Under the state of Minnesota, a misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to 90 days in prison and a fine of $1,000. Misdemeanor offenses are often considered petty offenses and many people will assume that a misdemeanor crime is nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, this is not the case. A misdemeanor offense will still show up on your criminal record, which can negatively impact your life down the road.
Minnesota Misdemeanor Offenses
There are a number of crimes that are considered misdemeanors. Furthermore, many of these offenses are committed by those under the age of 21. This includes driving offenses such as underage drinking and driving, failure to stop at a stop sign, and reckless driving. It also includes non-driving offenses, such as some shoplifting crimes, fifth degree DWI offenses, and violating an order for protection.
The Misdemeanor Court Process
If you have been accused of a misdemeanor offense, it is important that you understand the consequences of this arrest. The first thing you should do is contact an attorney to defend your rights in a court of law. Many people will try to speak for themselves or simply hope that the judge will understand that it was all a simple mistake – this is rarely the case.
You will need to attend a court date which will be decided by the judge. This first court appearance is called an arraignment. You will want to put your best foot forward, so avoid showing up in torn jeans and a t-shirt from the dirty laundry pile. You will be told of your rights, and you will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
Pleading guilty – if you plead guilty at the arraignment, the judge will give you your penalty right away. This may include a fine, jail time, community service, or several other options. In some instances, a guilty plea may be your best option, but it is important to understand what this can mean for your future.
Pleading not guilty – if you plead not guilty, your case will go to a pre-trial hearing in which the prosecutor and the attorney will attempt to reach a resolution. If this is not possible, then you will attend a jury trial down the road in which your case will be heard by a judge as well as a jury of six people. After hearing all the evidence, they will come to a conclusion about your misdemeanor arrest.
Misdemeanor Offenses and Juveniles
If you are a juvenile and have been accused of a misdemeanor crime, then your case will most likely be handled in the juvenile courts. You can expect a similar system to the traditional courts but, rather than simply focusing on your punishment, you will most likely also need to undergo rehabilitation, counseling, or community service in order to demonstrate you are committed to changing your ways and understand your error.
Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you or someone you love is facing a criminal conviction, now is the time to step up and fight back. Contact Anoka criminal lawyer Michael Brandt at 763-421-6366 for a free, no obligation consultation.