Skip to content
Crimes | Types of Criminal Charges » Minnesota Offense Levels » Misdemeanor Offense Level

Misdemeanor Offense Level

What is a Misdemeanor in Minnesota?

A Minnesota Misdemeanor is a crime; but with a maximum sentence of 90 days or less, or a fine of up to $1,000, or both. Minnesota Statutes Section 609.02, subd. 3.

It is the least serious level of crime. (A petty is “not a crime.”)

Even though the maximum penalty is 90 days jail, judges rarely sentence anyone to the maximum.

Compared to a Gross Misdemeanor and a Petty: Sometimes we use the term “simple Misdemeanor.” The “simple” modifier distinguishes it from a “Gross” (big), and from a “Petty” (small).

lion statute
Protect against a misdemeanor

What is a Misdemeanor conviction?

Level of charge vs. conviction: When a judge adjudicates a person guilty of a felony, gross, or misdemeanor; a misdemeanor level conviction can result. This is due to Minnesota Statutes Section 609.13 (2022). For example, see subd. 3:

“Subd. 3. Misdemeanors. If a defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor and is sentenced, or if the imposition of sentence is stayed, and the defendant is thereafter discharged without sentence, the conviction is deemed to be for a misdemeanor for purposes of determining the penalty for a subsequent offense.”

Minnesota Statutes Section 609.13 (2022), subd. 3

However, a misdemeanor-level conviction resulting from a felony charge, may still bring felony-type consequences.

Is a Stay of Imposition better than another type of probation?

In a misdemeanor case, no.  A stay of imposition does not reduce the level of conviction compared to the level of the charge.

Can a traffic violation be a misdemeanor in Minnesota?
Can a traffic violation be a misdemeanor in Minnesota?

Can a traffic violation be a Minnesota misdemeanor?

Every level of crime can be traffic, drivers license or motor vehicle-related.  Criminal Vehicular Operation is typically a Felony, but can be a Gross, for example. 

A prosecutor can charge a Speeding Ticket as a misdemeanor. In most cases, however, prosecutors charge speeding as a petty.

Regardless of level of offense, the Court will certify any drivers license, driving or motor vehicle conviction; to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS). And DPS then adds the conviction to the driver’s license record. DPS may then revoke or take other action against the driver’s license.

How long do misdemeanors stay on your record in Minnesota?

Forever.  Any criminal conviction stays on your public court record forever.  They never go away just with time passing.

In fact, people do genealogical research on ancestors using court records, including criminal records.  A defendant may eventually petition the court for expungement, or sealing of their criminal court record.  But most find it too difficult.   Those who do have no guarantee that a judge will grant it. And Minnesota’s expungement remedy is no longer a full remedy.

A good defense attorney can often prevent “a conviction” in the first place.  So, bottom line, this is the fastest, cheapest and best way to keep your record clean.

Examples of Minnesota misdemeanor charges

Domestic assault

Disorderly conduct


Gallagher Criminal Defense logo 200

Theft – shoplifting


Traffic & Driving Offenses

These are the most common types of cases that prosecutors charge at this level of offense.

Do I need a defense lawyer?

Yes. The consequences of a criminal conviction record can reduce your annual income for decades, due to employment background checks.

Other consequences follow a public criminal record. And in some cases, you may lose your civil rights due to a conviction.

The fastest, cheapest and best way to keep your record clean is to hire a good defense attorney.

Minnesota Misdemeanor Attorney Thomas Gallagher
Minnesota Misdemeanor Attorney Thomas Gallagher

Thomas C. Gallagher is a Minnesota Defense Attorney with the best ratings and 35 years experience helping clients keep their records clean.

Question? Call Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher at 612 333-1500

How to Know: Do I Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

What are the four Minnesota offense levels?

Minnesota Crimes

Call Now Button