Criminal Prosecution

The Attorney's Office is responsible for prosecuting adults charged with felony crimes, as well as some gross misdemeanors and misdemeanors. A crime is considered a wrong against the state. Therefore, prosecutors represent the State of Minnesota and not individuals or law enforcement. A prosecutor's role involves:

  • Filing criminal complaints
  • Making sentencing recommendations
  • Preparing witnesses for trials
  • Presenting certain cases to a grand jury
  • Providing legal advice and training to law enforcement
  • Representing the state in court hearings and trial
  • Reviewing the investigations provided by law enforcement

Levels of Criminal Offenses

The laws of Minnesota establish four levels of criminal offenses:

  • Level 1: Petty misdemeanors punishable by up to a $300 fine
  • Level 2: Misdemeanors punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail
  • Level 3: Gross misdemeanors punishable by up to a $3,000 fine and 1 year in jail
  • Level 4: Felonies punishable by more than 1 year and 1 day in prison

Felony Level Crimes

Examples of felony level crimes include:

  • Certain forms of child abuse
  • Drug offenses
  • Murder
  • Serious property offenses
  • Sexual assault

City & County Jurisdictions

Misdemeanors and certain gross misdemeanors occurring within the City of North Mankato and the City of St. Peter are prosecuted by the city attorneys for those jurisdictions. The county attorney also prosecutes misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors that occur outside St. Peter and North Mankato.

Criminal Activity

County attorneys are not investigators and do not investigate crimes. All complaints of criminal activity need to be reported to law enforcement officers where the crime occurred. Law enforcement will then determine whether to initiate an investigation, gather evidence and, when appropriate, submit the case to the prosecutor for review and a charging decision.

Rights of a Defendant

Prosecutors do not represent defendants and cannot provide legal advice to a defendant. If a defendant does not believe that he or she can afford an attorney, the defendant may apply for the services of a Public Defender at their 1st court appearance.