Shoplifting in Minnesota: What You Need to Know
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Shoplifting in Minnesota: What You Need to Know

Shoplifting, also known as retail theft, is a common offense that occurs when individuals unlawfully take merchandise from a retail establishment without paying for it. In Minnesota, shoplifting is taken seriously by law enforcement and can result in significant legal consequences for those convicted of this offense. In this blog post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about shoplifting in Minnesota, including common scenarios, legal definitions, penalties, potential defenses, and the importance of seeking legal representation.

Understanding Shoplifting


Shoplifting encompasses a wide range of behaviors, including concealing merchandise, altering price tags, switching labels, or simply walking out of a store with unpaid items. It can occur in various retail settings, such as department stores, grocery stores, boutiques, or convenience stores. Regardless of the value or type of merchandise involved, shoplifting is considered a criminal offense under Minnesota law and can result in misdemeanor or felony charges depending on the circumstances.

Legal Definition of Shoplifting


In Minnesota, shoplifting is defined as the intentional and unlawful taking of merchandise from a retail establishment with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of its possession without paying the full retail value. This definition encompasses a wide range of actions, including both traditional theft methods and more sophisticated techniques such as price tag switching or refund fraud. The key element in proving shoplifting is demonstrating the defendant’s intent to deprive the owner of their property without lawful authority.

Penalties for Shoplifting in Minnesota


The penalties for shoplifting in Minnesota vary depending on the value of the stolen merchandise and the defendant’s criminal history. For misdemeanor shoplifting offenses involving merchandise valued at less than $500, defendants may face fines of up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 90 days. For felony shoplifting offenses involving merchandise valued at $500 or more, defendants may face more severe penalties, including fines of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to five years.

Potential Defenses Against Shoplifting Charges


Individuals accused of shoplifting in Minnesota have the right to defend themselves against these allegations. Common defenses against shoplifting charges may include:


  1. Lack of intent: If the defendant can demonstrate that they did not intend to permanently deprive the owner of the merchandise or that they mistakenly believed they had lawful authority to take the items, they may have a valid defense against shoplifting charges.
  2. Mistaken identity: In some cases, defendants may be wrongly accused of shoplifting due to mistaken identity or false allegations. By presenting evidence of their innocence or casting doubt on the accuracy of the prosecution’s evidence, defendants can challenge the validity of the charges against them.
  3. Coercion or duress: In rare cases, individuals may be compelled to engage in shoplifting under duress or coercion by another party. By providing evidence of coercion or duress, defendants may be able to mitigate their culpability or avoid criminal liability altogether.

Minneapolis Shoplifting Lawyer

Importance of Legal Representation


Given the serious consequences associated with shoplifting charges in Minnesota, individuals accused of this offense should seek legal representation as soon as possible. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can assess the facts of the case, identify potential defenses, and advocate on behalf of the defendant’s rights and interests throughout the legal process. By building a strong defense strategy and challenging the prosecution’s evidence, a competent attorney can help defendants achieve the best possible outcome in their shoplifting case.


Shoplifting is a serious offense in Minnesota that can result in significant legal penalties for those convicted. By understanding the legal definition of shoplifting, potential penalties, and available defenses, individuals accused of this offense can take proactive steps to protect their rights and mount a robust defense against the allegations they face. Seeking legal representation from an experienced criminal defense lawyer is essential for achieving a favorable outcome in shoplifting cases.




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 has been 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, and Super Lawyers.



If You Need a Top Minnesota Criminal Lawyer Call 312-338-5007



With offices in Minneapolis and Stillwater, Minnesota, Keyser Law, P.A. handles cases throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area including:




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