What is a gross misdemeanor?

A gross misdemeanor is a serious criminal offense in Minnesota. It is defined as any crime that is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine. Common gross misdemeanors include the following offenses: a second DWI within 10 years, a first-time DWI with a BAC of 2.0 or greater, DWI test refusal, and theft of property valued between $500 - $1,000.

Certain offenses that are typically categorized as a misdemeanor offenses can become gross misdemeanor offenses under statutory enhancement provisions. Minnesota DWI laws are a good example of how a misdemeanor-level offense can be enhanced to a gross misdemeanor. Typically a first-time DWI is a misdemeanor offense.  However, if a person has one or two DWI convictions within the past 10 years, the second (or third) DWI will be charged as a gross misdemeanor (a fourth within 10 years can be charged as a felony).

In addition to likely jail time and fines, a conviction for a gross misdemeanor offense frequently brings about certain "collateral consequences." Collateral consequences are civil sanctions that follow a criminal conviction. Typical collateral consequences for gross misdemeanor convictions can include the loss of a driver's license, loss or suspension of a professional license or, for lawful immigrants, a gross misdemeanor conviction can result in the loss of permanent legal residency.