The general public often thinks of shoplifters as nothing but kids out looking for a thrill—seeing if they can get away with a small-time theft. But this isn’t always the case. The vast majority of shoplifting offenses committed in Minnesota are committed by adults, and they aren’t stealing candy from the corner store. Shoplifting is considered a serious theft offense under Minnesota law, and one which you can face equally serious penalties for.

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This may have been your first time shoplifting. You likely thought the chance of getting caught was slim. Weighing your risks with your potential payout, you decided to go ahead and steal. Most people who commit a Minnesota shoplifting charge will admit that they made a mistake—they are often embarrassed and completely remorseful. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always equate to leniency within the courts.

Minnesota Shoplifting Penalties

When you are accused of shoplifting, you will be charged with theft. Under Minnesota shoplifting laws, the charge you face and the potential sentence are directly related to the value of the goods stolen. Obviously, this means the more valuable the items you are accused of stealing, the more severe your sentence could be. The chart below outlines the potential sentence you could face in relation to the value of the theft.

Value Charge Potential Sentence
Less than $500 Misdemeanor 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines
$500 to $1,000 Gross misdemeanor 1 year in jail and $3,000 in fines
More than $1,000 to $5,000 Felony 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines
More than $5,000 to $35,000 Felony 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines
More than $35,000 Felony 20 years in prison and $100,000 in fines

Ref: Minnesota Statutes §609.52

These penalties represent the maximum sentence. Most judges end up sentencing defendants to less time than prescribed, though there are incidents of people receiving the maximum allowable penalty under the law.

Fighting a Minnesota Shoplifting Charge

How Can An Attorney Help? When you’re up against Minnesota shoplifting charges, a local defense attorney can be your advocate within the system. Because much of your case and eventual outcome is based on what the court knows about the offense and what they know about you, a lawyer can help ensure your side of the story is told.

You may have made this mistake before and perhaps the court was lenient with you the first time around. It can be difficult to get a third chance, but your defense lawyer will work tirelessly to see that you get the best results possible. This could mean negotiating a plea agreement with the prosecution in an effort to get a more lenient sentence or probation in lieu of jail time.

Whether this is your first or third shoplifting charge, a Minnesota criminal defense lawyer has your best interests in mind. Contact us today to talk to a local MN attorney that can assist you on your case.