Mail Theft Attorneys

You may be surprised to learn that mail theft – a potentially innocuous offense – is a felony in Minnesota. Because of this, such a simple act can carry long-lasting and potentially devastating consequences on an individual charged with felony mail theft.

There are numerous ways that a person may commit mail theft under Minnesota law:

  1. Intentionally and without claim of right removes mail (which basically means any form of mail – letters, boxes, etc.) from a mail depository (mail boxes, post office, postal service vehicles, etc.).
  2. Intentionally and without claim of right takes mail from a mail carrier.
  3. Obtains custody of mail by intentionally deceiving a mail carrier, or other person who rightfully possesses or controls the mail, with a false representation which is known to be false, made with intent to deceive and which does deceive a mail carrier or other person who possesses or controls the mail.
  4. Intentionally and without claim of right removes the contents of mail addressed to another.
  5. Intentionally and without claim of right takes mail, or the contents of mail, that has been left for collection on or near a mail depository.
  6. Receives, possesses, transfers, buys, or conceals mail obtained by acts described in clauses (1) to (5), knowing or having reason to know the mail was obtained illegally.

Central to all of these acts is the element of intent. The State must prove that the defendant intends to steal the mail. This will often be proven through the surrounding circumstances. But it does leave open room for further explanation from a defendant, should the opportunity and right strategy present itself.

Given the emerging trend of theft of Amazon packages, for instance, on a front doorstep, it is unknown if such a theft would be included within number 5 above. Depending on where the package is left, a zealous prosecutor may try to include mail theft as a charge if the package stolen isn’t enough value to make it a felony theft.

Anyone found guilty of mail theft in Minnesota faces a felony conviction, with a maximum sentence of 3 years in custody and/or a fine of $5,000. The case can be charged out in the county in which the act occurred or the county in which the direct victim resides.

An experienced and strategic Minnesota mail theft attorney understands the primary elements of this charge, as outlined above, but also knows how to highlight the weaknesses and difficulty for the State that is often associated with this charge. Absent surveillance video, this charge is often linked to testimony of lay witnesses – i.e. not professional witnesses, also known as cops – which can lead to effective cross-examination that is crucial to a successful defense. With so much at stake in facing a felony mail theft charge, it is critical that you contact us now, to get the right mail theft defense attorney on your case.