Month: August 2011

What are false pretenses?

When an individual commits the crime of false pretenses, they misrepresent a fact in order to acquire someone else’s property. Obtaining property through false pretenses is a crime, punishable in most states by fines and imprisonment. While state laws vary in defining this crime, the general idea is the same: to be found guilty of false pretenses, the prosecutor must show that the individual acquired the property at issue by intentionally misstating a fact. This means that if an individual obtains another’s property by stating a fact that they mistakenly believe to be true, they have not committed the crime of false pretenses. Depending on the state statute, the property acquired by false pretenses can include tangible property, like a car or house, and intangible property, such as information that has been obtained.

Other common defined uses

Minnesota and Twin Cities LawyerFalse pretenses is often confused with the crime of larceny-by-trick. Larceny-by-trick is almost identical to the crime of false pretenses. However, there is one big difference: In the crime of false pretenses, the title to the property is actually transferred to the perpetrator, whereas someone found guilty of larceny-by-trick does not hold the title. A party commits larceny-by-trick when they steal another party’s property by deception. Therefore, no actual transfer of title occurs with larceny-by-trick. For instance, if an individual tells an elderly man that she is his long-lost daughter with the intent of causing him to transfer the title of his vacation house to her, she has committed the crime of false pretenses. If, instead, the individual convinced the elderly man that she was just going to borrow his car but never came back with it, this would be larceny or larceny-by-trick.

False Pretenses vs. Fraudulent Misrepresentation

The crime of false pretenses has a civil counterpart as well: a civil cause of action known as fraudulent misrepresentation. While fraudulent misrepresentation has the same legal elements as false pretenses, the court system in which a party will be charged for the crime differs. If a party intentionally deceives another, causing them to transfer title of their property, the city or state will prosecute the perpetrator for the crime of false pretenses. However, to allow the victim a remedy for the crime, the civil courts allow an individual to bring a fraudulent misrepresentation action for damages against the thief.

For a free consultation with an experienced lawyer who will aggressively represent you in the Twin Cities or Hugo, Minnesota area, contact me at: Patrick Flanagan –

Is there any way I can clear my record as a juvenile?

I like to hear general questions from clients and those needing legal advice. This one is from a teenager looking for help regarding his record:

Q: I’m 16 and received a misdemeanor citation class C a few days ago for shoplifting. It’s my first ticket ever and I was told that it would be on my record. I was wondering if there was any way I could clear my record soon. If I talk to a judge at my court can he/she dismiss it? I really don’t want this to affect my school at all.

A: The best way to insure that the matter is properly taken care of is to have support from an adult and an attorney. It is true that the matter could be placed on your record.  But as a juvenile you are afforded some protections and the fact that it is a Class C misdemeanor is better in the long run.  Juvenile records in some states have protection and limited access once you turn 21 and have been clean since 17 but you can also petition to seal or expunge a conviction. Now, the best way to avoid this is to NOT be CONVICTED so you need an attorney to help you plead this down to a lesser offence that carries no charge and to complete all community service requirements and pay restitution if need be.

For a free consultation with an experienced lawyer who will aggressively represent you, contact me at: Patrick Flanagan –