What is Theft?
Minnesota Statue §609.52 discusses the actions that constitute and consequences for theft. This is available for anybody to read here. According to the statute, there are 18 different acts that constitute theft.
Acts Constituting Theft
Minnesota’s theft statute contemplates 18 different acts. This list discusses a few of the more prevalent theft crimes. A person commits theft when s/he:
1. Intentionally and without claim of right takes, uses, transfers, conceals or retains possession of movable property of another without the other’s consent and with intent to deprive the owner permanently of possession of the property;
2. Obtains for the actor or another the possession, custody, or title to property of or performance of services by a third person by intentionally deceiving the third person with a false representation which is known to be false, made with intent to defraud, and which does defraud the person to whom it is made;
3. Obtains property or services from another person by swindling;
4. Obtains the services of another with the intention of receiving those services without making the agreed or reasonably expected payment of money or other consideration;
5. Takes or drives a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner or an authorized agent of the owner, knowing or having reason to know that the owner or an authorized agent of the owner did not give consent; or
6. Intentionally, and without claim of right, takes motor fuel from a retailer without the retailer’s consent and with intent to deprive the retailer permanently of possession of the fuel by driving a motor vehicle from the premises of the retailer without having paid for the fuel dispensed into the vehicle.
The maximum possible sentence for theft depends on the charge and the value of the amount taken. For example, a person guilty of theft of a motor vehicle when the vehicle is valued over $5,000 may serve ten (10) years imprisonment, pay a $20,000 fine, or both. Additionally, a person guilty of theft of property valued at under $500 may serve ninety (90) days in jail, pay a $500 fine, or both.
Defenses to Theft
In order to prove you guilty of theft, the State must show you possessed somebody else’s property and you intended to possess it without his/her permission. Proving possession requires an analysis of whether the evidence found to prove possession was lawfully obtained. Additionally, proving you intended to possess property without the owner’s permission is difficult, as your possession may be accidental.
Hiring aggressive Minnesota criminal lawyer to fight a theft charge is important, as a theft conviction may bar you from future employment. A Minnesota criminal defense attorney can use specific defense strategies to help ensure you are treated fairly and justice prevails. When your liberty and future earnings are on the line, don’t take a chance with your defense. Hire the right defense attorney who understands the system and isn’t afraid to fight for your rights.