person selling or delivering the stolen, embezzled, or converted property to the dealer or collector has a legal right to do so, or who buys or receives stolen, embezzled, or converted property that has a registration, serial, or other identifying number altered or obliterated on an external surface of the property, is presumed to have bought or received the property knowing the property is stolen, embezzled, or converted. This presumption is rebuttable.


  • Evidence having any tendency to make the existence of a fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more or less probable than it would be without the evidence. MRE 401.


  • When an appellate court sends a case back to a lower court for further proceedings.

Reportable Juvenile Offense

  • Juvenile delinquency offenses that requires fingerprinting - murder or attempted murder, serious assaults (assault with intent to murder, to commit great bodily harm, to main, or to rob), arson of a dwelling, B&E, home invasion 1st degree, larceny in a building, car theft, car jacking, kidnapping, CSC 1st-3rd degree, robbery, possession or delivery of 650 grams or more of a schedule 1 or 2 narcotic.

Resisting / Obstructing a Police Officer

  • Knowingly and intentionally obstructing, resisting, opposing, assaulting, beating or wounding a law enforcement officer who is engaged in his lawful acts or attempting to maintain the peace. The defendant's acts must have actually interfered with the officer in carrying out those duties.
  • Penalty: "High court" misdemeanor punishable by up to 2 years incarceration or a $1,000 fine.


  • The juvenile court equivalent of a defendant in a criminal case. The juvenile charged in a delinquency case, or the at-fault parents in a child protection proceeding, are respondents.


  • Payments ordered by the judge to repay victims for economic losses incurred as the result of the crime (property loss or injuries). Does not include compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress or other non-economic damages that can result in compensation through a civil law suit.

Retail Fraud [MCL 750.356c & MCL 750.356d]

  • Stealing merchandise (items offered for sale to the public) from a store while the store is open for business. Retail Fraud also occurs when a defendant "price switches" or tries to get a fraudulent refund. Retail fraud is a theft crime requiring proof that the item was taken intentionally (not accidentally), with the intent to steal. There are currently two "degrees" of Retail Fraud: First Degree (when more than $100 in goods is stolen, or for repeat offenders) and Second Degree (when less than $100 in goods is stolen).
  • On 1/1/1999, Michigan added another category to include three degrees of retail fraud:
    • 3rd Degree (under $200 stolen): - Misdemeanor - up to 93 days and/or $500 fine (or 3x merchandise's value)
    • 2nd Degree ($200 - under $1,000 stolen; or 3rd Degree with prior conviction): - Misdemeanor - up to 1 year and/or $2,000 fine (or 3x merchandise's value)
    • 1st Degree ($1,000 or more stolen; or 2nd Degree with prior conviction): - Felony - up to 5 years and/or $10,000 fine (or 3x merchandise's value)