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Do You Need a Lawyer for a Shoplifting Charge?

You might think that a petty theft conviction is not serious, but even a misdemeanor can affect your criminal record for years to come. It is important to protect your constitutional rights any time you face criminal charges – even for something that seems to be minor, like shoplifting. Attorney Justin Schiks is an experienced Woodbury Theft Crimes Lawyer. He can help you determine the best strategy for resolving any theft charges. Call (651) 986-9652 today to schedule a consultation

The penalties for shoplifting

Minnesota does not have a specific shoplifting statute – shoplifting is simply prosecuted under the existing theft laws. In our state, these laws are codified at Section 609.52 of the Minnesota Statutes. The sentence for theft depends on the value of the goods or services that were stolen:

  • In cases where the stolen value was $500 or less, the defendant can be sentenced to ninety days in jail, a fine of $1000, or both.
  • If the value of the stolen goods or services is between $500 and $1000, the defendant can be sentenced to one year in prison, a fine of $3000, or both.

These sentences can be enhanced if the stolen goods are a controlled substance, if the defendant has prior theft convictions within the previous five years, if the theft was from a corpse or grave, if the stolen items were public funds or records, or if the stolen item is a firearm or motor vehicle.

Why do I need a lawyer for a simple misdemeanor case?

You might think that a misdemeanor conviction will not affect you very much. In the case of theft convictions, there are many collateral consequences that can make your life difficult for years after your sentence has been served. Many employers ask about prior convictions – especially those concerning theft or dishonesty. A theft conviction (even a misdemeanor) can make it difficult to get any sort of job. It is important to ensure that you are not subjected to these consequences if your constitutional rights have been violated.

An attorney can also help you explore options for keeping a conviction off your record. A prosecutor may allow a first-time offender to participate in a diversion program. The defendant agrees to abide by program requirements (such as community service, counseling, restitution, and similar obligations) for a set amount of time. The prosecutor agrees to dismiss the charges when the defendant successfully completes the diversion program. This keeps the conviction of the defendant’s criminal record. In addition to a diversion program, your attorney might be able to make legal challenges to the evidence against you. Evidence that was collected in violation of your Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful searches and seizures cannot be used against you at trial. 

Experienced, aggressive representation for all Woodbury theft charges

Don’t face any theft charges alone. You have the constitutional right to consult with an attorney about the best method of resolving your case. Attorney Justin Schiks is an experienced Woodbury theft crimes lawyer. He can help protect your legal rights and mitigate the consequences of theft charges. Call (651) 986-9652 today to schedule a consultation.          

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