While facing any type of charge is scary, it's important to note there are different levels of crimes and offenses, with each one carrying different potential penalties and consequences. What you're charged with will vary depending on the specific allegations against you, the statute(s) alleged to have been violated, and criminal history (if any).
From least to most severe the levels of crimes and offenses in Minnesota are: Petty Misdemeanors, Misdemeanors, Gross Misdemeanors, and Felonies.
Petty misdemeanors are not technically crimes but are instead referred to as “offenses” which are in violation of a statute, and a sentence may include a fine of not more than $300. Importantly, a conviction for a petty misdemeanor conviction cannot result in any jail time. Minn. Stat. 609.02 Subd. 4a.
A misdemeanor is the lowest level of crime that can be charged, and is punishable by a maximum of up to 90 days in jail (also referred to as “the workhouse”), and/or a $1,000 fine. Minn. Stat. 609.02 Subd. 3.
A gross misdemeanor is the “middle level” of crime that can be charged, and is punishable by a maximum of up to 365 days in jail and/or a $3,00 fine. Minn. Stat. 609.02 Subd. 4.
A felony is the highest and most serious level of crime that can be charged, and is punishable at a minimum of more than one year in prison (as opposed to jail) and varying levels of fines. Minn. Stat. 609.02 Subd. 2.
While these are the statutory maximums a person can face, the potential punishment each person may face will vary depending the type of the offense, the specific facts of their case, and their criminal history (if any). Because of this, it's crucial to consult and work with an attorney on your specific case. Contact Peterson Legal for a free consultation today!