Minnesota Theft Attorneys
Theft charges carry serious and lasting consequences on a person’s life. The criminal consequences to a theft charge can range from significant prison and/or jail time, plus heavy fines and lengthy probation. The collateral consequences are just as severe because a theft conviction can lead to a job dismissal, and is considered a red flag by prospective employers or landlords, which often prevents the person from getting the job or apartment. Regardless of whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony level charges, it is critical that you get an experienced Minnesota theft attorney to fight for you.
What is a theft?
There are numerous acts that qualify as a theft under the Minnesota criminal code. The following is a non-exclusive list of the common thefts:
- Taking, using, transferring, or concealing another person’s property without consent and with the intent to deprive the owner of possession
- Theft by swindle
- Theft by false representations
- Receiving stolen goods
- Insurance Fraud
- Financial card fraud
- Identity theft
- Grand theft auto
- Theft of cable through unauthorized connections
- Corporate theft
- Check forgery
- White collar crimes – such as embezzlement, forgery, mortgage fraud, etc.
- Wrongfully obtaining public assistance
What you are charged with and the level of offense depends on the facts of the particular case and how much was allegedly stolen.
Level of Offense
Felony – Generally, any theft is a felony where the value of the alleged stolen property is greater than $1,000. The penalty range is dependent upon the conduct and the amount of the theft. For instance, for certain felonies where the value exceeds $35,000, the defendant faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or a $100,000 fine. But, if the value of the property stolen is between $1,000 and $5,000, the maximum penalty is 5 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
Gross Misdemeanor – If the value of the stolen property or services is between $500 and $1,000, it is a gross misdemeanor offense, carrying with it a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine.
Misdemeanor – If the value of the stolen property or services is less than $500, it is a misdemeanor and the defendant can be sentenced to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.
Additionally, if the act creates a reasonably foreseeable risk of bodily harm to another person, the penalties described above are enhanced as follows:
- If it is a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor crime, it is enhanced to a felony, carrying with it a maximum penalty of up to 3 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
- If it is a felony, the maximum penalty for the offense is 50% longer than otherwise prescribed.
Every case is unique, requiring a personalized legal strategy for each client. But common defenses to theft charges include the lack of the requisite intent, whether the defendant had a claim of right to the alleged stolen property, and whether the State can prove the value of the property in order to meet the gross misdemeanor or felony thresholds for the criminal penalties.
Most good theft defenses will require careful scrutiny by a Minnesota theft attorney and even an investigator to interview key witnesses. The end result is a well thought out and strategic defense.
To see just how successful our approach is, here are some representative case results:
Charges: Felony theft
Resolution: Diversion and dismissal. Client was charged with a workplace theft – a serious offense that would have a long-lasting negative impact on his ability to gain employment in the future. The client was not eligible for diversion, thereby facing an offer to plead guilty to the offense as charge. Do to North Star’s diligence and careful discussions with the County Attorney’s office, the client became eligible for the diversion program more than a year after the alleged incident. The client is not able to keep a clean criminal record and stands a good chance to get an expungement of this record soon after he completes the diversion program.
Charges: Theft Counts (Career offender)
Resolution: Both North Star attorneys took turns assisting this vital client, whose history is literally arms-long relative to prior theft and other turpitude-style convictions. Initial offers from prosecutors started at statutory maximum jail terms, or multiples thereof; the cases were eventually resolved for petty misdemeanor fines, no jail, no additional criminal conviction, and the still-young lady can continue her phoenix-like rise via treatment, employment rehabilitation and a completely spin-dried group of friends and associates. Both James and Dan like nothing more than to participate in a complete makeover for troubled clients, and they have rarely been as successful as here.
Charges: Misdemeanor theft
Resolution: Continuance for Dismissal. The terms of the agreement are minimal – small fine, no entry at place of theft, and no same or similar incidents (a non-issue with a clean record before this incident). With the client facing the possibility of losing her job if there was ever a plea or conviction, this was the necessary result obtained through the appropriate approach by North Star attorneys.
If you have been charged with theft in Minnesota, you need to consult with a skilled Minnesota theft defense attorney like the team at North Star Criminal Defense. The sooner you do this, the better so that we can immediately begin investigating the facts of the case and developing your defense. Contact North Star Criminal Defense now to get started.