State law in Minnesota defines theft under a single statute, but the offense applies to a wide range of acts. The penalties for theft can vary significantly depending on the circumstances in which the crime was committed.

If you have been charged with theft, it may be crucial to obtain skilled legal representation. A Hennepin County theft lawyer could explain your rights, guide you through the legal process, and work diligently to help you minimize or avoid the severe consequences of this offense.

Definition of Theft

The crime of theft, or the unlawful taking of another’s property, covers several categories, from shoplifting to armed robbery. According to §609.52 of the 2019 Minnesota Statutes, the following actions can be defined as theft:

  • Non-consensually, falsely, or deceitfully taking title, possession, or custody of movable property or services to deprive or defraud another
  • Appropriating lost property without trying to determine the owner
  • Acquiring property or services from a machine without depositing required money or tokens
  • Making improper use of a trade secret
  • Using or obtaining personal property by falsely contracting to rent or lease it
  • Fraudulently authorizing a corporation to make an unlawful dividend distribution
  • Non-consensually taking or driving a motor vehicle
  • Swindling another to obtain property or services

The classification of theft crimes and the penalties upon conviction vary according to the property or services stolen and the circumstances surrounding the offense. A person facing a theft charge could consult with a local lawyer about how to avoid a conviction or plead to a reduced charge.

Penalties for a Theft Conviction

The most severe penalty enforceable against someone convicted of a theft offense under state law, with no special conditions initiating a sentence enhancement, includes up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $100,000, or both. This punishment applies to cases involving theft of a firearm and specified offenses involving property or services worth over $35,000. If the property or service’s value does not exceed $500 and no sentence enhancement applies, the penalty includes up to 90 days in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

A theft offense causing a foreseeable risk of physical harm to another person initiates a sentence enhancement. An enhancement increases the maximum sentence of someone found guilty of a felony by 50 percent. It also increases a misdemeanor conviction to a felony conviction, imposing a fine of up to $5,000, imprisonment for up to three years, or both. A person facing enhanced larceny charges could alleviate these increased consequences by getting in touch with a nearby theft lawyer.

Find an Experienced Theft Attorney in Hennepin County

Criminal sentences for serious theft offenses can be substantial, and even a relatively minor conviction under state law could result in harsh penalties. The legal advice of a knowledgeable attorney could be invaluable to the outcome of your case. A Hennepin County theft lawyer could help you challenge your theft charges by building a strong defense. Schedule a confidential consultation today and learn more about your options.