Mankato Theft Lawyer

When you hear the word “theft,” you usually think of something small; perhaps shoplifting or some other petty crime. Maybe you spend a night in jail, pay what you owe, and have a few months of probation. In many cases, theft charges are coupled with other petty crime charges. Crimes like this are usually considered misdemeanors, and sentencing isn’t severe. However, theft is a very broad term, and some forms of theft can even be felonies.

Theft in Minnesota

Theft spans a broad spectrum of crimes and can even take a non-physical form, such as identify theft. Some of the more common forms of theft include:

  • Shoplifting
  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Felony theft
  • “White collar” crimes

White collar crimes are defined as a nonviolent theft and are usually committed by business or government workers. They can include embezzlement, money laundering, identity theft, and other similar actions. Felony theft, also sometimes referred to as grand theft, is categorized in Minnesota as any theft of more than $1,000.

Differences Between Theft, Burglary, and Robbery

Many people confuse the terms theft, burglary, and robbery. While they all involve theft, they aren’t the same.

  • Theft, either misdemeanor or felony, is essentially taking something from someone without consent. It’s stealing property with a wrongful intent to deprive the owner of it. For example, if your friend lends his or her computer to you and you intended to return it when you’re finished using it, it wouldn’t be considered theft. If you asked to borrow the computer and you didn’t intend to return it, it’s theft. Your intent is wrongful and will permanently deprive your friend of his or her computer.
  • Robbery is still theft, but it means you physically took something from a person using either the threat of force or actual force. It isn’t robbery unless you take something the person is holding or something in the person’s control. For example, stealing money in a safe you force a person to open would be robbery. Robbery is considered a violent crime, though it doesn’t necessarily mean actual violence was involved. For example, the threat of violence, like threatening a cashier with a firearm, is enough to deem it a robbery.
  • Burglary is an interesting charge to consider because it doesn’t always involve theft. Burglary is simply the act of entering a structure with the intent to commit a crime. You can be charged with burglary even if you didn’t commit an actual theft once you were in the building. Furthermore, you can be charged with burglary even if the crime you were intending to commit wasn’t burglary! Many people think this means breaking into a building, but even just opening a window that was already unlocked and sticking your hand inside is considered burglary.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony Charges

Whether or not a property theft is a misdemeanor or a felony will usually depend on the value of the property. However, in most cases, the nature of the theft or the other actions you committed while attempting the theft will also come into play. For example, if you walk into someone’s yard and steal a bike, you could be charged with trespassing and theft below $500, which are both misdemeanors. But if you were in that same yard at night, holding a crowbar, you could be charged with possession of burglar’s tools, which can be a felony. As you can see, the individual elements of your case will determine how severely you’ll be punished.

Experienced Minnesota Theft Defense Lawyers

Whether you are in Mankato, Austin, or Owatonna, Knutson+Casey can provide exceptional legal representation for clients facing theft charges. We’re experienced in several areas of criminal defense, including theft of all degrees. Whether you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you need a skilled defense team to represent you and help reduce your charges or have them dismissed. Contact us today to see what we can do for you.