What to Expect on Probation in Minnesota

When an offender is placed on probation, the offender must abide by his/her probation requirements which may include fines, electronic house arrest, jail time, community service, and other restrictions.

What is Probation?

In some cases, the Court has the option of imposing probation instead of a sentence for misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felony convictions. Executed sentences require jail or prison time, but probation requirements are more lenient. Conditions of probation often include monetary fines, house arrest, jail time, and community service. Depending on the type and severity of the crime committed, probation may also include:

  • Anger management
  • Domestic violence counseling
  • Drug and/or alcohol treatment
  • Drug and/or alcohol testing
  • Sex offender programs
  • Mental health treatment

When the Court imposes probation as an alternative to incarceration, the offender must abide by his/her probation requirements. The offender must meet with a probation officer as scheduled, submit to random drug and/or alcohol screenings, and obey the law. An offender who is placed on probation is typically required to meet with his/her probation officer on a set schedule. A misdemeanor offender with little or no criminal history may only be required to meet quarterly, while a gross misdemeanor or felony offender may be required to meet weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Failure to meet all requirements will result in a probation violation, and the Court may then order a sentence for the conviction. For felony and gross misdemeanor offenses, a Minnesota criminal attorney can address the consequences of the probation violation.

How Long is the Probation Period?

The length of the probation period is usually linked to the offender’s criminal history and the severity of the crime. Probation for most misdemeanors is capped at one year, but convictions for misdemeanor DWI, domestic assault, indecent exposure, and obscene or harassing behavior can carry a probation period of up to two years. Probation for gross misdemeanors is generally two years, but convictions for DWI, criminal vehicular operation, or fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct can carry probation periods of up to six years. Felonies carry a minimum probation period of four years, but the statutory maximum time for imprisonment for the crime can be imposed for probation.

Offenders who meet all probation requirements and successfully complete their probationary period are often discharged early. Offenders who violate their probationary requirements or period may face extended probation time or prison sentences.

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-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. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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