If you’re accused of stealing property or services in Minnesota, there can be some weighty consequences if you’re convicted, not to mention the damage to your professional and personal reputation that a criminal history inflicts. Conviction could mean the loss of your career and difficulty finding another job in the future. Needless to say, it can also bring incredible stress on your family.

Actual penalties for theft in Minnesota vary based on a lot of aspects in your individual case, including any prior criminal history and aggravating factors; however, looking at the general guidelines, we can see that our state doesn’t take theft lightly.

For example, stealing property or services valued at between $1,000 and $5,000 is considered a felony and is penalized with a fine of as much as $10,000 plus up to five years in prison. The sentences just get harsher from there in proportion to the value and sometimes the type of property or services taken. Stolen property valued to be greater than $35,000 — or a firearm — could get a sentence of up to 20 years of prison as well as fines totaling $100,000. Similar tough penalties are in place to punish people who steal trade secrets, explosives or drugs.

Of course, theft of a lesser value is deemed a misdemeanor, but even that — let’s say less than $500 stolen — can be punishable by 90 days jail time and up to a $1,000 fine.

Help to show your side of the story

Just because you’re accused of theft doesn’t mean you did it. Nevertheless, it can take a skilled lawyer to help prove your innocence. If you’re facing these kind of serious theft charges, it’s vital you speak to an experienced Minneapolis defense attorney who can help protect your rights and see that your case gets the fairest treatment possible under Minnesota and federal law.