Retail theft, more commonly referred to as shoplifting, is a common crime in Minnesota and elsewhere. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean that prosecution and consequences are less serious if you’re found guilty of these charges.
Here’s what you need to know about retail theft laws in Minnesota and how an experienced attorney can help if you find yourself charged with this crime.
What Is Retail Theft in Minnesota?
Under the law in Minnesota, several different acts fall under the umbrella of retail theft.
These acts include:
- Procuring goods by false representation
- Changing price tags on one item for an item that costs less
- Taking or hiding property without permission
- Using or consuming items that have not been paid for
The Penalties for Retail Theft in Minnesota
The penalties for retail theft in Minnesota depend on the level of the crime charged. The level is determined by the value of the goods that were taken. The more valuable something is, the harsher the charge and resulting penalties.
Goods Valued at $500 or Less
This is a misdemeanor crime under Minnesota law. It can still be punished by jail time, however, and can result in up to three months behind bars and fines of as much as $1,000.
Goods Valued Between $500 and $1000
This level of retail theft is prosecuted as a gross misdemeanor. It can result in a penalty of as much as 12 months in jail and fines of as much as $3,000.
If you are caught attempting to shoplift items of this value, and you have been convicted of shoplifting within the last five years, then you may be charged with a felony instead. If convicted, your sentence can be up to five years in prison and fines as high as $10,000.
Goods Valued Between $1,000 and $5,000
This is a felony charge. It can be punished by as much as five years behind bars and fines of as much as $10,000.
Goods Valued Between $5,000 and $35,000
Another felony, this level of crime can be punished with 10 years in prison and $20,000 maximum. You can be also charged with this crime if the merchandise involved is a controlled substance or explosive.
Goods Valued At over $35,000
This is a felony, garnering as many as 20 years in prison and fines of as much as $100,000. You can also be charged with this level of a felony if you attempt to shoplift a firearm.
How an Attorney Can Help
Any of these convictions can have serious consequences for your life, which is why it’s important to find a lawyer to mitigate the penalties potentially faced.
An attorney will listen to your version of the events and help to formulate a defense on your behalf. They can also negotiate with prosecutors in some situations to reduce the charges against you, resulting in less serious penalties.
It’s always in your best interest to hire legal representation to ensure you understand the charges against you and your rights in the situation. Don’t gamble on your future by attempting to handle the justice system on your own.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is an AV-Preeminent rated criminal and DWI defense attorney based in Minneapolis who is known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge and named a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the Minnesota Bar Association. Mr. Keyers is Lead Counsel rated, and he has received recognition for his criminal law work from Avvo, Expertise, Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and more.