Hennepin County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Hennepin County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Hennepin County.
What is Jury Deliberation?
After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
Hennepin County Required Court Appearances
In Hennepin County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.
Jury by Trial Right
The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.
At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
Arraignments in Hennepin County
During an arraignment in Hennepin County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Hennepin County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Hennepin County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Hennepin County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Hennepin County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Hennepin County. The Hennepin County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
Right to an attorney
The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Hennepin County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Hennepin County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.
Where will Hennepin County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Hennepin County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Hennepin County.
I need help for my Hennepin County criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Hennepin County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Hennepin County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
Hennepin County Criminal Court Locations
Hennepin County District Court – Civil Court
Address: 300 South 6th Street, C-332, Minneapolis, MN 55487
Phone: 612-348-3164 Fax: 612-348-2131
Hennepin County District Court – Conciliation Court
Address: 350 South 5th Street, Room 306, Minneapolis, MN 55415
Hennepin County District Court – Criminal Division 1 GC
Address: 300 South 6th Street, C-11, Minneapolis, MN 55487
Hennepin County District Court – Criminal Division 1 PSF
Address: 401 4th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55415
Hennepin County District Court – Criminal Division 2 Brookdale
Address: 6125 Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center, MN 55430
Hennepin County District Court – Criminal Division 3 Ridgedale
Address: 12601 Ridgedale Drive, Suite 300, Minnetonka, MN 55305
Hennepin County District Court – Criminal Division 4 Southdale
Address: 7009 York Avenue South, Edina, MN 55435
Hennepin County District Court – Family Court
Address: 110 South 4th Street, Room 600, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone: 612-348-6734 Fax: 612-596-9309
Hennepin County District Court – Housing Court
Address: 300 South 6th Street, C-300, Minneapolis, MN 55487
Hennepin County District Court – Juvenile Court
Address: 590 Park Avenue, Room 100, Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone: 612-348-4822 Fax: 348-317-6117
Hennepin County District Court – Probate / Mental Health Court
Address: 300 South 6th Street, C-400, Minneapolis, MN 55487
Phone: 612-348-6868 (Mental Health) Fax: 612-348-2130