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Criminal charges can stem from a range of activities you may not necessarily consider "that bad." However, if you break a law and if the conditions are right, you can wind up being arrested for a crime and in danger of serious penalties for something you never thought would result in criminal charges.

For instance, cutting down trees in northern Minnesota proved to be a big mistake for one a man recently charged with timber trespass on state lands. This could very well be the first time such a crime will be prosecuted in this state.

According to reports, the man hired two other men to cut down birch trees growing on public land. Over three days, authorities say about 1,200 birch trees in the area had been cut down.

Theft of timber may not seem like a serious concern, or at least not one that demands criminal consequences. However, it is a growing problem in Minnesota as people cut down the trees illegally and then sell them into the "decorative knickknack market," which is seeing a massive boost in demand for birch.

Between this growing demand for the product and the fact that cutting down trees can be seen as an easy way to make some money, there is expected to be more activity in illegal birch harvesting in the coming months.

Because of this, law enforcement agents and prosecutors may be planning to ramp up their efforts to secure charges and penalties against people accused of this crime to dissuade others from engaging in the same behaviors.

What we encourage readers to take away from this post is an understanding that even though you might not think your actions rise to a level demanding criminal charges, authorities and prosecutors could have a very different opinion on the matter.

Under these circumstances, you can be convicted of a criminal offense that stains your record. You can also be looking at jail time and fines. In order to protect yourself, your freedom and your future, it is critical that you take all criminal charges seriously and consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend yourself. 

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