Were You Charged with Violating Minnesota’s Stay-at-Home Order?

Minnesota residents and business owners who violate emergency stay-at-home orders may face citations that include steep fines and jail time. State law enforcement agencies are authorized to issue citations to offenders.

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Minnesota Stay-At-Home Orders

Minnesota’s governor, Tim Walz, has issued emergency stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state. Original orders were set to expire on May 4, but have recently been extended. Stay-at-home orders address safety regulations for both Minnesota residents and businesses.

Stay-at-home orders are voluntary, rather than mandatory, but all Minnesotans are urged to voluntarily comply with emergency orders and follow the rules to avoid potential penalties. Governor Walz is working with state law enforcement agencies who are instructed to issue official citations to people who do not comply with stay-at-home orders. Violations are considered a misdemeanor offense that carries a punishment of up to $1,000 in fines or 90 days in jail.

To promote public safety and prevent the spread of COVID-19 illnesses and deaths, Minnesotans are permitted to leave their homes to pick up essential items such as food or groceries, prescription medications, medical supplies, and gas. Everyone is expected to follow social distancing practices by maintaining six feet of distance from other people in public places. Masks are not mandatory while walking or exercising outdoors, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are strongly urging the use of masks or facial coverings for protection when leaving home.

While emergency stay-at-home orders are in place, non-essential businesses are directed to close and workers are directed to work from home whenever possible. Workers who provide critical or essential services are exempt from stay-at-home orders. Exempt businesses and workers include:

  • Healthcare professionals
  • Law enforcement officers and first responders
  • Child care workers
  • Public transportation drivers
  • Emergency and homeless shelters
  • Sanitation and public workers services

Under the latest stay-at-home orders, businesses may face stronger penalties. Business owners, managers, and supervisors who require or encourage employees to violate stay-at-home orders or safety precautions, face gross misdemeanor charges that carry a maximum penalty of $3,000 or one year in prison.

These orders allow the State Attorney General, as well as city and county attorneys, to take civil actions against businesses who violate this order. Businesses that fail to comply with the order may face civil actions and penalties up to $25,000. If gross misdemeanor charges are filed in Minnesota, a criminal defense attorney Minneapolis may be necessary to reduce charges and penalties.

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

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

One of the questions people facing a criminal charge ask is: How long does a criminal case take? The timeline of your criminal case in Minnesota will depend on the nature and severity of the alleged crime, the speed of the criminal justice system, the duration of the trial, and whether an appeal will be necessary. Delays at any stage of the criminal justice process may impact how long your criminal case will last. Generally, however, misdemeanor cases may resolve within weeks or months, while felony cases may linger in courts for up to a year.
People accused, arrested, or charged with a crime often ask, “How much does a criminal defense lawyer cost in Minneapolis, MN?” It is difficult to accurately determine how much a criminal defense lawyer will cost. The reason is that numerous factors impact the cost of legal representation in criminal matters. These factors include the type and severity of criminal charges, the lawyer’s experience and reputation, required time and effort, and geographical location.
Social media can have legal implications, particularly when it comes to criminal cases. Since its advent, social media has become a powerful tool for communication and self-expression. As of 2023, an estimated 4.9 billion people worldwide use social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to share thoughts, experiences, and moments from their lives. However, in this digital age, social media activity can be used as evidence in criminal cases in Minneapolis and elsewhere.