The agency responsible for prosecuting a crime depends on a
couple of factors. The following table illustrates the general division of
authority. Certain misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor offenses do not always fall
within the general rule. For a more detailed explanation of responsibility for
certain misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors, contact Minnesota House Research Department.
|Gross Misdemeanors - Metro Counties
|Gross Misdemeanors - Nonmetro Counties
|Certain Specified Offenses (i.e., racketeering)
||Attorney General (concurrent authority with county attorney)
Note: A county attorney may also provide city attorney services by
contract. Also, the attorney general may assist or assume a prosecution at the
request of a county attorney.
Steps in the Prosecution
After a crime is committed and a person is charged, the
person has a first appearance. The person is told of the nature of the charges,
advised of certain rights, given an opportunity to request a public defender (if
he or she cannot afford an attorney), and, if the person is in custody, bail is
Following a defendant's first appearance, the prosecution
is required to disclose the evidence it has to the defendant or to the
defendant's attorney. The defendant is also required to disclose evidence he or
she intends to introduce and certain other information relating to the defense
(such as whether the defendant intends to utilize an alibi defense). This
exchange of information is called discovery.
After discovery there is commonly an omnibus hearing when
multiple motions, frequently relating to evidentiary issues, can be brought and
heard. Occasionally there may be other or additional hearings between the
omnibus hearing a plea hearing or a trial.
If the defendant does not plead guilty, the case proceeds
to trial. If the defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty at trial, he or she