What to Know about Misdemeanors in Minnesota
A person convicted of a misdemeanor in Minnesota faces jail time of up to 90 days and a maximum fine of $1,000. Common misdemeanors in Minnesota include traffic violations, driving after revocation, and underage DWI. There are also non-motoring misdemeanor offenses in Minnesota that include a first time violation of an order for protection, fifth degree assault, low level theft charges, and the list goes on.
The Court Process
When a person is charged with a misdemeanor, a complaint or citation is issued with a court date automatically assigned. Some citations may be paid with a fine prior to the court date in order to avoid having to go to court. If the fine is not paid, it is important to show up to court and the fine may still apply if convicted.
The first court appearance is called an “arraignment” and is the time in which the defendant is informed of his or her rights. At this time the defendant may state that they are innocent or guilty. If a guilty plea is entered, the judge will impose a sentence right then and there. If the plea is not guilty, the case will be scheduled for a pre-trial conference. At the pre-trial conference, a resolution will be attempted. If no resolution can be reached, the case will be set for jury trial.
In a jury trial, a jury of 6 people will be chosen and both the defense and the State may present evidence in the case.
Minnesota Misdemeanor Sentencing
There are some instances in which a felony penalty may be imposed if the defendant has a prior record. For instance, an offender has two or more convictions for assault, a fifth degree assault could carry a felony sentence.
Also, theft crimes involving $200, but less than $500 are felonies if there has been at least one previous theft conviction.
Otherwise the sentence may include a fine, jail time, and other probationary conditions set forth by the judge.
How a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney Helps
When you or a family member has been charged with a misdemeanor, it pays to have the proper representation by your side. A Minnesota defense attorney knows the laws in Minnesota and can help in gathering evidence that will work in your favor, as well as provide an aggressive defense that will prove effective in a court of law.
Unfortunately, there are some individuals who try to represent themselves and are run over by the State because there are certain areas of the law that the defendant may not know about that could clear them in the case. Having a defense attorney in Minnesota can help with this issue.
So when faced with a misdemeanor, whether you feel you deserve it or not, it pays to know what the process is like, what the consequences are, and how important it is to ensure the proper legal representation is in place in order to achieve the best possible outcome.
Please contact our attorney for the most up to date information regarding the current laws. This article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.