Can You Go To Jail For Shoplifting In Minnesota?

Shoplifting is one of the most commonly committed crimes in Minnesota, and one that is especially prevalent around the holidays. Many people who shoplift are not caught because it is impossible for store employees to keep an eye on every customer. However, people do get caught shoplifting on a daily basis. It is important to know the shoplifting laws in Minnesota, including the penalties associated with the offense. Anyone caught and found guilty of shoplifting could face serious penalties that include fines and time in jail. To learn more about criminal theft cases and the legal ramifications in Mankato and how our attorney team can help you, visit our Mankato theft attorney page.

The charges depend on the value of what was stolen

There are various ways that a person can face charges for shoplifting. First, there is no actual “shoplifting” charge in Minnesota. These offenses are considered theft of property under Minnesota law (Sec. 609.52 MN Statutes). There are a variety of ways that a person in Minnesota can commit theft, particularly shoplifting. This can include:

  • Concealing or taking store property without permission.
  • Obtaining goods from a store through false representation.
  • Switching price tags from one item to another to pay a lower amount.
  • Consuming food or beverage items in the store without paying.

If a person is caught doing any of that, they could face a range of penalties that all depend on the value of what they tried, or attempted, to take.

Shoplifting penalties in Minnesota

The following penalties apply for the ranges of value stolen listed below:

  • Property value of less than $500
    • This is a misdemeanor offense
    • Punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine up to $1,000.
  • Property value of over $500 and up to $1,000
    • This is a gross misdemeanor offense
    • Punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine up to $3,000.
  • Property value of more than $1,000 but less than $5,000
    • This is a felony offense
    • Punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.
  • Property value ranging from $5,000 up to $35,000
    • This is a felony offense
    • Punishable by up to 10 years and/or a fine up to $20,000.
  • Property value of over $35,000
    • This is a felony offense
    • Punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $100,000.

In addition to criminal penalties for theft charges in Minnesota, a person found guilty is also liable to the owner of the property that was stolen. They are responsible for paying back the full value of the property as well as punitive damages of $50 or up to 100% of the value when stolen, whichever value is greater. For example, if you steal property worth $2,500, you could face the following:

  • A felony conviction with a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Owing the property owner $2,500 for the value of the property plus another $2,500 in punitive damages.

What to do if facing Minnesota shoplifting charges

If you or someone you love is facing shoplifting charges in Minnesota, you should seek an attorney as soon as possible. When you look at the list of penalties above, you can see that the state takes theft very seriously. A skilled defense attorney will know how to contest a shoplifting charge and will work to have the charges against you reduced or dismissed altogether. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation.