Shoplifting Laws in Minnesota: Learn About Minnesota Shoplifting Laws

by Ethel M.

Minnesota Shoplifting Laws, Shoplifting Laws Minnesota

What are Shoplifting Laws in MinnesotaWhat is Shoplifting?

Shoplifting includes all those activities involved in concealing an item or items belonging to a retail store in order to take them away from the place without paying for the same. The shoplifter generally conceals such item/items under his clothes, on a person or in his bag. This kind of theft also covers changing price tags, altering containers and removing security tags with the intention of cheating the store owner. 

It is not always the kids that do small thefts; in fact, in Minnesota, retail stores and malls need to be on alert all the time to ensure that their customers, adults, in particular, do not get away with their merchandise unpaid. Yes, this is the fact. Minnesota, along with several other states in the U.S have been experiencing shoplifting for a long time. It is very common in spite of the merchants installing security cameras and monitors around their stores. 

Minnesota has devised stern laws, regulations, and penalties relating to shoplifting, theft to be precise (the state does not have a separate statute for shoplifting). It is considered a serious offense but the penalty varies with the value of the goods stolen. In other words, the higher the value of the merchandise stolen, the more severe the penalty.

Minnesota Shoplifting Laws

Penalty for Shoplifting in Minnesota

• If the value of the goods stolen is less than $500, it is considered as a misdemeanor charge that carries a prison sentence of up to 90 days and $1000 fine.
• If the value ranges between $500-$1000, the offense is regarded as a gross misdemeanor that carries a 12-month prison sentence along with $3,000 fine.
• If the merchandise value is over $1000 but less than $5000, it is considered a felony that carries a 5-year jail term along with a fine of up to $10,000.
• If the value of the goods is over $5,000 but less than $35,000, it is considered a felony that carries a 10-year prison sentence along with a fine of $20,000.
• If the merchandise worth is over $35,000, it is a felony that carries a 20-year jail term along with $1,00,000 in fine.

It is to be noted here that the first and second-time shoplifting offenses are taken lightly by the courts but the subsequent ones will be considered seriously and punished.
Civic Liability
Minnesota identifies civic liability for shoplifting wherein the offender will be required to pay the actual price of the stolen goods along with punitive damages. Generally, the shoplifter will need to pay 100% of the value of the goods shoplifted. If minors are involved in the theft, their guardians will be liable for the offense and required to pay $1000.

Shoplifting Laws Minnesota

Loss of Social Status

It is not just the court fines and jail sentence; shoplifting or theft causes more damage and creates numerous problems for the offender. Apart from conviction, the accused loses social respect and status. In addition, he may also lose his job since employers in Minnesota do not entertain employees that come with criminal backgrounds. However, an accused can always look for Minnesota legal professional if he has not been into the act and is charged on account of mistaken identity or based on any other reason.

Diversion Programs

Counties in this state also offer diversion programs for low-level, first-time offenders as an alternative to trial or prosecution that include restitution and community service. The charges will be dismissed if the offender completes the diversion programs. However, when diversion programs cannot be considered, the accused can negotiate with the prosecutor for lighter sentencing or reduced charges. This kind of negotiation is called the ‘Plea bargain’. 

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