Theft is a broad category of criminal charges in Minnesota. Depending on the amount at issue and the way in which it occurs, it can range from a misdemeanor to a felony crime under Minnesota law. If you are charged with theft here are a few things to know about your case.
Get a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney
Your best defense is usually to get an experienced theft attorney to assist with your matter as soon as you suspect that criminal charges might be brought. A lawyer can make sure that you do not give incriminating statements or provide evidence that the police can use to support a criminal case against you. In addition, an attorney can advise you about possible defenses and options and ensure that you make the best decisions for your matter.
The defenses in a theft case vary from case-to-case. However, some defenses show up in a number of cases. First, it is not theft if you owned the property at issue. If the alleged victim wrongly claims ownership, you could defend claiming that you were entitled to take the property. Similarly, a mistake of ownership or ignorance of the true owner might prevent a conviction if the State is unable to show that you acted with sufficient criminal intent. In financial theft cases, you may be able to avoid criminal prosecution by paying the debt after a demand by the victim. However, you should always consult an attorney before taking any actions, as paying back or acknowledging a debt may admit criminal or civil liability.
For misdemeanor theft, the maximum penalty is up to 90 days of jail or a $1,000 fine. For gross misdemeanor theft, the maximum penalty is up to 365 days in jail or a $3,000 fine. For felony theft, the minimum penalty is at least 12 months and a day and the maximums vary based on the particular offense.
If you are charged with a theft crime in Minnesota, call St. Paul Criminal Defense Lawyer Eric Rice at 651-998-9660 for a free consultation.