Aside from traffic violations, shoplifting is one of the most common types of crime that people commit at a high rate without getting caught. Large stores oftentimes have hundreds of customers at one time, and it’s nearly impossible for loss prevention services to keep an eye on everybody, especially when it only takes a second to throw something in your pocket.
Shoplifting Crimes in Minneapolis
In Minnesota, shoplifting crimes are viewed under the larger category of theft. The greater the value of the items shoplifted, the harsher the penalty. Additionally, there are a wide variety of acts that constitute shoplifting, including:
- Concealing or taking property without permission.
- Obtaining goods through false representation.
- Switching price tags to pay a lower amount.
- Consuming items in the store without paying.
Minnesota Shoplifting Penalties
Here’s a look at how Minnesota penalizes shoplifters:
Caught shoplifting with less than $500 worth of merchandise – Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail.
Caught shoplifting with less than $1,000 worth of merchandise – Gross misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $3,000 and up to 1 year in jail.
Caught shoplifting with more than $500 but less than $1,000 worth of merchandise, with a previous shoplifting conviction within the last five years – Felony, punishable by fines up to $10,000 and up to five years in prison.
Caught shoplifting with between $1,000 and $5,000 worth of merchandise – Felony, punishable by fines up to $10,000 and up to five years in prison.
Caught shoplifting with between $5,000 and $35,000 worth of merchandise, or if the merchandise is an explosive or a controlled substance (except marijuana) – Felony, punishable by fines up to $20,000 and up to 10 years in prison.
Caught shoplifting with more than $35,000 worth of merchandise, or if the item is a firearm – Felony, punishable by fines up to $100,000 and up to 20 years in prison.
Additionally, if the shoplifter is an adult, they may be held civilly liable to the merchant they victimized. They may be required to pay:
- The retail value of the shoplifted items; and
- Punitive damages equal to $50 or a percentage up to 100% of the retail value.
Parents of juvenile shoplifters will be liable for damages up to $1,000.
Minnesota Shoplifting Defenses
There are a number of ways to contest a shoplifting charge, but the crime really revolves around intent. Can the prosecution prove that you put that item in your handbag with malice, or did you simply have your hands full, and forgot about it at the register?
Minneapolis Shoplifting Lawyer
A Minnesota shoplifting attorney can work with you to help establish a lack of intent by reviewing security tapes and interviewing witnesses. The prospect of taking on the court system and a large company by yourself can seem daunting, so do yourself a favor and contact an experienced Minnesota shoplifting attorney to represent you at trial.