Saturday, April 6, 2013

Shoplifting & Theft (Explained)

Of the "minor" crimes that I work with individuals on as a Minnesota Crimianl Defense Attorney - SHOPLIFTING is one that I believe that can cause the most damage outside the courtroom when it comes to EVER getting another job.  Seriously... in this age of instant background checks --- a drug charge or a DWI is not the detriment that an old, small mistake you made when you were a teen and pocketed that Chap-Stik without paying

Shoptlifting (Explained)

There are numerous acts that can be considered theft according to Minnesota law. A person can be charged with a theft crime if they do any of the following:

  • Take, use, transfer, or conceal another person’s property without consent and with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of possession
  • Steal property or services by false representation, trick, or swindle
  • Find lost property and fail to attempt to give the property back to the rightful owner
  • Purposely take property out of a money operated machine without depositing money
  • Alter or remove identification numbers on property with the intention of preventing identification of rightful owner
  • Steal cable through unauthorized connections
  • Divert corporate property to use for something other than general business purposes
A person’s specific charge and sentence depends on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offense. The prosecution will consider both the value of the stolen property as well as how exactly it was taken when determining the ultimate sentence.


A person can face felony charges and a potential sentence of up to 10 – 20 years in prison and $20,000 – $100,000 in fines if:

  • The stolen property or services is valued at $5,000 – $35,000
  • The property is a firearm
  • The property is a trade secret or explosive

If the stolen property or services is valued at $1,000 – $5,000 a person can face up to five years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

A person can be charged with a gross misdemeanor theft offense if they steal property or services valued between $500 and $1,000. This carries a potential sentence of up to one year in jail and/or $3,000 in fines.

A misdemeanor theft charge occurs when a person steals property or services valued at less than $500. This offense is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000.

There are numerous exceptions and defenses to these consequences. Anyone charged with a theft offense should contact the Rolloff Law Office at (612) 234-1165 as soon as possible to discuss possible defense strategies for their case.

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