A misdemeanor charge in Minnesota is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. Common Minnesota misdemeanor charges include traffic violations such as stop sign violations, underage DWI, and driving after revocation. Non-motoring misdemeanors under Minnesota law include fifth degree assault, a first DUI or DWI, a first time violation of an order for protection and low level theft charges.

Misdemeanor Court Process

A citation or complaint is issued with a court date assigned. Some citations may be paid with a fine prior to the court date. The first appearance on a misdemeanor is known as an “arraignment.”  The defendant will be advised of his or her legal rights. The defendant may enter a guilty or a not guilty plea at the arraignment. If a guilty plea is entered, the Judge will pronounce a sentence. The sentence  may include a fine, jail time, and other probationary conditions. If a not guilty plea is entered in a misdemeanor, the case is set for a pre-trial conference. At a pre-trial conference, the prosecutor and the defense attorney will attempt to reach a resolution of the case. If no resolution of the case occurs at the pre-trial conference, the case is set for a jury trial. In a jury trial for a misdemeanor, both the State and the defendant may present evidence to a jury of six people chosen at the start of the trial.

Misdemeanors Sentenced as a More Serious Crime

There are a number of instances under Minnesota law in which misdemeanor behavior carries a felony penalty as a result of the offender’s prior record. For example, assault in the fifth degree is a felony if the offender has two or more convictions for assaultive behavior. Similarly, theft crimes of more than $200 but less than $500 are felonies if the offender has at least one previous conviction for an offense specified in that statute.

You should contact an attorney if you have been charged with a misdemeanor in Minnesota. The earlier you involve an attorney, the sooner we can gather evidence, interview witnesses and address all of the issues that are critical to your case. Call our law firm now for a consultation: (218) 346-4995.