Information: assault charges in Minnesota

There are 5 different levels of assault in the State of Minnesota.  The levels are 1st degree, 2nd degree, 3rd degree, 4th degree, and 5th degree, with 1st degree felony assault being the most serious.

First 1st degree assault is a felony assault with the infliction of great bodily harm.  Great bodily harm is generally speaking, an assault with such injuries inflicted that they are likely to cause death or involves a permanent injury.  Conviction of 1st degree assault is in the category of a crime of violence, with the lifetime loss of Second Amendment rights.

Second 2nd degree assault is a felony assault, which usually involves the use of a dangerous weapon.  A dangerous weapon can include a firearm, a knife, a motor vehicle, to name a few.  A second degree assault is also categorized as a crime of violence under Minnesota law.

Third 3rd degree assault is also a felony.  It involves the infliction of substantial bodily harm.  Substantial bodily harm typically involves a broken bone.  A third degree assault is also considered a crime of violence.

Fourth 4th degree assault is a felony, and usually involves an assault upon a police officer, firefighter, or a prison guard, or the like. 

Fifth 5th degree assault is a misdemeanor.  The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor is up to 90 days in jail and a $1000.00 fine.  An assault is the intentional infliction of bodily harm upon another, or, doing an act with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death.  The injuries in a 5th degree assault usually involve bruising, or no injuries. 

A related category is domestic assault.  Domestic assault is an assault that typically involves a romantic partner, or a family member.  Under state law, following a conviction of misdemeanor domestic assault, a person is prohibited from possessing firearms for 3 years.  Under federal law, a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence conviction results in a lifetime ban on possession of firearms. 

A first time domestic assault is a misdemeanor.  A second domestic assault conviction may be a gross misdemeanor.  A third conviction of domestic assault may be a felony. 

A DANCO, a Domestic Abuse No Contact Order is usually issued in domestic assault cases.  This prohibits contact with the alleged victim.  A violation of a DANCO Order is a new criminal charge, in addition to the already pending domestic assault charge.

Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson, lawyer of excellence and experience over 30 years, can represent you in assault and domestic assaults case.  For representation, call Lynne Torgerson today at (612) 339-5073!

A Second Amendment Primer

     Lynne Torgerson is a very successful Second Amendment Lawyer, with extensive experience and knowledge.  She is fully committed to protecting your Second Amendment rights.

     The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

     Keep means to possess, and bear means to carry.  Carry means to carry in public.

     Second Amendment rights are uniquely American rights.  Other countries do not guarantee a right to keep and bear arms.

     Justia Scalia, of the United States Supreme Court, highlighted that there are three (3) primary reasons for the Second Amendment.

     First, so that American citizens have the ability to engage in self defense, defense of family, property, and the like.

     Second, so that we have American citizens, armed, on the ground, to aid the military in the event of an attack against the mainland of the United States.  This also reflects that it is the American citizenry that is the Militia.  We the People are the Militia.  Having American citizens armed also deters attacks against the United States. 

     Third, so that American citizens have the ability to defend themselves against governmental tyranny.  This also reflects that since we are to have the ability to defend ourselves against governmental tyranny, we must also have arms comparable to those that our government has; so that we have the ability to defend ourselves against governmental tyranny.  Having American citizens armed also deters against governmental tyranny.

     It is also important to highlight that at the time of the enactment of the Second Amendment, there were laws on the books that required citizens to have a minimum number of firearms and ammunition; if one did not have enough, then the person was fined.  Thus, it was unlawful to not have enough firearms and ammunition.

     History has shown that when governments have sought to disarm its citizens, that following said disarmament, there has often been a slaughter of millions of its own citizens, by the government who disarmed its citizens.

     Hence, we must always support the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.  It is vital right.

     Lynne Torgerson, a lawyer of excellence and experience of over 30 years, can represent you in Second Amendment litigation, permit to purchase denials, carry permit denials, gun purchase denials, gun rights restoration, etc.  Call today at (612) 339-5073.

Stiffer penalties for child pornography

Minneapolis MN Theft Crime Attorney

The penalties for possession or dissemination of child pornography continue to get more severe.

A person can be prosecuted for possession of child pornography in both Minnesota State courts, and, federal district court.  The penalties in Minnesota State courts are significant, and even more so in federal court.  A sentence in federal court can easily range from 20 to 40 years.  Thus support for the phrase “don’t make a federal case out of it.”  The cases in federal court are generally much bigger than those in state court.

The Minnesota statutes provide that it is the police of the legislature in enacting criminal child pornography statutes to protect minors from the physical and psychological damage caused by their being used in pornographic work depicting sexual conduct which involves minors.

In Minnesota, the term minor means any person under the age of 18.   

     Pornographic work includes a photograph, videotape, or drawing, which uses a minor to depict actual or simulated sexual conduct.  Consent by the minor or her parent is not a defense to a criminal charge.  It is an affirmative defense that the pornographic work was produced using only person who were 18 years or older. 

     In Minnesota, under section 617.247 of the Minnesota Statutes, subdivision 4, a person who possess a pornographic work involving a minor is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced for up to 5 years.  For a subsequent offense, the person may be sentenced up to 10 years in prison.  For multiple count cases, where a person possesses more than one image, the sentenced are stacked, which can result in sentences of several years.  It is the possession of many images which can result in very long prison sentences.

     Under Minnesota law, section 617.247, subdivision 3, a person who disseminates pornographic work involving a minor, knowing or with reason to know its content and character, is guilty of a felony and ma be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 7 years.  For a subsequent offense a person may be sentenced for up to 15 years. 

     Under Minnesota law, section 617.246 of the Minnesota Statutes, it is unlawful for a person to employ or use a minor to engage in or assist others to engage minors in any sexual performance or pornographic work.  Any person who violates this law is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 10 years.  A subsequent offense may result in a prison term for up to 15 years.

     The emotions of the public tend to get very inflamed in regard to people charged with these crimes.  We therefore have to remember that people have to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  This is a very important principle to put into practice because otherwise innocent people may be convicted.  That also cannot be allowed to occur.  So, by protecting the constitutional rights of the guilty, we are also protecting innocent people.  That is what has made the American system of criminal justice better than those of other countries around the world.  Our right to trial by jury is also critical.

Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson has been practicing law for over 30 years and knows what she is doing, and, does it well.  She represents people on all criminal charges throughout the State of Minnesota.  Please call today at (612) 339-5073!

Theft charges in Minnesota

Minneapolis Pre-Charge Criminal Defense Attorney

What should you do if you are charged with theft in Minnesota?

            There are three (3) levels of possible theft charges in the state courts of the State of Minnesota.

            The lowest level of a theft related charge is a misdemeanor.  The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor theft charge in the State of Minnesota is up to 90 days in jail and a $1000.00 fine.

            The next  level of a theft related charge is gross misdemeanor.  The maximum penalty for a gross misdemeanor theft charge in the State of Minnesota is up to 1 year in jail, and a $3000.00 fine.

            The next level of a theft related charge is a felony.  Where a theft crime can be punished by one (1) year and one (1) day or more, the charge is a felony. 

            The level is largely determined by the amount of money involved, or, the value of the property involved.  If the amount of money involved is small, or, the value of the property is relatively little, then the charge is likely to be a misdemeanor.  If the amount of money involved is large, or the value of property significant, then the charge will likely be a felony.

            The most common type of theft related case is shoplifting.  The first time someone is charged with shoplifting, a good lawyer is likely going to be able to keep this off your record, and have you complete some sort of theft prevention class.

            Please be aware that retail stores have cameras, and loss prevention specialists.  Generally, they are very good at what they do.  They have seen all sorts of theft schemes, and can often predict what people are going to do, before they do it.

            A more difficult type of case to deal with is where retail employees commit theft from their employer, such as Target, or the like.  Again, large retail companies have cameras and loss prevention specialists, and, keep track of inventory, so generally speaking, if a person is committing theft from their employer, they will get caught.  Theft from employers is frowned upon. 

            The next most common type of theft is financial transaction card fraud.  This, generally, is always a felony. 

            A more serious type of theft is burglary.  Burglary involves entering a building, without consent, with the intent to commit a crime therein.  A building can include a garage, a business, or a dwelling.  It is always more serious if a person burglarizes a dwelling.  Even more serious is if a person is present, who is not an accomplice.  Historically, the sentence for a burglary of a dwelling is an automatic prison sentence. 

            When a person is charged with theft or theft related crime, the case needs to be handled with care.  If a person has a theft conviction, they are going to have a long term collateral consequence of probable difficulty in obtaining employment.  Particular difficulty will be had in obtaining employment with companies like banks, or, anywhere you have to deal with money, such as a cashier, a convenience store, etc.

            For representation on a theft related charge, it is important to hire a good criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.  Lynne Torgerson, Esq. is such a good criminal defense lawyer.  She knows what she is doing, and does it well.  For help with your case, call expert Minneapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson today!  (612) 339-5073 

Probation and Parole Violations Minnesota

In Minnesota, when a defendant in a criminal case is convicted via a plea of guilty or a finding of guilt by a jury, subsequently, they are sentenced.  When a defendant is sentenced, there are four (4) primary points:

            Charge:           will you be convicted of anything, and if so what?

            Time:              will there be a jail, workhouse or prison sentence?  If so, of what

                                    length?  Can this be satisfied via community service, sentence to

                                    service (a work crew), at the workhouse, or in prison?  Can there

                                    be a continuance for dismissal, a stay of adjudication, a stay of

                                    imposition of sentence, a stay of execution of sentence?

            Fine:                what will the amount of fine be?  Can a portion of the fine be

                                    stayed?  Can this be worked off?  Are there any surcharges? 

            Probation:       length and terms of probation?  Treatment?  No contact order?

                                    No use of drugs and alcohol?  Counseling?  Restitution? 


            In approximately 99% of criminal cases, there will be a term of probation, various conditions.  Very common conditions of probation include no same or similar offenses, remain law abiding, do not leave the State of Minnesota, anger management programming, no contact with victims, no contact with co-defendants, no use of drugs or alcohol, random testing, completion of drug and alcohol treatment, inpatient and outpatient, aftercare, counseling, sex offender treatment, no contact with minors, attend school, maintain employment, maintain curfew, no viewing of pornography, no use of the internet, no use of social media, no possession of firearms or ammunition, do not return to retail store, keep appointments with your probation officer, etc.

            The purpose of probation is rehabilitation.  And, essentially, a defendant is put on probation on the condition that they remain law abiding.  They need to remain law abiding in the community.  If they are not able to do so, then, they are declared not amenable to probation, and then they can be ordered to serve jail time, or, in felony cases, their probation can be revoked and they can be sentenced to prison.

            If a defendant violates a condition of probation, then the probation officer will issue a warrant, and request a probation violation hearing.  At the first hearing, the defendant will be called upon to enter either an admission to a violation, whereby the will be sentenced.  Or, if they enter a denial, a contested hearing will be scheduled.

            When a probation violation is alleged, the test at the hearings is:

  1. Was there a violation of probation?
  2. Was the violation intentional or inexcusable?
  3. Does the need for confinement outweigh the policies favoring probation?

So, even if there is a violation found, a sentence to incarceration should not be automatic.

The trial court is required to also consider whether or not the need for confinement outweighs the policies favoring probation.  If it does not, the defendant should be punished, but he should not be sentenced to prison.

Minnesota Probation Violation Lawyer Lynne Torgerson, a lawyer of excellence and experience of over 25 years, can represent you on a probation violation.  Ms. Torgerson also handles parole violations and violations of supervised release, in federal court cases.  Call Best Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson today at (612) 339-5073!

Post Conviction Relief in Minnesota

What types of Post Conviction Relief are there in Minnesota?

            The main one is a Petition for Post Conviction Relief.

            A Petition for Post Conviction Relief in Minnesota is filed with the trial court.  The trial court where the conviction was had.  In a Petition for Post Conviction Relief, the remedy sought is a reversal of the conviction, or, in other words, to have the conviction vacated.  To support a reversal of the conviction, there must have been defects in the proceedings that would warrant reversing the conviction.

            Some examples include– you did not get a fair trial.  Or, there was a constitutional violation.  Or, evidence was admitted that should not have been admitted.  Or, the court did not apply the law correctly in determining your sentence.  Or, you have newly discovered evidence that would exonerate you. 

            A Petition for Post Conviction Relief must be filed within two (2) years of your conviction.  That means within two (2) years of being sentenced.  This is a very short time frame.  If the Petition for Post Conviction Relief is not filed within two (2) years of your conviction, then you must establish a good reason for why the court should make an exception to the two (2) year requirement, for example, it is in the interests of justice.  This is a difficult, but not impossible burden of proof.

            Another important requirement is that you must raise all bases for relief in the first Petition for Post Conviction Relief.  Subsequent petitions are frowned upon.  The general rule is that you must raise all possible issues for relief in the first petition.  All issues that are known, or should be known with the exercise of reasonable diligence must be raised.

            The Petition for Post Conviction relief is then filed in the trial court where the conviction was had.  The trial court then reviews the Petition.  The trial court may hold a hearing on the Petition.  This is when witnesses would testify, and evidence would be entered.  The trial court would then issue a ruling as to whether or not your petition would be granted.  If granted, then essentially, your case goes back to square one, unless it is due to some un-remediable error, such as a denial of a Speedy Trial.  If the latter, your conviction would be permanently reversed, and no re-trial would take place.  Other times, you would be granted a new trial.  Then, you could re-do a settlement negotiation, or, have another jury trial.

            If your Petition is denied and you subsequently bring another Petition for Post Conviction Relief, it will be procedurally barred if the issue could have been brought earlier.  One exception to this rule is if there is newly discovered evidence.  If it is newly discovered evidence, then the trial court may address a second or subsequent Petition for Post Conviction Relief.

            Once a conviction has been entered, generally, it is very difficult to get it reversed.  It is best to handle your case the best way the first time around.  However, sometimes, errors have occurred that need to be addressed via a Petition for Post Conviction Relief.

            Ms. Torgerson, a lawyer of excellence  and experience of over 25 years, has had success in this type of case.  For help with a Petition for Post Conviction Relief, call expert attorney Lynne Torgerson at (612) 339-5073.

Criminal appeals in Minnesota

Minneapolis Criminal Appeals Attorney

            How does one appeal a case in the State of Minnesota?

            First, in Minnesota, there is the State court system.  In Minnesota, we have a trial court, a Minnesota Court of Appeals, and a Minnesota Supreme Court.

            The lowest level of court in Minnesota is Conciliation Court.  Conciliation Court cases have a maximum claim value of $15,000.00.  The filing fee is $75.00.  Conciliation Court is for lesser value cases.  The Conciliation Court is set up to help litigants ease the procedural burden, and parties, plaintiffs and defendants, should usually proceed without a lawyer, which is called Pro Se.  They need to proceed without a lawyer because typically the dollar amount of the value of the case is less than what attorney fees would cost.  So, you typically show up, tell your story to a judge, and then the judge decides the case.  Similar to a Judge Judy situation.  The losing party can appeal to the trial court, also known as the District Court.   

            At the trial court level, the trial court is the court of first impression for all other court cases.  Criminal cases are prosecuted in the trial court.  A criminal case must be prosecuted in the county where the crime was committed.  City prosecutors prosecute misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors.  County attorneys prosecute felonies.  A criminal case can take anywhere from one week to a year to resolve.  Most cases are settled per plea agreement.  If a case does not settle, it is decided by a jury trial.  There are 6 jurors in a misdemeanor case.  There are 12 jurors in a felony case.

            If a defendant is convicted by a jury, he can appeal.  Usually, in a criminal case, the defendant has 90 days from the date of sentencing to take an appeal.  If a defendant fails to file a Notice of Appeal within that 90 days, he is forever barred from taking an appeal. 

            To take an appeal, a defense counsel will need to order all of the transcripts of the case, and then, when filing the appeal, a filing fee of $400 or $500 will usually be required.

            A criminal defendant has a right to take an appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  After the Notice of Appeal is filed, later, the defendant will need to file and serve an Appellant’s Brief.  The prosecution then will file its Respondent’s Brief.  The defendant then can file a Reply Brief.  Subsequently, oral argument will be scheduled.  Oral argument is then made to a 3 judge panel of judges at the Minnesota Court of Appeals.  The 3 judge panel then issues its written opinion, either upholding what happened at the trial court, or reversing the conviction.

            If the conviction is upheld, the defendant can then seek review at the Minnesota Supreme Court.  The Minnesota Supreme Court is not required to accept any appeal.  First, the defendant has to write a brief to convince the Minnesota Supreme Court to accept his case.  This usually means that a defendant’s case is of state-wide significance, or, involves a constitutional issue, or the like.  The Minnesota Supreme Court will not take a case simply to correct an error below.  If the Minnesota Supreme Court accepts the case, then the parties write briefs to address the merits of the case, and seek to win.  Then, oral argument is heard at the Minnesota Supreme Court. Minnesota has 7 Supreme Court Justices who hear and decide cases.

If a defendant still does not prevail, if his case involves a constitutional issue, he can then seek review at the United States Supreme Court.  Be sure that your lawyer is admitted to the United States Supreme Court, as not all lawyers are admitted.  Here, again, a defendant first has to establish that his case is significant enough for the United States Supreme Court should accept his case.  For example, that the case has national significance, or involves a constitutional issue, or the like.  If the United States Supreme Court accepts the case, then, the parties file briefs on the merits.  Later, argument is made to the 9 Justices of the United States Supreme Court.   

Criminal Appeals Attorney Lynne Torgerson is an appellate lawyer of repute. She has won appeals on behalf of her clients. She is also admitted to the United States Supreme Court, a door that has not be opened to all lawyers. For expert help on your appeal, please call Appeals Lawyer Lynne Torgerson today at (612) 339-5073!

Do I need Pre-Charge Representation?

Minnesota Pre-Charge Criminal Defense Attorney

What is Pre-Charge Representation?

Pre-Charge representation is where you hire a lawyer to represent you before you are formally charged, usually during the investigative stage of a case.

A case is usually initiated when someone calls the police and make a report of criminal conduct committed against that person, or against that person’s child.  That person is usually called the victim.  Historically, that person was labelled the complainant.

When a person makes a report, the police department will initiate an investigation.  For example, law enforcement will go to the scene of a crime and interview witnesses, take photographs, take DNA samples, obtain fingerprint samples, seize drugs, seize weapons, seize clothing, record statements, wear body worn cameras, obtain squad videos.  After the date of offense, they may interview other witnesses.  The last step usually involves interviewing the suspect, or defendant.

This will be initiated, usually by a telephone call to the suspect.  The police will request that the suspect come to the police department that day, or, the next morning, to make a “voluntary” statement.  The police want a “voluntary” statement, where you are not in custody, because then they do not need to read you your Miranda Warning. The police will try and schedule the appointment very quickly, so that the suspect will come in a make a statement, before he has time to hire a lawyer.  It is a tactic to avoid the person retaining a lawyer.

            The most common type of case needing Pre-Charge representation usually involves an allegation of criminal sexual conduct.  A typical scenario is where a parent has called the police, with a report that the suspect had sex relations of some sort with their child, usually their daughter.  Then, an investigation begins, culminating in the police seeking a statement from the suspect/defendant. 

            If a person is contacted by the police about going into the station to give a statement, they absolutely MUST NOT DO SO.  Instead, they need to immediately hire a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer.  Very often, if a person had not made any statements, they would not have been able to be criminally charged ever.  The convicting piece of evidence in criminal cases usually are the statements of the suspect. 

            In the United States, the Constitution was enacted to protect us; it benefits us.  Accordingly, we should take advantage of our Constitutional rights.  One such right is the right to remain silent.  You should ALWAYS remain silent.  You can do so politely:  Just say:

                                          I don’t want to talk, and, I want a lawyer.

            Once you invoke your right to remain silent, the police are no longer allowed to ask you questions.

            If you are contacted by the police for a statement, you should immediately hire Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson, a lawyer of excellence and experience, at (612) 339-5073.  You need to remain silent, and let Ms. Torgerson protect your rights, and communicate with law enforcement for you, so you don’t have to.  Sometimes, Ms. Torgerson is even able to avoid having criminal charges brought at all. 

Expungements in Minnesota

Best Minneapolis Expungement Lawyer

How can I get an expungement in the State of Minnesota?

Well, on or about January 1, 2015, the Minnesota legislature substantially amended the expungement statutes to allow for much more expungement relief.  The then newly modified law was colloquially called The Second Chance Law.

Prior to January 1, 2015, the expungement statutes did not allow a person to get any conviction expunged.  Expungement was only allowed for charges that were never charged out, or where there was a continuance for dismissal with no conviction, or a stay of adjudication with no conviction, or a dismissal, or a not guilty following a jury trial.  Essentially, prior to January 1, 2015, there really was no expungement relief.

Therefore, pursuant to the “hue and cry” of the people, the legislature capitulated and dramatically expanded expungement relief.

So, now, people can get convictions of petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, and gross misdemeanors expunged.  They can also get a some felonies expunged, as long as they are on the list of felonies that are expunge-able, as set forth in the expungement statutes.  Generally, speaking, these mostly involve some sort of theft related felony or property crime.  The current expungement statutes do allow for expungement of a felony 5th degree possession of a controlled substance crime conviction.  This is the lowest level felony drug offense in the State of Minnesota. 

There are varying waiting periods for different levels of crimes, before a person becomes eligible for an expungement.  For misdemeanors, before a person becomes eligible for an expungement, they have to remain crime free for two (2) years following discharge from probation.  For a gross misdemeanor, before a person becomes eligible for an expungement, they have to remain crime free for four (4) years following discharge from probation.  For a felony conviction, before a person becomes eligible for an expungement, they have to remain crime free for five (5) years following discharge from probation. 

Next, once a person becomes eligible, then they have the burden of proving that the court should grant them an expungement.  The expungement statutes provide that expungement is an extraordinary remedy that has to be proven by clear and convincing evidence, essentially that the benefit of an expungement will benefit the petitioner commensurate with the disadvantages to the State, and the risk of public safety, in sealing the records. 

To seek an expungement, a person has to file the petition in the same county in which the crime of conviction occurred.  So, if a person has convictions in 3 different counties, the person would have to seek expungement in each separate county.

Minnesota Expungement Lawyer Lynne Torgerson is one of the best expungement lawyers in the State of Minnesota.  Ms. Torgerson has had her successful law practice based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota for over 25 years.  She is a trusted, well reputed, lawyer of excellence who has a proven record of successes.  If you are seeking an expungement, give her a call today at (612) 339-5073!

Children in Juvenile Court

Minneapolis Minnesota Juvenile Defense Lawyer

The term Child is usually defined as a person under the age of 18 years old.  Other terms for a child include minor or juvenile.  A person who is charged with a crime who is under the age of 18 will generally have their case heard in Juvenile Court.  This is a separate court from adult court.

The results in Juvenile Court are supposed to be in the “best interests of the child.”  Juvenile court cases are also supposed to be confidential.  However, in the more serious cases, where the child is 16 or 17 years old, the case may be prosecuted in adult court, and the result could affect the child’s gun rights for life, and could be a public record, affecting their future employment opportunities.  Young people make mistakes, and most often, this should not mean that they should suffer the consequences into their adulthood and the rest of their lives.  Childrens’ futures, like those of an adult, need to be protected.  Minnesota Juvenile Defense Lawyer Lynne Torgerson is ready to work to protect your child’s rights.


For the most part, the types of crimes a juvenile child can be charged with are the same as for an adult.  They can be misdemeanors or felonies.  In Minnesota, for court purposes, a child is defined as a person of the ages of 10 to 17.  In juvenile court, the penalties are different than they are for an adult.  A child cannot be sentenced to prison; they may however, be sentenced to inpatient treatment, or, a county home school. 


As mentioned above, the types of crimes for a juvenile are generally the same as for an adult, with a few additions.  They include:

            Possession of drugs

            Sex offenses




            Theft and shoplifting

            Underage consumption of alcohol

            Underage drinking and driving

            Possession of marijuana

Some of the offenses which are related to be a child include:

            Curfew violations



            Run away


            A child can be charged with a petty misdemeanor, misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony.  A petty misdemeanor, misdemeanor, and gross misdemeanor will nearly always be handled in juvenile court.  It is generally always better to keep a case in juvenile court, as opposed to adult court, because juvenile cases remain confidential, whereby your child’s future is protected.  A lot of felonies are prosecuted in juvenile court.  The more serious felonies are more likely to end up in adult court, especially if the child is 16 or 17 years old. 

            In make a determination of whether a child should be prosecuted in juvenile or adult court, the judge is supposed to consider the nature of crime, the age of the child, criminal history, and potential penalties.  Under Minnesota law, there are three (3) ways a juvenile may be prosecuted in adult court:

  • Murder:  Children 16 and older accused of murder must be prosecuted in adult court;
  • Prior adult convictions:  If a juvenile has previously been convicted of a crime in adult court, any future case will be handled in adult court.
  • Discretionary and Presumptive Waiver:  Prosecutors may:
  • file a motion, a discretionary waiver, to certify a case to adult court for juveniles 14 and older who commit any offense, and
  • file a motion, a presumptive waiver, for minors 16 and older for any serious offense.

A prosecutor is more likely to pursue certification of a case to adult court when a serious crime has been committed, including serious sex crimes, violent crimes, felonies involving firearms, and other offense that would result in prison sentences had the child been an adult at the time of the offense.

            If a prosecutor seeks certification to adult court, the juvenile child has the right to a certification hearing, which is separate from the trial, in order to determine whether they should be tried an as adult.  The juvenile opposes certification to adult court.  In the certification hearing, the child is presumed to have committed the crime.

A juvenile has the right to a lawyer during a certification hearing.  At the hearing, the juvenile can present evidence, have witnesses testify, and cross examine the State’s witnesses.  The certification proceeding is closed to the public and only those with an interest in the case are allowed to attend.  

If it is shown that handling the case in juvenile court does not serve public safety, the case may be certified to adult court.  If the child is tried as an adult and convicted, he or she may be subject to imprisonment.

Minneapolis Juvenile Crime Attorney Lynne Torgerson, who has been practicing over 25 years, has experience fighting for youth charged with crimes.  With experience in the juvenile courts, Ms. Torgerson can help guide the child and the parents through each step of the case and provide representation during hearings in order to fight certification to adult court.


Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction (EJJ) is a program to rehabilitate juveniles who are accused of serious crimes.  A juvenile defendant who is of age 14 or older will be supervised under the program until they become 21 years old.  The juvenile must show that they can remain law abiding.  If the juvenile violates the court order, it could result in prison time as an adult.  


            Murder or attempted murder

            Aggravated robbery

            Sex crimes

            Weapons offenses



            Potential sentences, or dispositions as they are called in Juvenile Court, include probation, placement in a foster home, juvenile offender school, county home school, or incarceration at a juvenile detention center.  If tried and convicted as an adult, a child may be sentenced to prison. 

The Detention Center, colloquially called Juvenile Hall, is the closest to a prison sentence a juvenile delinquent can receive.  Some cases last until the child turns 21 years old.


            Many youth end up in trouble because they do not fully understand the consequences of their behavior.  If your child has been charged, their future is implicated, and you should not just hire any lawyer.  Minnesota Juvenile Lawyer Lynne Torgerson has decades of experience representing people accused of crimes, including juvenile offenders.  For representation, call (612) 339-5073!