Package theft in Minnesota is really gathering steam – but it’s not something porch pirates, as they’re often called, can do without consequence.
According to CBS, the Twin Cities are among the top places for stolen packages in the United States, and it’s a crime that only increases around Christmas. Theft, even of packages sitting out in the open on a porch, is something the state of Minnesota takes very seriously.
Here’s what you need to know about package theft in Minnesota and the defenses you can use to help you in your case.
What Is Theft in Minnesota?
It’s important to understand what types of actions constitute theft legally in Minnesota. You commit theft if you do the following things:
- Use, hide, keep, or transfer ownership of property that belongs to another knowingly with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it
- Driving or taking the vehicle of another without permission
- Gaining custody or ownership of a property through false claims or representation
- Renting or leasing property without paying or returning it
- Finding misplaced or lost items and not making a reasonable attempt to return them
Penalties for Theft in Minnesota
In Minnesota, the penalties one faces for theft are directly related to the value of the services or property taken. The type of property also makes a difference.
In Minnesota, misdemeanor theft occurs when someone steals goods that are valued under $500. If convicted, you can spend up to three months in jail and be responsible for fines of $1,000.
Gross Misdemeanor Theft
Gross misdemeanor theft occurs when the property is involved at more than $500 but less than $1,000. You can be sentenced to up to 12 months of jail for this and be made to pay fines of up to $3,000.
For property valued over $1,000, you can be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
Defenses to Theft Crimes in Minnesota
The defense your attorney decides to use depends on the specific circumstances in your case, but in general, these are common defenses to Minnesota theft crimes:
You Owned the Property
If you have the right to claim the service or property you were accused of stealing, then that’s a proper defense. You must show that you have valid ownership and an explanation for the events that led you to be accused of theft.
You Planned to Return the Property
You may not be able to escape theft charges completely using this defense, but stating that you mean to pay for or return stolen goods may cause the court to judge you less harshly. It may be helpful if you can show that you simply borrowed the property but never had the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of it.
You Were Intoxicated
If you can provide strong evidence that you were intoxicated at the time, then that may be used to show that you didn’t intend to steal. Proof of intoxication can also be used to demonstrate that you were not in the correct state of mind to make that decision.
Sometimes, people commit crimes because someone else has persuaded them to. In the case of entrapment, however, the persuasion has to be done by a law enforcement officer. If you can show that you would not have committed the crime on your own, then this may be a good defense.
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. Keyser 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.