Mankato Shoplifting Lawyer

People often underestimate the seriousness of the crime of shoplifting. Taking a candy bar from the checkout counter may not land you in jail, but shoplifting in general can have significant consequences for years to come. Depending on the amount of the product taken and past convictions for stealing or other criminal history, the consequences of a shoplifting conviction can be disastrous. In addition, a shoplifting charge on your record can affect your ability to get jobs, and your life in general for years to come.

Any overt act of stealing products from a store by not paying or paying less than the retailer’s price is considered shoplifting. In Minnesota, being convicted of shoplifting can have severe penalties, so it may be advantageous to seek legal counsel from an experienced shoplifting attorney to help you with your shoplifting charges.

Civil and Criminal Liability of Shoplifting in Mankato

If you’ve been accused of shoplifting in Minnesota, you could face steep fines and possibly incarceration if you’re convicted. Minnesota does not have statutes that explicitly address shoplifting, so it is treated the same as other theft. 

Like with regular acts of theft, the penalties for shoplifting depend on the property value of the goods involved. Shoplifting is also considered a civil offense in Minnesota. In civil cases, the shoplifter owes the property owner the value of the item and punitive damages of $50 or up to 100% of the item’s worth, whichever is larger.

What Constitutes Shoplifting in Mankato?

Shoplifting can entail more than simply removing items from a business without paying for them. Any method used to deprive a merchant of the total worth of an item can be considered shoplifting in Minnesota.

Common acts of shoplifting in Minnesota include:

  • Leaving the store with merchandise without paying
  • Switching price tags or packaging to pay a lower price
  • Removing price tags from merchandise
  • Hiding or concealing merchandise in other products
  • Removing anti-theft devices from merchandise

People shoplift every day, so retail workers are usually trained to recognize different types of shoplifting and signs that indicate a customer may be attempting to steal. 

What Are the Penalties for Shoplifting in Mankato?

Even though shoplifting can be a relatively minor crime, the state of Minnesota takes it seriously and severely penalizes anyone who is convicted. The following are some of the possible consequences of shoplifting.

Misdemeanor Shoplifting Penalties

Shoplifting merchandise worth $500 or less is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines.

Gross Misdemeanor Shoplifting Penalties

Shoplifting merchandise worth less than $1,000 is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and $3,000 in fines.

Felony Shoplifting Penalties

As the value of the stolen merchandise increases, so does the amount of jail time and fines that the liable party must pay. Felony shoplifting charges carry the following penalties:

  • Shoplifting merchandise worth $500 to $1,000 while having a previous shoplifting conviction from within the last five years, or shoplifting merchandise worth $1,000 to $5,000, is punishable by up to five years in jail and $10,000 in fines.
  • Shoplifting merchandise worth $5,000 to $35,000 or shoplifting an explosive or a restricted substance is punishable by fines of up to $20,000 and up to ten years in jail.
  • Shoplifting merchandise worth more than $35,000 or shoplifting a firearm is punishable by up to 20 years in jail and up to $100,000 in fines.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Deal with My Mankato Shoplifting Charge?

People charged with crimes always have the option of representing themselves in court. However, this is typically not the best way to proceed. Whether you are innocent or guilty, being your own legal representation puts you at a disadvantage in any legal situation. For instance, it is difficult to testify as both the questioner and witness answering the questions. The legal system can be confusing, and there are many things about it that the average person doesn’t understand or isn’t aware of. An experienced attorney can guide you through the legal system towards the best possible outcome.

While a shoplifting charge may not seem like a big deal, charges like these have the potential to escalate and result in more severe consequences than you might expect. Your attorney will examine your situation and build a strong defense strategy. Once you learn you are being charged with theft, you should contact an attorney to counsel you on what you should or shouldn’t say to the investigators to protect your rights throughout the legal process.

Hire an Experienced Mankato Shoplifting Attorney to Help You Navigate the Legal System

The penalties of a shoplifting charge could significantly impact your life in many negative ways. You can potentially mitigate these consequences by contacting a seasoned Mankato shoplifting lawyer.

The legal team at Knutson + Casey has consistently demonstrated that they are well-educated and experienced. Our firm has spent years cultivating an excellent reputation as a team of highly skilled hometown attorneys. We can guarantee that we will dedicate the time you need to obtain a fair outcome for your case and guide you every step of the way. Fill out our contact form or call us at (507) 344-8888 to schedule your free consultation.