What Are the Different Classifications of Theft in Minnesota?

classifications of theft in minnesota

Being accused of a crime can be life-altering. Being charged with theft can destroy your reputation, both professionally and personally. That’s not even touching on the legal ramifications if you’re found guilty.

In Minnesota, you can be accused of numerous forms of theft. It goes without saying it’s imperative you retain counsel if you’re ever charged with theft. But knowledge is power, so let’s discuss different classifications of theft in Minnesota.



Embezzlement is the misappropriation of funds that are in your care and is considered a form of larceny. It can also include the embezzlement of property when you take property that was placed in your trust. Because property is often high value, this can be a high stakes accusation.

 In minor cases of embezzlement ($500 or less), you may only face a penalty of 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000. In more severe cases ($2,500 or more), that fine can jump to $20,000. Embezzlement can be charged as a felony in Minnesota and is not something to be taken lightly.

Theft By Swindle

Theft by swindling is a crime where the accused commits theft by tricking, artifice, or device. Typically this means there was an intent to defraud someone of funds, property or personal effects. For example:

  • If theft by swindling exceeds $35,000, the punishment can be 20 years in jail or a fine of up to $100,000.
  • If theft by swindling is more than $5,000 but less than $35,000, the punishment can be ten years in jail and/or a fine up to $20,000.
  • If theft by swindling is between $1,000 and $5,000, you may receive up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Grand Theft Auto

Grand theft or grand larceny, most often refers to taking someone’s property versus taking their funds. A classic example of this is when an individual steals a car, known as grand theft auto. An automobile is a high ticket piece of property, typically worth a lot of money. In Minnesota, this crime is considered a felony. 

If you’re charged with grand theft auto, a lawyer to help navigate the legal ramifications is essential. A felony conviction can result in a penalty of 5 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.


Shoplifting is a larceny charge that can come with an entire range of charges, from minor amounts to some very high-end ones. The crime may be classified as petty, or it may not be.

These can result in misdemeanors on your record. At the lowest range of the scale, shoplifting $500 or less of property can result in a misdemeanor penalty of up to 90 days in jail, and a $1,000 fine. From there, if you’re accused of shoplifting up to $35,000 in property, you can face 20 years in prison and fines as high as $100,000.


Theft by robbery (not to be confused with larceny, a theft crime committed without force) is divided into three categories. 

Simple Robbery

Simple robbery is threatening or using force to divest a person of their property. In this instance, the victim doesn’t need to be injured during the course of the robbery. If convicted, you can face up to 10 years of imprisonment and penalty fines up to $20,000. Possibly both.

Aggravated Robbery in the 1st Degree

Aggravated robbery in the 1st degree is when a person is robbed of their property and has reason to believe their assailant is armed and may harm them with that weapon. Aggravated robbery includes situations where an object may not be a dangerous weapon, but the victim can reasonably assume it is one. The consequences for this can be 20 years in prison and fines of up to $35,000. 

Aggravated Robbery in the 2nd Degree

Aggravated robbery in the 2nd degree is when the assailant implies they have a weapon to assault the victim. A conviction in this can result in up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to $30,000.


Burglary is breaking into a building or property that is not your own and without consent. It can be a misdemeanor or a felony charge, depending on the severity of the crime.

First-Degree Burglary

First-degree burglary is charged when an individual enters the premises or property to commit a crime when someone else is inside. It would typically involve assault and/or theft. It’s punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to $35,000 in penalty fines.

Second-Degree Burglary

In a second-degree burglary, force or threat of force is used to enter the premises or property. It’s punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $20,000 in penalty fines. A person may or may not have burglary tools on them.

Third-Degree Burglary

Third-degree burglary is the unlawful entry to premises or property  with intent to commit a crime. It can result in a punishment of up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Fourth-Degree Burglary

Fourth-degree burglary is often the unlawful entry to a premise or property that results in nothing being taken and no harm done. It’s the least severe of the four charges but can still result in up to 1 year in prison and up to $3,000 in fines.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is when a person’s identifying information is used to defraud them or steal funds from other establishments. Punishments (a misdemeanor or felony charge) are not dissimilar to shoplifting because the consequences will depend on the crime’s severity. 

Property theft can also be included in this, as sometimes individuals will impersonate a victim in order to gan access to their property. Defrauding someone of property like a house or similar can result in high fines.

Depending on where the charge falls on the scale, identity theft can be a misdemeanor or a felony. Fines can vary from $1,000 to $100,000. Prison time can range anywhere from 90 days to 20 years.

Petty Theft

In Minnesota, petty theft is a minor charge you can face. The crime is considered petty when goods, property, services, or money stolen amounts to $500 or less. The punishment is no longer than 90 days, and the fine is only up to $1,000. Despite this being one of the lesser charges you can face, you shouldn’t go into the courtroom without a lawyer to help you navigate the consequences.

Find an Experienced Theft Lawyer Today

petty theft

If you’re accused of theft, you need to find a lawyer as soon as possible. The consequences of being convicted can have long-lasting ramifications that will be difficult to overcome. Time in person or excessive fines can ruin lives. Contact CJB Law today – don’t go at this alone.