Shoplifting Charges in Minnesota

Learn about the laws, penalties and civil consequences of a shoplifting charge in Minnesota. Find out if you can avoid a conviction and criminal record.

Shoplifting in Minnesota is a crime with serious penalties, including potential fines and jail time. In addition to facing criminal penalties, shoplifters can be sued by merchants in civil court to recover damages.

Shoplifting in Minnesota

Shoplifting in Minnesota is punished as the crime of theft. Minnesota law outlines several ways in which theft can be committed, including taking or concealing property without consent or obtaining goods through false representation. The definition of theft can cover a variety of acts, such as walking out of a store without paying for an item, or switching price tags or altering packaging in order to pay less than the retail value of the goods. Shoplifters are subject to the criminal and civil penalties described below.

Minnesota Shoplifting Criminal Penalties

Charge

Classification

Penalty

Shoplifting property with a total combined value of less than $500

Misdemeanor

Fines up to $1,000; up to 90 days in jail

Shoplifting property with a total combined value of more than $500 up to $1,000

Gross misdemeanor

Fines up to $3,000; up to one year in jail

Shoplifting property with a total combined value of more than $500 up to $1,000, if convicted within the past five years for another theft offense under certain conditions

Felony

Fines up to $10,000; up to five years in prison

Shoplifting property with a total combined value of more than $1,000 and less than $5,000

Felony

Fines up to $10,000; up to five years in prison

Shoplifting property with a total combined value of more than $5,000 up to $35,000, or if the property is an explosive or a controlled substance (except marijuana)

Felony

Fines up to $20,000; up to 10 years in prison

Shoplifting property with a total combined value of more than $35,000, or if property is a firearm (regardless of weapon’s value)

Felony

Fines up to $100,000; up to 20 years in prison

Civil Liability

Adult shoplifters are civilly liable to the merchants they victimized for the retail value of the stolen merchandise, plus punitive damages equal to the greater of $50 or a percentage of up to 100% of the retail value. The parents or guardians of a shoplifter, who is under 18 years old and who lives with them, will be liable in an amount up to $1000.

Diversion Programs and Plea Bargains

Counties in Minnesota often offer pretrial diversion programs for certain individuals accused of first-time and low-level crimes as an alternative to prosecution. In exchange for completing diversion program requirements, which could include activities such as performing community service and paying restitution, the criminal charges will be dropped.

When diversion programs are not an option, the accused may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor assigned to the case. Plea bargains typically involve pleading guilty in exchange for receiving reduced charges or lighter sentencing. The availability of a plea bargain is at the discretion of the prosecutor.

Learn more about diversion and pretrial options.

Getting Help

If you have been accused of shoplifting, you should strongly consider contacting an experienced criminal lawyer. A qualified defense attorney can assist you in examining your options, such pursuing a diversion program, raising defenses, and negotiating plea bargains, in order to minimize the consequences of a shoplifting charge.

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