I Was Charged With Theft! What Can I Do?
Minnesota Statute 609.52 is the theft statute. There are a variety of ways that one can be convicted of theft, such as taking one's property without consent, theft by swindle, or obtaining property through a false representation. The underlying element to theft is generally that you take or gain control of another's property unlawfully, with the intent to permanently deprive them of it or defraud them of it.
One's intent matters here. True borrowing is not theft; however, even if you originally "borrowed" something, you may still be charged with theft. For example, Minnesota law allows for one to be charged with theft through temporary control (ie. "borrowing") if their actions manifest an indifference to the rights of the owner (ie. you treated it poorly and it was ruined).
Depending on the Value of What Was Stolen, You Could Be Facing Serious Penalties
The basic theft crime is the misdemeanor theft. This is for property taken valuing under $500. Think of a petty shoplifter here.
The next level is gross misdemeanor. This is for property taken valuing between $500 and $1,000. Furthermore, the value of multiple items stolen can be aggregated in certain situations. For example, say you stole your friend's $300 television, and the next day you stole his $250 gaming system. Now you're facing a gross misdemeanor.
A felony is where things get even more serious. This for such things as stealing a motor vehicle, regardless of value, or stealing items with a value of more than $1,000.
You Face Jail/Prison Time, Probation, Fines, and Restitution!
Penalties for theft depend upon it's severity. But generally speaking, misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors run the risk of jail time, felonies run risk of prison time, and all crimes run risk of dealing with a probation officer for a while. None of this is fun. In addition, you will likely be ordered to pay restitution to the alleged victim for the value of what was stolen.
You Should Not Be Facing These Kinds of Charges Alone. Hire an attorney; there are ways to defend against these charges. Whether it be dismissal of the charges, a verdict of not-guilty, or a substantially reduced penalty than what you could be facing, isn't it foolish to not have a lawyer?
If you or a loved one are charged with theft, call me at (651) 337-9876 or email me at [email protected]