Theft and Property Crimes

Twin Cities Area Property Crime Lawyer

In 2011, Minnesota reported more than 134,000 property crimes, with approximately 100,000 of those offenses involving theft, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Burglary accounted for more than 25,000 of the crimes.

Laws are designed to punish those who intentionally steal, damage or trespass on the property of others. Often times this property is tangible items, such as vehicles, land or firearms. However, theft crimes also could include intangible items, including telecommunications services or even a person’s identity. These offenses could carry severe punishments, including jail time and expensive fines.

Apple Valley Theft Attorney

Former prosecutor James Blumberg is an Apple Valley theft and property crime lawyer who is dedicated to working with his clients to get a favorable outcome in their cases. His experience on the other side of the law has proven beneficial when crafting a solid defense against criminal charges. He understands how the prosecution works, and he knows how to challenge their approach.

Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free consultation. James Blumberg Law represents serves clients throughout Dakota County, including Burnsville, Eagan, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville, Mendota Heights and Rosemount, as well as anywhere in the Twin Cities region, including Hennepin County, Ramsey County and Anoka County.

Information About Theft and Property Crimes

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Charges for Theft in Dakota County

In Minnesota, a number of different acts could qualify as a theft offense. Generally, they all involve some sort of property. State law defines property as some sort of tangible property, including documents of value, electricity, gas, water and animals.

According to Minnesota Statute 609.52, a person could be charged with a theft offense if he or she:

  • Intentionally takes, uses, transfers or conceals possession of property belonging to another person without the owner’s consent;
  • Obtains possession, custody or title to property or services by intentionally deceiving another person with a false representation;
  • Obtains services or property from other by swindling;
  • Finds lost property and makes no reasonable effort to return it to its owner;
  • Intentionally obtains property from a machine without making the required deposit;
  • Leases or rents property but does not return it or pay for it;
  • Intentionally deprives another of a lawful charge for cable television or telecommunications services; and
  • Takes or drives a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent.

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Possible Penalties for Theft Offenses

The penalties for theft offenses in Minnesota vary based on the dollar value assigned to the property involved in the offense. Value, according to state law, means the retail market value at the time of the theft. If it cannot be determined, the value will be considered the cost to replace the property within a reasonable time after the offense.

The lowest level of theft, known as petty theft, occurs when the value of the property is less than $500. The punishment for this offense could include up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine or both. Other theft penalties could include:

  • Value between $500 and $1,000 — Up to one year in jail, $3,000 in fines or both;
  • Value between $1,000 and $5,000 — Up to five years in prison, $10,000 in fines or both;
  • Value between $5,000 and $35,000 — Up to 10 years in prison, $20,000 in fines or both; and
  • Value more than $35,000 — Up to 20 years in prison, $100,000 in fines or both.

Theft of a trade secret or an explosive or incendiary device also could be punishable by up to 10 years in prison, $20,000 in fines or both. Theft of a firearm of any value would be treated as the most severe form of theft, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, $100,000 in fines or both.

If a theft offense creates a “reasonably foreseeable risk of bodily harm to another,” the crime could automatically be a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor. The offender could be sentenced to up to three years in jail, fines up to $5,000 or both.

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Other Theft-Related Crimes

Minnesota law also includes various charges related to theft. For instance, if a person does not commit the act of theft, but still is in possession of any stolen property, he or she could face criminal charges and various penalties. According to Chapter 609 of the Minnesota Statutes, some other theft-related charges include:

  • Possession of shoplifting gear;
  • Bringing stolen goods into the state;
  • Receiving stolen property as precious metal and scrap metal dealers;
  • Identity theft;
  • Mail theft;
  • Possession or sale of stolen checks; and
  • Embezzlement of public funds.

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Property Crimes under Minnesota Law

Several other offenses could constitute property crimes in Minnesota. Most often, these offenses include the damage or the attempt to damage property. Property crimes in Minnesota include:

Arson — A person could be charged with arson if he or she intentionally sets fire to something by means of lighting a fire or with an explosive. The charge could be in the first, second, third, fourth or fifth degree, depending on several factors such as the value of the property and whether a person was in the building at the time of the offense.

Burglary — According to Minnesota Statute 609.582, burglary charges can apply if a person enters a building without consent with the intent to commit a crime. This charge could be in the first, second, third or fourth degree. This would be determined by whether the intended crime was a misdemeanor or felony, the burglar had a dangerous weapon and if an accomplice was present.

Criminal Damage to Property — Criminal damage to property can occur when a person intentionally damages the property of another person. The offense can be prosecuted in the first, second, third or fourth degree based largely on the value of the property, if there was risk of harm and if it belonged to a common carrier.

Trespass — General trespassing charges under Minnesota Statute 609.605 would be a misdemeanor offense. This would include trespassing on school property, the land of another or entering the building of another. The offense, however, would be a gross misdemeanor if a person trespassed on the grounds of a shelter that provides emergency assistance to battered women.

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Additional Resources

Minnesota Statutes Concerning Theft — Read more information about the Minnesota laws concerning theft and the corresponding penalties for each offense. The laws define what is considered property and how the value is calculated for that property.

Community Accountability Program — The Dakota County Community Accountability Program for First-Time Property Offenders was designed to divert first-time, low-risk adult property offenders from the criminal justice system prior to entry of a conviction. Learn more about the program and who could be eligible to participate.

Dakota County Sheriff’s Office — The Investigations Division of the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office handles crimes against property. This could include theft, burglary, arson, shoplifting and more.

National Association for Shoplifting Prevention — This national organization, also known as NASP, is dedicated to seeking ways to prevent the recurrence of shoplifting and develop new initiatives to reduce shoplifting.

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James Blumberg Law – A Theft and Property Crime Defense Lawyer in Dakota County

If you have been charged with a theft or property offense, it is important to act immediately. Contact Dakota County theft and property crime defense attorney James Blumberg at (952) 431-7758. James has years of experience defending clients in complicated cases. He can help you protect your rights, no matter how severe the charges. Call for a free consultation in Dakota County or a surrounding area such as Sibley County, Olmsted County, Dodge County, Scott County, Rice County, Carver County, and Steele County.