Minnesota categorizes its crimes according to their severity. Murder, rape, kidnapping, and other serious crimes are classified as felonies. Misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors are terms used to describe less serious crimes. Misdemeanors are typically punished with jail time and fines.
Petty misdemeanors are classified separately from normal misdemeanors under Minnesota law. These misdemeanors can result in fines of no more than $200 or $100, and the individual will almost always avoid jail time. Minor traffic offenses and three speeding offenses in a single year are examples.
Driving Under the Influence
According to Minnesota law, a person does not have to be driving a car to be guilty of driving while intoxicated. A person only needs to be physically in control of the vehicle to be convicted. It is illegal to sit in a car with or without the key in the ignition. A single DWI offense is a misdemeanor, but two in five years or three in ten years will result in a gross misdemeanor charge. Even if it is the first offense, having a child in the vehicle at the time will result in a gross misdemeanor.
Driving while intoxicated can result in a variety of penalties, including vehicle impoundment, probation, a requirement to abstain from alcohol consumption, the loss of driving privileges for life, and the requirement to enter rehabilitation or a treatment center. The severity of the punishment is determined by the number of offenses committed.
Assault and battery, as well as harassment
Under Minnesota law, there is no distinction between assault and battery. All private lawsuits are classified as assault cases and can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies based on the severity of the offense.
Harassment and stalking are both misdemeanors in most cases, but can be felonies in some circumstances. Harassment includes intrusive, repeated, and unwanted gestures, acts, or words that affect someone else’s security, safety, or privacy; a pattern of attending an event after being informed that his or her presence is harassing another individual; targeted residential picketing specifically directed at a resident that interferes with the residents’ security, privacy, and safety; and repeated and unwanted letters, telegrams, phone calls, or packages to another individual.
Misdemeanor Expungement in Minnesota
Expungement is the process of sealing court records so that they are no longer accessible to the public. Minnesota law allows for the expungement of arrest records. This is only available to those who had their charges dropped before a trial or who were found innocent at trial. Expunction is also possible if a person has not pleaded or admitted guilt to a conviction. The court will decide whether a person has reformed his or her life to the point where another crime is less likely to be committed. Expunction is considered and may be granted in these cases.
In the state of Minnesota, juvenile records can be expunged in almost all cases. This usually occurs after an individual reaches the age of eighteen.