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MN Sample Criminal Complaint Template

In Minnesota, most criminal cases are initiated in court upon the filing of a criminal complaint or upon the return of an indictment.  The required legal content of the complaint and indictment is set forth in Minn. R. Crim. P. 2.01, 2.02, 17.02, and 17.03, and serves the function of informing the court of the offense(s) charged, and the facts establishing probable cause.  In addition to this legal information, the court requires administrative information to identify the defendant and the case, as well as additional factual information about the defendant or the status of the defendant’s case to fulfill statutory obligations to provide such information to other agencies. 

The Rules of Criminal Procedure (then Minn. R. Crim. P. 2.03) previously required prosecuting attorneys to use an appropriate criminal complaint form authorized and supplied by the State Court Administrator.  In March 2005, the State Court Administrator delegated her authority to authorize such form to the Steering Committee for the Minnesota Case Information System (the court’s case management system).  In May 2005, the Steering Committee in turn issued Uniform Court Practice #171 (Adobe PDF) stating that the courts would no longer mandate the use of a particular complaint form.  Instead, UCP #171 identifies the data elements that must be contained in any complaint or indictment regardless of its form and method of transmission to the court.  The UCP also contains a sample template showing what the elements might look like in complaint form.  

Effective July 1, 2008, the Rules of Criminal Procedure were amended; Rule 2.03 was repealed and Rule 17.02, subd. 4, now provides that the complaint must contain administrative information as authorized and published by the State Court Administrator.  Currently that information is published in UCP #171.

Instructions are available, below, for the sample template shown in UCP #171.  The sample template is also available for downloading, below, for Microsoft Word Users and WordPerfect Users.  Prosecutors are free to develop their own template and to vary the location of the data elements so long as the data elements identified in UCP #171 are contained within the complaint or indictment.

Please note that as of April 1, 2007, the numbered paper triplicate forms A, B, C, F, H, I-1 through I-4, and J will no longer be provided by the State Court Administrator’s Information Technology Division.

Step One: Access User Instructions

Step Two: Download Sample Criminal Complaint Template

This sample template is available in Microsoft Word and Rich Text Format (RTF). Please use the RTF version only if your computer does not have Microsoft Word.

For Microsoft Word Users
  1. To access the Microsoft Word version of the Sample Criminal Complaint Template, please right-click the link below and select "Save to Target" or "Save Target As..."
    MN Criminal Complaint Template (Word DOC)
  2. On the Save As dialog, specify the location on the local computer where you want to save the template.
  3. Specify that you want to save it as a Microsoft Word Document.
  4. To open the document in Microsoft Word, click Open.
    NOTE: This will open your local copy of the template.
  5. To complete the template, refer to the Instructions for the Sample Criminal Complaint Template, located above. Press [Tab] or use the mouse to advance among fields. Fields expand to accommodate your text.
  6. To save the completed complaint with a new name, select File > Save As...
    TIP: Make a copy of your local version of the template each time you want to create a new complaint, or make sure to save each completed complaint under a different name.
For WordPerfect Users - RTF Version
  1. To access the RTF version of the Sample Criminal Complaint Template, please right-click the link below and select "Save to Target" or "Save Target As..."
    MN Criminal Complaint Template (RTF)
  2. On the Save As dialog, specify the location on the local computer where you want to save the template.
  3. Specify that you want to save it as a WordPerfect Document.
  4. To open the document in WordPerfect, click Open.
    NOTE: This will open your local copy of the the template.
  5. To access extra reformatting tips for the RTF version of the template, download the instructions, below. You may need to correct some minor formatting errors (e.g., margins) after opening the RTF version of the template in WordPerfect.
    Reformatting Sample Template for WordPerfect Users (Adobe PDF)
  6. To complete the template, refer to the Instructions for the Sample Criminal Complaint Template, located above. Press [Tab] or use the mouse to advance among fields. Fields expand to accommodate your text.

Step Three: Please direct all legal or procedural questions to-

Karen Kampa Jaszewski
Legal Counsel Division
Minnesota Judicial Branch
25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN  55155
651-297-7585