Criminal charges are categorized by the severity of the penalty. In Minnesota, there are four levels of criminal charges: petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, and felonies. The least severe offense is called a petty misdemeanor. An example of this is a simple speeding ticket. The maximum penalty that could be imposed for a petty misdemeanor offense is a $300 fine. A misdemeanor offense is more serious than a petty misdemeanor. An example of a misdemeanor is disorderly conduct. The maximum penalty that could be imposed for a misdemeanor offense is 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. A gross misdemeanor offense is more serious than a misdemeanor offense. An example of a gross misdemeanor is a second or third DWI offense within a ten year period of time. The maximum penalty for a gross misdemeanor is 1 year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine. The most serious criminal offense is a felony. An example of a felony would be a theft of a motor vehicle, a sexual assault, or murder. A felony is any crime for which a sentence of imprisonment for more than one year may be imposed. The legal system is complex. If you need help navigating your legal situation, the lawyers at Swenson Lervick can help. They are knowledgeable, experienced, and ready to fight for your rights. Stop in or call Greg Donahue at (320) 763-3141.