A conviction for a misdemeanor crime in Minnesota results in a lengthy jail sentence, expensive fines, and other harsh penalties. Additionally, you can also receive a permanent criminal record which can negatively affect your personal life and professional reputation.
Even if the prosecution has a strong case against you and obtaining a “not guilty” verdict would be quite difficult, there are several diversion programs in Minnesota to help you avoid conviction and the associated consequences upon completion. The prosecution may accept or offer enrollment in a diversion program as part of a plea deal. However, if you have been charged with a felony or assault, or have been convicted of a previous crime, you are automatically ineligible for a diversion program.
The following are the types of diversion programs available to defendants in Minnesota:
- Driver Diversion Program – If you have lost your driver’s license due to citations that went unpaid or your drove while your license was suspended, you can regain your driving privileges while working to reinstate your license through this program. You need to establish a payment play for your fines, pay for insurance, attend four hours’ worth of training sessions, and written and driving tests at the end. Individuals who owe child support without establishing a payment plan, have outstanding judgment, are involved in a car accident, and charged with DWI or a felony are not eligible.
- Traffic Education – If you have been charged with a moving violation such as speeding or reckless driving, this program enables you to take an online course and exam which teaches you the state driving laws and good habits behind the wheel.
- Community Restorative Justice – This program enables you and the community where the crime was committed to form a restitution agreement—which includes apology letters and community service—in exchange for the entire case to be dismissed. Many misdemeanor crimes are eligible, such as alcohol-related misdemeanors, drug-related misdemeanors, indecency, loitering, disturbing the peace, and littering.
- Interact Diversion Program – If you are charged with obstructing legal process—along with petty misdemeanor charges—this program allows you to speak with law enforcement about their perspective and the reason for the charges you face—unless your case involved force used against an officer or threat of force. It is designed to encourage community dialogue with law enforcement and gain a better understanding of police procedures.
- Northern Star Juvenile Diversion Program – For juveniles facing criminal charges, this program provides educational courses for youths to learn successful skills, understanding the viewpoints of police officers, and encourage conflict resolution. Individuals must be between 13 and 18 years of age to participate.
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor crime in Minneapolis, contact our experienced legal team at Brockton D. Hunter, P.A. and let us help you determine your available legal options and obtain the best possible results in your case.