Gross Misdemeanor

What is a Gross Misdemeanor charge?

Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc

Under Minnesota law, crimes can be divided into felony and misdemeanor crimes.  Misdemeanor crimes can be further divided into Gross Misdemeanors and simple Misdemeanors.

Under Minnesota law, a felony is a crime punishable by one-year-and-one-day or longer imprisonment.  (But under federal law, a felony is defined as a crime punishable by one-year or longer imprisonment.  The one day difference can have large impacts, for example due to consequences on immigration status under federal law.)

A simple Misdemeanor under Minnesota law is a crime for which a person is subject to arrest, pre-trial detention, and 90 days or less of jail.

A Gross Misdemeanor is the in-between category: a crime punishable by up to 365 days.  (Note the overlap with the federal definition of felony: punishable by 365 days or more.)

What is a Gross Misdemeanor conviction?
In Minnesota, a felony charge can result in a Gross Misdemeanor conviction.  And, a gross misdemeanor charge can result in a Misdemeanor conviction.  This is based on Minnesota Statutes Section 609.13, subdivisions 1 and 2.  Subdivision 1 is discussed on the felony page here.  Subdivision 2 (2017) says:

Subd. 2.  Gross misdemeanor. Notwithstanding that a conviction is for a gross misdemeanor, the conviction is deemed to be for a misdemeanor if:
(1) the sentence imposed is within the limits provided by law for a misdemeanor as defined in section 609.02; or
(2) if the imposition of the sentence is stayed, the defendant is placed on probation, and the defendant is thereafter discharged without sentence.

The meaning of “stay of imposition” is also discussed on the felony page.

Where does a Gross Misdemeanor conviction fit in the hierarchy of conviction levels?
As covered on the felony page, a Gross Misdemeanor conviction following a guilty plea or verdict to a felony charge, is somewhat better than a felony level conviction, but still has significant felony-type consequences.  A Gross Misdemeanor conviction based on a guilty plea or verdict on a gross misdemeanor charge; is unequivocally better than any conviction resulting from a guilty plea or verdict on a felony charge.

When it comes to potential incarceration, a person with an executed sentence to a year-and-one-day or longer (felony sentence) normally will be delivered to the Minnesota Commissioner of Corrections with a Warrant of Commitment to serve time in Minnesota state prison.  On the other hand, a person with an executed sentence of 91-days to 365-days (Gross Misdemeanor sentence) will remain under court jurisdiction and delivered to the County Jail (sometimes called “the workhouse”).

As one would expect, a Gross Misdemeanor conviction will have worse consequences than a simple Misdemeanor conviction.

Question?  Call Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher at (612) 333-1500.