The penalties and sentencing guidelines for theft and property crimes in Minnesota are covered under state statutes 609.52 Subdivisions 2 and 3, along with statute 609.595. That’s a lot of long and dense material to wade through, however, so in today’s post we’ll try to simplify the guidelines so that you or your loved ones can quickly understand what charges they are facing and how severe the penalties for theft and property crimes may be.
Generally speaking, theft does not become a felony in Minnesota unless the value of the stolen goods reaches $1,000 or more. However, there are some exceptions to this rule of thumb. Any theft of a firearm, explosive or material considered to be a trade secret by a business is grounds for a felony charge regardless of the value.
Theft in the amount of $500 to $1,000 will bring a gross misdemeanor charge. Generally speaking, for theft under $500, it is possible to avoid jail time if you don’t have an established record. However, a gross misdemeanor verdict will carry a sentence of up to one year in jail along with fines of up to $5,000.
Theft between the amounts of $1,000 to $5,000 is the first tier of felony charges. This is where you can expect to be sentenced to up to five years in prison plus a fine of up to $10,000. Things become even more serious when the value is over $5,000, with a verdict usually bringing 10 to 20 years in prison plus a minimum fine of $20,000.
It’s very important to keep in mind that the state does not limit theft to the taking of physical objects. Theft of services also qualifies the sentenced party to most of these terms. This includes theft of cable or electric service, for example. The use of force or violence, or damage to property when breaking in, can also escalate these charges to a much greater level.
If you are charged with theft in Minnesota, it is important to have the services of an experienced defense attorney. Contact us for a free initial consultation.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.