If you are facing theft charges in Minnesota, you need to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable defense attorney.
Theft, as described in Minnesota, is basically the taking of property (or something of value) without a legal right, justification, or excuse to do so or without consent of the legal possessor of the thing of value (which may or may not include consent of the true owner of the thing of value).
This is similar to the crime of “embezzlement,” which is basically a subcategory of theft involving the use of a person’s position in a company to steal from the company.
Additionally, in Minnesota there is a crime of “theft by swindle.” In its most general sense, this occurs when a person tricks another person into voluntarily turning over the thing of value. The victim hands this property (or other thing of value) over to the swindler in reliance on the false contentions of the swindler.
In Minnesota, only some theft crimes are in fact felonies. There are numerous factors that come into play to determine whether a “theft” is a felony or lesser charge. Further, these factors are often disputed facts – meaning the assistance of an attorney to advocate on your behalf may be very beneficial in the state’s decision on whether to file charges, what level of charges to file, or what plea agreement (if any) is appropriate. Some factors that are considered include the actual value of the thing taken (e.g., over or under a $1000), the identity of the alleged victim (e.g., governmental agencies, at-risk or vulnerable persons, etc.), and the identity of the thing of value taken (e.g., stealing a gun is generally considered a felony, regardless of its actual value).
Another related theft charge is “receiving stolen property.” This involves a person knowingly accepting, receiving, or possessing something of value that has also been stolen AND also the person has a reason to believe the thing of value is stolen.
Because theft crimes in Minnesota very so greatly, there are numerous penalties a person might face for any one or more conviction of a theft crime. Nonetheless, such sentences may include any one or more of the following conditions (depending on the actual offense the person is convicted of): lengthy county jail or state prison time, long-term probationary sentencing, public service, costly substance abuse and/or mental health treatment, repayment of restitution, the forced loss of employment and/or a prohibition on being employed in a particular job or field of work, and/or payment of fees and court costs. There are some limitations created by the law as to the harshness of a sentence, but there are also limitless possibilities for what a particular sentencing judge might do, and trying to fight back and undo these sentences (if NOT confronted and corrected in a proper, legal manner) can require costly appeals lasting years; meanwhile the person who was sentenced is often required to serve that sentence while the appeal is pending.
If you have been charged with any criminal conducted involving an alleged theft, contact an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced. You should contact an attorney right away. Depending on the legal intricacies of your case, an attorney may need ample time to prepare your case upfront and early on in order to fully and completely represent you and protect your rights. Doing so may result in a much more favorable outcome – which includes dismissing the entire criminal case or never even filing charges in the first place.