Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pleading Your Criminal Case in MN (Explained)

The optimal result for a person charged with a crime obviously is a dismissal of the charges or a finding of not guilty by a judge or jury. Oftentimes, however, the goverment’s case is strong, or the accused simply wishes not to have a trial. In these instances an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney can play a pivotal role in limiting the impact that the resolution has on you.

Set forth here are some of the types of outcomes that an attorney can help you reach.

Certification as a Petty Misdemeanor

The defense attorney may negotiate a deal with the prosecutor where the offense is treated as a petty misdemeanor and then you will not have a conviction on your record.

Reduced Sentence

The length of the sentence dictates whether the crime is treated as a felony or gross misdemeanor. Therefore, a defense attorney could negotiate a deal where a person charged with a felony pleads guilty, but is sentenced to a year or less in jail. The conviction is therefore treated as a gross misdemeanor.

Stay of Adjudication

Under a stay of adjudication, the defendant admits to facts in court that support a criminal conviction, but the judge withholds finding the defendant guilty for a period of time on the condition that the person has no same or similar offenses and complies with conditions imposed by the court. If the person successfully completes the probationary term, the charges are dismissed and the plea of guilty is vacated.

Continuance Without Prosecution ("CWOP")

In a continuance without prosecution, the charges against a defendant will be dismissed after a certain period of time provided the defendant pays prosecution costs and is charged with no same or similar offenses. (CWOPs are similar to a stay of adjudication except that there typically is not an admission of fact on the record.)

Stay of Imposition

If you plead guilty or found guilty and the judges stays imposition of the sentence, a felony conviction may be dismissed and reduced to a misdemeanor offense if the defendant complies with terms of probation.

Stay of Execution

Execution of a portion or all of a sentence may be suspended for a period of time if the defendant complies with the terms of probation.


Certain county attorney offices have diversion programs that allow a defendant to avoid a conviction if they agree to participate and comply with program terms.

The Next Best Step

There is no guarantee that your case will be resolved in the fashion described above. But, The Rolloff Law Office can help to put you or someone you love in a far better position to broker such an arrangement. Contact us today - (612) 234-1165 - to learn all of your options and how we can help you obtain a result that works for you.


  1. I've been doing some research about minnesota criminal defense attorney for a college class that I've been taking this semester. I've been thinking about going to law school after I graduate and I've been doing research about the different responsibilities that different types of attorneys have. Are there more pro's than cons in the courtroom?

  2. We provide zealous representation for our clients from intake throughout trial. If you find yourself in need of legal representation, do not hesitate to contact our office criminal defense attorney