Monday, August 22, 2011

Minnesota Misdemeanors (Explained)

In Minnesota, a Misdemeanor is defined as an offense that is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000.

The most common Misdemeanor charges include moving violations such as: Careless and Reckless Driving, Underage Drinking and Driving, and Driving After Revocation, Suspension and/or Cancellation. Some non-moving Misdemeanors include Fifth-degree Assault, Domestic Assault, Drunk Driving, and Shoplifting.

Most Misdemeanors are assessed by a citation - which can be hand delivered or mailed to you.  The ticket usually lists a court date on it. Some citations may simply be taken care of by paying a fine prior to the court date.  Some charges require you to appear in court.

The first court appearance in a Misdemeanor case is referred to as an "arraignment." At this hearing, the individual who has been charged will be advised of their rights and may enter a guilty or a not guilty plea.

If a guilty plea is entered, the Judge will usually impose the sentence at that time. Penalties often include a fine, jail time, and other conditions during a period of probation.

If a not guilty plea  is entered (and sometimes this can even be done without your having to appear in court - through your attorney) the matter is then set for a Pre-Trial hearing. At the Pre-Trial, the prosecuting attorney and the defense lawyer will attempt to reach a resolution. If no resolution is reached at this hearing the case is usually scheduled for a jury trial. In misdemeanor cases, both the State and the defendant may present evidence to a jury of six - or to a judge sitting alone.

What Should You Do?

If you have been charged with a Misdemeanor your next best move is to call an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney for information about your legal rights and how to defend your case.  For a free consultation, call the Rolloff Law Office at (612) 234-1165. 

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