A felony in Minnesota is a serious crime that is punishable by a term of one year or more in prison. Some crimes that are not defined as felonies can be charged as a felony if the offender has certain prior convictions.
For information on misdemeanors, see Minnesota Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Minnesota law does not classify felony crimes into different classes. The Minnesota criminal statutes provide the possible penalties for each individual felony. The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines also govern sentencing for felonies and provide minimum sentences for some crimes.
Felonies in Minnesota range from murder—the most serious felony crime in the state—to criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping, robbery, assault, forgery and other property crimes, and controlled substance crimes. The following are specific examples of felonies in Minnesota and the possible penalties:
- Murder in the first degree – life in prison.
- Criminal vehicular homicide – up to 10 years in prison or a fine up to $20,000, or both.
- Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree – up to 30 years in prison or a fine up to $40,000, or both.
- Domestic assault – if the offender has two convictions for domestic-related offenses within the prior 10 years, the crime is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison or a fine up to $10,000, or both.
- Simple robbery – up to 10 years in prison or a fine up to $20,000, or both.
- Controlled substance crime in the fifth degree (sale of marijuana or possession of certain amounts of marijuana or other drugs) – up to 5 years in prison or a fine up to $10,000, or both.
Criminal Statute of Limitations
Minnesota law requires that a criminal prosecution begin within a certain amount of time after a crime is committed or believed to have been committed. The criminal statute of limitations limits the length of time the state can wait before filing charges against a person. The length of time varies for different crimes and some, such as crimes resulting in the death of the victim, have no time limit. For more information on the criminal statute of limitations, see Minnesota Criminal Statute of Limitations.
The Value of Good Representation
A felony conviction becomes part of your permanent criminal record. If you are convicted later of another felony, the court can consider your prior conviction and impose a harsher sentence in the new case. Being a convicted felon can hurt you when you are looking for a job and applying to rent a house or apartment. Convicted felons lose the right to vote, to carry firearms, and to obtain certain professional licenses.
An experienced attorney can determine whether you have any grounds for dismissal of the charges against you, explore plea options, or represent you at trial. Only someone familiar with the local criminal court system and cases like yours will know how good your chances are for a favorable outcome in court or at the negotiating table. A knowledgeable attorney will take all of this into consideration, assist you in making decisions about your case, and protect your rights.