Monday, December 7, 2015

Should I Hire a Defense Attorney? (Explained)

In the State of Minnesota there are four basic levels of offenses/violations: Petty Misdemeanors, Misdemeanors, Gross Misdemeanors, and felonies.  Here is some information on what those terms mean - in terms of possible consequences.  If you have additional questions, you should contact a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney

A Misdemeanor is the lowest crime you can be charged with in Minnesota.  (A Petty Misdemeanor ... due to the fact that no jail time can be assessed, among other rationale, is technically not a crime.  More information on this can be found here.)   A Felony is the highest level crime you can be charged with.  Unlike other jurisdictions, the State of Minnesota does not have different levels of Misdemeanors and Felonies.  As such, this means is that the terms encompass wide array of offenses.


A “Misdemeanor” refers to any crime that can be punished by up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.  That’s it.  That’s all it means.  If you say that you have been convicted of a misdemeanor, it doesn’t tell me anything, except that you’ve been convicted of a low-level crime.


A “felony” refers to any crime that can be punished by more than a year in prison.  Like saying you’ve been convicted of a “misdemeanor,” telling me you’ve been convicted of a “felony” doesn’t tell me much.

Unfortunately, if you tell most non-lawyers that you’ve been convicted of a felony, they assume the worst.  One of the most unfortunate sets of crimes is the drug offense hierarchy.  The lowest level is a petty misdemeanor; possessing 42.5 grams or less of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor (not even a crime because you can’t serve jail time for it).  Possessing 42.6 grams of marijuana is a felony.  There’s no in-between.  There’s no such thing as a misdemeanor drug offense.  But you may never serve a day of jail time for either offense, and the fine may be the same $300 for each offense.  This is why telling me you’ve been convicted of a felony doesn’t tell me much.  But I’m a lawyer.  There is a huge stigma in the community about felonies.  This is largely based on not knowing things like this.

Similarly, a misdemeanor can be anything from a first-time DWI to theft to assault to certain prostitution offenses.  If you tell me you’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor, I need more information.

You are only going to get one, good chance to earn the right result for your case.  Do yourself a favor - contact the Rolloff Law Office to set up a FREE CONSULTATION before you do anything.  Call today: (612) 234-1165. 


  1. A fantastic read….very literate and informative. Many thanks

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  2. This blog is very informative the stuff you provide I really enjoyed reading.

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  3. I have started reading articles casually in blogs to improve my knowledge, but after gone through the articles only, i come to know about the basic defense levels. Explained about the levels of defense was really great. Because a person should come to know at which point he could approach the lawyers and how to manage the offense if it is not much critical.

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