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Criminal Court

The criminal division is responsible for the filing and disposition of all felony and gross misdemeanor violations issued in Kandiyohi County.

"Felony" means a crime for which a sentence of imprisonment for more than one year may be imposed up to a maximum sentence of life in prison.

"Gross Misdemeanor" means a crime for which a maximum sentence of up to one year in a correctional facility and/or a $3,000 fine may be imposed.

If the defendant has been charged with a targeted misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony level offense, the defendant must be fingerprinted prior to his or her first court appearance.  Each new charge requires fingerprinting even if the defendant has been fingerprinted on prior cases.

Where do I get information about court appearances?
How will I know when to appear in court?
Will a public defender be appointed to represent me?
How many times must I appear in court and what happens?
How do I pay my fine?
What if I cannot pay my fine on the day I am sentenced by the court?
Where can I pay my fine?
What is Community Service Work and how does it work?
How do I post bail or bond?
How can I get a vehicle released from impound?
What do I do if there is a bench warrant issued for my arrest?
Sentencing Guideline information

Where do I get information about court appearances?
Call Court Administration at 320-231-6206 during regular office hours.

How will I know when to appear in court?
If you are charged with committing an offense and you are required to appear in court, your court date is scheduled by Court Administration.

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Will a public defender be appointed to represent me?
For all offenses where jail time is a possibility, you may apply to have a public defender represent you if you cannot afford to hire your own attorney.  Public defenders are appointed based upon financial guidelines set by Minnesota Statute.  You must fill out a form called an Application for Public Defender prior to your first court appearance and the court will determine if you are eligible to be represented by a public defender.  You may be charged a sliding fee for the services of a public defender and you will be charged a public defender assessment for utilizing the services of a public defender.

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How many times must I appear in court and what happens?
First appearance:
  The first court appearance for a traffic violation or a criminal offense is called the arraignment hearing.  You will be required to complete a Statement of Rights form before you appear in court.  Your constitutional rights will be explained to you and the judge will review the charges that you are being accused of with you.  If you plead guilty to either a petty misdemeanor or a misdemeanor charge, the judge will impose a sentence, which may include fines.  On misdemeanor charges, the judge may order fines and jail time.  If you plead not guilty, another hearing date will be scheduled.

Second appearance:  If you are charged with a petty misdemeanor and you have entered a plea of not guilty, you will be scheduled for a court trial as your second appearance before the court.  If you are charged with a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or a felony, your case will next be scheduled for a pretrial conference or an omnibus hearing.  In either case, if you plead guilty, a judge will impose a sentence, which may include fines, and/or jail time.  Unresolved cases, other than petty misdemeanors, will be scheduled for trial.

Third appearance:  The third appearance will be the trial.  A trial can be heard before a judge or a jury.  If you wish to have a trial before a jury, you must request one.  Felony and gross misdemeanor cases will be heard by a twelve person jury, and misdemeanor cases will be heard by a six person jury.  If you are found guilty either by a judge or a jury, the judge will impose a sentence, which may include fines and/or jail time.

At all hearings, the prosecuting attorney is available to discuss settlement options.

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How do I pay my fine?
Cash, check, money order or credit card.

FINES ARE DUE THE DAY THEY ARE IMPOSED PER MINNESOTA STATUE.

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What if I cannot pay my fine on the day of court?
If you are unable to pay your fine in full on the day of court, you will be required to meet with court staff to discuss payment options that may include a payment plan, community work service, or a combination of the two.  You may be required to sign a document that will have the fine directly taken from your payroll check.  The court staff will also explain the steps allowable by Minnesota statute for the court to collect the fine and fees owing in the event that you do not live up to the payment contract.

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Where can I pay my fine?
Fine payments may be paid during normal office hours at the Kandiyohi County Courthouse or paid online.

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What is Community Service Work and how does it work?
Community Service Work (CSW) is a court-imposed condition intended to serve as both a consequence and a restorative gesture to the community in which an offense has been committed.  CSW can also be imposed to satisfy a fine condition in cases where an offender is unable to financially meet the fine obligation.  At present, offenders perform CSW at designated work sites that are non-profit, governmental, educational or charitable organizations.  Participants are screened for appropriateness for the program and work sites.  The offender's account is credited $6.00 per hour for each hour of work performed.  Community Corrections administers the Community Service Work Program.

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How do I post bail or bond?
In the event that you have been arrested prior to your first court appearance, the court may order a bail amount be paid or that a bond be posted for your release pending future court proceedings.  Bail and/or bonds may be posted at the Kandiyohi County Jail.  Bond agents must be authorized by the state.  The Jail will only accept authorized bonds.  Bail may be accepted in the form of money orders, cash or certified checks.  Jail administration must authorize personal checks.

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How can I get a vehicle released from impound?
Vehicles are only released to the registered owner.  All vehicles must provide proper vehicle registration prior to the release of a motor vehicle from an impound lot.  Vehicles are released during regular business hours Monday through Friday.  The impound lot may require additional fees for after hours, weekend or holiday releases.  Please contact your local law enforcement agency for more information.

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What do I do if there is a bench warrant issued for my arrest?
If there is a bench warrant for your arrest, you may turn yourself in on any weekday at the Law Enforcement Center, in Willmar.  Your case will then be heard at 11:00 a.m. the same day or the next day at the Kandiyohi County Courthouse, 505 Becker Ave. S.W., Willmar, MN.

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