Shoplifting, identity theft, and grand theft auto all have one thing in common – taking something that isn’t yours. Whether tangible or intangible, Minnesota views all theft charges the same, and proving your innocence and getting your theft crime charge dismissed will be incredibly difficult. That’s why you need a Minneapolis theft lawyer.
When you’re battling criminal charges in Minnesota, it’s you vs. the justice system. You could lose your family, your freedom, and future opportunities. But a qualified theft defense lawyer can help you win your case and minimize the harm it does to your life.
How Does Minnesota Define Theft?
Minnesota’s legal definition of theft goes beyond taking property that doesn’t belong to you.
Minnesota Statute 609.52 defines the following acts as constituting a theft crime:
- Intentionally taking, transferring, or concealing property of another person
- Taking property out of the possession of a pledgee without having legal interest in the property
- Obtaining custody or possession of property or performance of services by defrauding the owner
- Obtaining property by tricking, swindling or defrauding another person
- Obtaining property under certain circumstances when the intent is to temporarily deprive the owner of it
- Keeping lost property and knowing, or having means to learn, who the owner is but not attempting to return the property
- Intentionally taking property without making the required deposit for it
- Using trade secrets for personal gain
- Leasing or renting personal property illegally
- Taking off identifying markers so that the owner can not identify it
- Removing the serial number or manufacturer identification number to prevent identification
- Receiving illegal cable services
- Receiving services with no intention to pay the individual
- Receiving illegal telecommunication services
- Using business property outside of its intended purpose
- Defrauding a corporation into making a distribution in violation of the law
- Taking or driving a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent
- Taking fuel from a retailer without consent
- Committing wage theft
Minnesota is not conservative when it comes to handing down punishment for charges regarding theft. If you’re facing charges – no matter how minor you may think they are – your best bet is to contact a Minneapolis criminal defense attorney to protect yourself.
What is the Punishment for Theft in Minnesota?
Minnesota theft crimes are prosecuted based on the value of the items that were taken. Here’s how theft charges are penalized in the state:
- Property valued at $35,000 or more, or firearm theft
– Imprisonment for up to 20 years
– Fine up to $100,000
– Or both
- Property valued at $5,000 or more, or trade secret, explosive device or controlled substance (Schedule I or II)
– Imprisonment for up to 10 years
– Fine up to $20,000
– Or both
- Property valued at $1,000–$5,000; controlled substance (Schedule III, IV, or V); the property is valued at $500–$1,000 and the offender has a prior theft conviction in the past 5 years
– Imprisonment up to 5 years
– Fine up to $10,000
– Or both
Gross Misdemeanor Theft
- Property valued at $500 – $1,000
– Imprisonment up to 1 year
– Fine up to $3,000
– Or both
- Property valued less than $500
– Imprisonment for up to 90 days
– Fine up to $1,000
– Or both
Enhanced penalties are additional consequences one can receive on top of the standard penalties. In Minnesota, you will incur enhanced penalties for theft charges if the offense “creates a reasonably foreseeable risk of bodily harm to another.”
These enhanced penalties include:
- Misdemeanor charges being bumped up to a felony, imprisonment up to three years, and/or a fine up to $5,000
- A 50% increase in the maximum sentence for felony charges
Minnesota law treats a theft charge seriously. But at Martine Law, we are a team of Minneapolis theft crime attorneys, and we can help you stay out of jail by getting your charges reduced or dropped so that you can put this all behind you.
What is the Difference Between Theft and Robbery Charges?
Theft and robbery are often used interchangeably, but while they both involve stolen property, robbery is a more serious offense.
Robbery involves the forcible taking of property, like robbing a bank at gunpoint or using weapons to intimidate someone into giving you their property. Robbery charges are an automatic felony.
What Should I Do If I’m Arrested for Theft in Minneapolis?
If you’ve been arrested for theft in Minneapolis, it may feel like you are out of options. But you have the right to a fair criminal proceeding.
Here’s how you can protect yourself when facing theft charges:
- Be respectful. An arrest is a nerve-wracking experience, but it can be made worse by resisting or becoming belligerent.
- Invoke your right to silence.Talking about your case can lead to self-incrimination. You have the right to remain silent and refuse questioning.
- Get clarity on what you’re being charged with.
- Hire a Minneapolis theft lawyer. You need a solid legal defense to get you out of this one.
Criminal Defense Attorneys Serving the Twin Cities
Theft charges in Minneapolis don’t have to mean jail time. There are several defense strategies a good criminal defense lawyer can use to protect your freedom.
At Martine Law, we pride ourselves on building a strong attorney-client relationship so we can provide the legal assistance you need when you’re facing criminal charges in Minneapolis, MN.
So, contact our team for a free consultation today, we’re here to help.