Misdemeanor Guide

Minnesota Misdemeanor

Minnesota divides its crimes into different classifications of seriousness. Felonies are the most severe of crimes and include murder, rape, kidnapping, and others. Less severe crime are called misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors. Jail sentencing and fines are the normal punishments for misdemeanors.

Petty misdemeanors lie in a separate category but are not classified as normal misdemeanors under Minnesota law. These misdemeanors can have fines of no more than two hundred or one hundred dollars and the individual will most often not serve jail time. These can include minor traffic offenses and three speeding offenses in a single year.

Driving While Intoxicated
Minnesota law states that an individual does not have to be actually driving a car to be guilty of a driving while intoxicated offense. An individual only needs to be in physical control of the vehicle for a conviction. Sitting in the car with or without key in the ignition can constitute an offense. A single DWI offense is a misdemeanor but two offenses in a five-year span or three offenses in a ten-year span will result in a gross misdemeanor charge. Having a child in the vehicle at the time will result in a gross misdemeanor, even if it is the first offense.

Driving while intoxicated can have several punishments, which include impounding of a vehicle, probation, requirement to abstain from alcohol consumption, lose of driving privileges for life, and requirement to enter rehabilitation or a treatment center. Which punishment is received depends on the number of offenses committed.

Assault and Battery and Harassment
Assault and battery have no separate distinction under Minnesota law. All private lawsuits are deemed assault cases and can be determined as either misdemeanors or felonies depending on the severity of the offense.

Harassment and stalking can are both normally classified as misdemeanors, sometimes as felonies in particular situations. Harassment includes intrusive, repeated, and unwanted gestures, acts, or words that affect someone else's security, safety, and privacy; a pattern of attending an event after notification that his or her presence is harassing another individual; targeted residential picketing specifically towards a resident that interferes with security, privacy, and safety of the residents; and repeated and unwanted letter, telegrams, phone calls, or packages to another individual.

Minnesota Misdemeanor Expungement
Expungement means the sealing of court records so they are no longer accessible to the public. Arrest records can be expunged under Minnesota law. This is only available for those who have had charges dropped before a trial took place or those who were found innocent in trial. If an individual has not plead or admitted to being guilty of a conviction, expungement is also possible. By law the court will decide if a person has reformed his or her life to where it would be less likely for another crime to be committed. In these cases, expungement is considered and can be granted

Juvenile records are able to be expunged in nearly all cases in the state of Minnesota. This usually happens sometime after an individual has become the age of eighteen.

See also:
Minnesota Felony External link (opens in new window)
Minnesota Expungement External link (opens in new window)
Minnesota Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)