MN Black Friday Crimes: Did You Get Swept Up?

Black Friday is an interesting day. On the one hand, there’s a lot of excitement generated about sales that can save you a lot of money on high-priced items. Black Friday sales are incredibly tantalizing. On the other hand, there’s all the other bargain shoppers you seem to be competing against.

It’s dealing with the other people in stores on Black Friday that make things complicated. Tension and competition can end up blowing up and creating situations that are dangerous and illegal. Because of this, there are some common crimes that people are arrested for in Minnesota on Black Friday.

If you got arrested on one of these charges – or any others over the holiday – you need to seek legal help fast.

Assault and Battery

If you’re trying to get into a store during a rush to grab that brand-new tablet for super cheap and you get pushed, you may want to turn around and teach that person a lesson by pushing them back. The problem is, doing so can put you in a bad position.

In Minnesota, assault is defined as unlawfully trying to inflict injury on someone else. If your attempt was successful, then that’s also battery – but it’ll still be prosecuted as assault since there’s no separate battery statute under Minnesota law.

If you are convicted of assault, you can face anywhere from 90 days in jail for a misdemeanor all the way up to 20 years in prison for a first-degree charge.


When the stores are hectic, some people may think that it’s the perfect time to shoplift because the employees and the security in the store are so busy. However, attempting to steal something on Black Friday will get you into serious legal trouble if caught.

In Minnesota, any property stolen that is worth less than $500 is considered to be petty theft, which can lead to fines of $1,000 and up to three months imprisonment. Anything worth more than $500, you can get charged with a much more serious crime that can send you to prison for anywhere from one year to 20 years and make you responsible for fines.

Inciting a Riot


One of the issues Black Friday shoppers face is a limited quantity of items for too many people. This is a great way for stores to sell a lot, but not a great thing for those who miss out on the sale items they really want. If you miss out, then you might get angry and that may tempt you to take it out on those around you.

Unfortunately, if you get people around you riled up, then you can be accused of inciting a riot. Urging others to commit destructive, violent, or forceful acts and creating the danger of a riot could send you to jail for up to 20 years if you’re found guilty in the first degree. Even inciting a riot in the third degree carries with it a penalty of up to one year – definitely something you need to fight back against.

Black Friday can be a great thing for those who score great deals, but it can also lead to anger and lashing out – and that can result in serious consequences if you don’t mount a strong defense.


About the Author:

A former Assistant Public Defender for the Sixth Judicial District in Duluth and former staff attorney for the Indian Legal Assistance Program, Brent R. Olson is an experienced trial lawyer who has appeared in every Courthouse in the Sixth Judicial District and taken over three dozen cases to verdict. At LaCourse, Poole & Envall, Mr. Envall focuses on family law, workers’ compensation, and criminal defense. He has a strong belief in restorative justice and helped to develop the Domestic Violence Restorative Circles program.