When someone is arrested, one of the first questions that may come to mind is, “Do I need a lawyer?” Many people worry about the costs of private legal representation and do not wish to risk losing. If a person is charged with a misdemeanor, he/she may not think hiring an attorney is necessary. However, it is imperative to at least speak with a criminal defense attorney, whether it’s a misdemeanor or a felony.
Misdemeanor Penalties in Minnesota
A first-time DWI, domestic violence, reckless driving that doesn’t involve severe bodily harm, simple theft, and fifth-degree assault are all considered misdemeanors in Minnesota. These crimes are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.
Furthermore, subsequent DWI offenses, repeat violations, and other petty theft crimes can be classified as gross misdemeanors. Maximum penalties for this type of misdemeanor include up to one year in jail and/or a maximum fine of $3,000.
Minor traffic offenses and other citations are considered petty misdemeanors, which do not result in jail time. Instead, a petty misdemeanor can result in a maximum fine of $300.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
As you can see, the penalties for misdemeanors in Minnesota are quite serious. Not only can a conviction lead to jail time, but also a permanent mark on your criminal record that can hinder your employment and educational opportunities. Going through the legal system on your own can leave you vulnerable to serving the maximum penalties.
An experienced lawyer can thoroughly review your case, gather evidence, identify the potential errors made by law enforcement, and develop an effective defense strategy to protect your rights and future. If an attorney is not able to get your case dismissed, it is still possible to get your charges reduced in a plea deal.