Criminal Offenses

Minnesota classifies crimes into felonies and misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are the less serious of the two and typically carry no more than 1 year in jail. Felonies, however, carry higher potential sentences and further repercussions.


Minnesota Misdemeanors Offenses

In Minnesota there are three types of misdemeanors. Petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, and gross misdemeanors all have different prescribed potential sentences under Minnesota law.

Petty misdemeanors include most traffic offenses are not considered crimes. The sentence potential for this classification is up to $300 in fines. Jail time is not a sentencing option for this classification

Misdemeanors are considered crimes and carry a potential sentence of up to 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines. Some misdemeanors include driving without a license, DWI (1st offense), and theft valued under $500.

Gross misdemeanors are the most serious classification of misdemeanors and bring a potential penalty of one year in jail and $3,000 in fines. DWI (second o0ffense) and theft valued at $500- $1,000 are some gross misdemeanors.

Minnesota Felony Offenses

Felonies are sentenced according to Minnesota statute. Most of the felony charges have a prescribed sentencing range listed in the law. Some, however, are dictated by the state sentencing guidelines as seen in this chart:

Offense Sentencing Range (in months)
Sale of simulated controlled substance 12-19
Theft (valued $5,000 or less)

Check Forgery ($251- $2,500)

Theft (valued over $5,000) 12-23
Non-residential Burglary 12-30
Residential Burglary

Simple Robbery

3rd degree Controlled Substance Offense 21-57
Felony DWI 36-72
Aggravated Robbery

2nd degree Controlled Substance Offense

1st Degree Assault

1st degree Controlled Substance Offense

2nd (unintentional) and 3rd Degree Murder 150-240
2nd Degree Murder (intentional) 306-426

The judge determines your sentence within the range by looking at your criminal history and the circumstances of your offense.

Minnesota Criminal Sentencing

When your sentencing date arrives you may be ready for closure. The criminal process is lengthy and your sentencing typically marks the end of your interaction with the courts. Knowing what kind of penalty you may be facing can be reassuring.

Although you may be facing small fines or serious prison time, a skilled attorney will keep on working on your behalf until the very end.

Pre-sentence Investigation

When a judge sentences you he will take several things into consideration. One of the greatest sentencing tools used by judges is the pre-sentence report. This report is typically prepared by a probation officer and includes many things to assist the judge in reaching a sentencing decision.

The pre-sentence report may include:

  • Family history
  • Psychological evaluation or history
  • Connections in the community
  • Employment history
  • Criminal history
  • Victim statements
  • Circumstances of the offense

The most important aspect of the report, however, is the sentencing recommendation from the investigating officer. Although the judge does not always follow the recommendation given by the officer, he will give it some attention.

The investigating officer uses her experience as a probation professional to determine if you would be a good candidate for community supervision and then makes a recommendation based on her skills and what she found during the course of the investigation.

Once the judge has looked over the laws, pre-sentence report, and any other details, he will sentence you accordingly.

Your defense attorney can make a big difference, even at sentencing. Even after you have been found guilty, we can make sentencing arguments that may help you get a lesser penalty.

Please contact us for a free consultation on any criminal charge in Minnesota. Find out for yourself how we can help, with no further obligation.