Minnesota classifies criminal offenses into three categories:
- Gross misdemeanors, and
These range in severity, with misdemeanors being the least serious and felonies being the most serious. Petty misdemeanors are not considered criminal offenses in Minnesota and are not included in this discussion.
What Is a Gross Misdemeanor in Minnesota?
Under Minnesota law, a gross misdemeanor is a serious criminal offense. Gross misdemeanors are considered more serious than misdemeanors but less serious than felony offenses. Gross misdemeanors in Minnesota can include:
- DUIs and DWIs;
- Repeat assaults and violations;
- Marijuana possession;
- Interfering with 911 calls
- Theft offenses between $500 – $1,000;
- Prostitution in public places;
- 5th Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct; and
- Some Criminal Vehicular Operation offenses.
Various other crimes could fall under the category of a gross misdemeanor. A Minnesota criminal attorney can assist you in figuring out whether your situation would be considered a gross misdemeanor.
Gross misdemeanors carry with them a penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine. Because gross misdemeanors are more serious than misdemeanors, you may also face a lengthy probation period of up to six years.
Aside from penalties, jail time, and probation, a gross misdemeanor can bring about “collateral consequences.” Collateral consequences are civil sanctions resulting from a criminal conviction. Collateral consequences after a gross misdemeanor can include:
- Suspension of a driver license;
- Suspension of a professional license; or
- Loss of permanent legal residency.
Gross misdemeanors also mean a permanent conviction on your criminal record.
When charged with a gross misdemeanor, you may plead criminal defenses to the charge. Criminal defenses are legitimate excuses or justifications for the actions that brought about the gross misdemeanor. These defenses may include:
- Necessity, and
Successfully raising a defense may reduce the penalty, or in some cases, lead to a not-guilty verdict.
When You Should Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer
You should contact a Minnesota criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you are facing gross misdemeanor charges. An attorney can assess the facts of your case and give you advice on how to proceed. A criminal defense attorney can assist you in weighing out your options and coming up with a possible defense.
Being charged with a gross misdemeanor can make for a very trying time. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney provides guidance, walking you through your next steps and possible recourse.
The team at Arechigo & Stokka has helped individuals facing gross misdemeanors in Minnesota for years. Our compassion and experience make us the best allies in your fight. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Let us help you achieve the best possible results.