Fines and Restitution: Minnesota Defense Lawyer Explains the Difference

Byron Smith was convicted of murder in Little Falls, Minnesota. He was in court recently on the issue of restitution. Smith was convicted for killing a 17 year old and her 18 year old cousin, both of whom had broken into his home. He shot them each several times. At trial he argued that it was his right to defend himself on his own property. Smith received two life sentences and is now appealing the decision. The State argued that he should pay restitution to the victims’ families. Smith did not take the stand in his own trial. However, he testified about the prior burglaries of his home at the restitution hearing. One family requested him to pay $20,242 in restitution for funeral and other expenses. Smith, through his criminal lawyer, argued that he has lost $53,000 during the previous burglaries of his home. Based on the items stolen from him in the past Smith does not believe he should have to pay any restitution.

Fine v. Restitution

In all criminal cases a judge will order a Minnesota Defendant to pay a fine. Usually a fine covers general court costs and may include things like a chemical health assessment fee, a public defender fee, and a surcharge. A judge ordering a fine will look to the defendant’s income, the seriousness of the crime, and the level of offense is setting the amount of the fine. In most cases there are maximum fines. For instance, the maximum fine for a misdemeanor is $1,000.00. A judge will therefore order a fine somewhere between 0 and $1,000.00. Restitution on the other hand can be ordered in situations where the Defendant took something from the victim. In Smith’s case, the victims lost their lives. Another example can be found when a defendant breaks something of the victim’s. The Defendant usually would have to pay for the item through restitution. A criminal lawyer will argue why restitution is not warranted.

Contact a Minnesota Criminal lawyer to discuss your case today. If you are facing a high fine or restitution call Max Keller for a free consultation. A criminal lawyer can ensure your rights are properly protected so you don’t have to pay more in fines or Restitution than you deserve. Call 952-913-1421 if you have been charged with a crime.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

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