Sieben & Cotter Trial Lawyers

Minnesota Offense Levels

In order to understand how enhanceable offenses operate, you must first understand the levels of criminal offenses in Minnesota.  There are four:

PETTY MISDEMEANORMISDEMEANORGROSS MISDEMEANORFELONY
  • Not considered a “crime”
  • Maximum punishment:  $300 Fine
  • Maximum punishment:  $1,000 Fine and/or 90 days jail
  • Maximum Punishment:  $3,000 Fine and/or up to 1 year in jail
  • Maximum punishment:  unlimited fine (dependent on specific crime committed) and/or lifetime imprisonment (at least one year and one day in prison)

How do Enhanceable Offenses work?

A number of Minnesota’s criminal offenses are “enhanceable” – meaning under certain circumstances the penalties (jail/prison time, length probation, and/or fines) become more severe or aggravated.  In practice, enhancements will transform the offense to a higher/more severe level (i.e. a misdemeanor becomes a gross misdemeanor, or in some cases, a felony).  In many situations,  this is either due to someone committing the same or similar offense after a prior conviction, or the person committed the offense in a way that made it more severe (i.e. an aggravating factor was present).  For example, in the DWI context the offense becomes more severe if you have a prior conviction within 10-years of the current offense; additionally, the DWI can also become more severe if you blood alcohol content (BAC) is over 2X the legal limit or if you have a child under 16 years old in the car.

Enhanceable Offenses in Minnesota

DRIVING WHILE IMPAIREDVIOLATION ORDER FOR PROTECTION/HARASSMENT RESTRAINING ORDERFIFTH DEGREE ASSAULTDOMESTIC ASSAULTINTERFERENCE WITH PRIVACYINDECENT EXPOSURE
Charges based on aggravating factors, and each prior impaired driving incident within ten years is counted.Charges are enhanced if there is a violation of an order within ten years of a previous qualified domestic violence related offense.Charges are enhanced if: there is a repeat offense: (1) against the same victim within ten years of a previous qualified domestic violence offense; (2) within three years of a previous qualified domestic violence offense; (3) with two or more previous qualified domestic violence offenses against the same victim for ten years.Charges are enhanced if assault is committed against a family or household member for ten years.Charges are enhanced if a person violates privacy after a previous conviction.Charges are enhanced if a person violates privacy after a previous conviction.

The importance of getting experienced legal counsel

You may think that because your case is only a misdemeanor the law is simple and straightforward.  Its common in these instances that people will plead guilty without hiring an attorney because the offense does not carry severe penalties.  That is until they find out that the offense was enhanceable and they are now facing aggravated charges.  Additionally, criminal charges can come with extremely serious, life-long consequences—things you may not even think about.

Contact us today for your free consultation

If you face serious criminal charges, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Call Sieben & Cotter at 651-455-1555 to arrange your free and comprehensive consultation, or send a request for more information. We will arrange an in-person meeting at our office, or will meet you wherever is most convenient for you.

The information in this blog post is provided for general informational purposes only. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Sieben & Cotter, PLLC, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.