Can You Run Out the Clock on Murder in Minnesota?
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Category: Murder

Can You Run Out the Clock on Murder in Minnesota?


Sometimes, those who commit terrible crimes think they’ve gotten away with it – until law enforcement comes knocking on their door years later.


While it is true that some crimes have a statute of limitations under which a person can be charged, for some, the clock never runs out. Murder is one such crime.


A great example of this is a recent case in which a Minnesota man was arrested and charged with an unsolved murder from 1986. His DNA matched DNA from the scene. The evidence DNA had been run through genealogy databases to find a potential match.


While this case is the first of its kind — a DNA match through commercially available genetic databases – it’s not the first cold case to be solved decades after the murder occurred.


Here’s what you need to know about murder in Minnesota, including it’s definition under the law and the penalties faced no matter how much time has passed.


Murder in Minnesota


Murder is one of the most serious crimes that can be committed. In the state, there are different types of murder that can be perpetrated. They are:


Third Degree Murder


This type of murder does not involve intent. You can be charged with this level of murder if you do something reckless in regards to human life.


For example, if you fire a gun into a crowd of people without the intention of actually killing anyone, it could still be charged. All that prosecutors need to show is that the defendant was indifferent to human life when the act occurred.


Second Degree Murder


This type of murder charge is often pursued when a person kills another intentionally, but it doesn’t meet the standards set forth under first-degree murder statutes. It is often charged when the crime is not premeditated but instead happens out of impulse or an emotional response.


First Degree Murder


The most serious murder charge in Minnesota, first-degree murder is often charged when the case has aggravating factors, like the identity of the victim. It’s also a fitting charged when the murder was premeditated on the part of the defendant.


Killing someone during an assault, robbery, or kidnapping can also result in first-degree murder charges. In any case, prosecutors must show that the defendant had the intent to commit murder in order to prove that they are guilty of this crime.


Penalties for Murder in Minnesota


As mentioned, there is no statute of limitations for murder in Minnesota. At any point, anyone believed to have committed murder can be brought to trial and convicted of the crime – and the sentences can be quite severe.


The penalties for murder in Minnesota include:


Third Degree Murder


Penalties for Murder in Minnesota


The maximum penalty that can be ordered by a judge is 25 years of incarceration. If the death was the result of a drug sale of a substance designated as a schedule I or schedule II drug, then a $40,000 fine can also be applied.


Second Degree Murder


The penalties for this level of murder include a maximum period of incarceration of 40 years.


First Degree Murder


There is no death penalty in Minnesota. The most severe penalty that can be handed down in a case involving first-degree murder is life in prison.



About the Author:


Christopher Keyser is an AV-Preeminent rated criminal and DWI defense attorney based in Minneapolis who is known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge and named a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the Minnesota Bar Association. Mr. Keyser is Lead Counsel rated, and he has received recognition for his criminal law work from Avvo, Expertise, Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and more.




If You Need a Top Minnesota Criminal Lawyer Call 312-338-5007



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