The Criminal Division of the Olmsted County Attorney's Office is responsible for prosecuting adults charged with felony crimes, as well as some misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors. Misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors occurring within the City of Rochester are usually prosecuted by the City Attorney.  Examples of Felony level crimes (crimes which carry a potential penalty of time in prison) include murder, sexual assault, drug offenses, serious property offenses, and child abuse.

The County Attorney also has responsibility for the prosecution of misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors (crimes which carry a maximum penalty of less than one year in jail) that occur outside of incorporated areas as well as in those cities for which the office holds prosecution contracts (Byron, Stewartville, Oronoco, Eyota, Dover and a portion of Chatfield).

Prosecution may involve reviewing the investigation provided by law enforcement officers, filing criminal complaints, presenting cases before a grand jury, representing the state in court hearings and trial, and making sentencing recommendations. The prosecutorial duties of the county attorney are enumerated in eighty-eight (88) separate Minnesota statutes. 

The Criminal Division prosecutors do not represent individuals in court and cannot provide legal advice to individual citizens. Prosecutors cannot take reports of a crime from individuals. The prosecutors represent the State of Minnesota, which initiates a criminal charge against a person accused of a crime, and can only provide legal advice to law enforcement officers.

The Criminal Division does not represent defendants and cannot provide legal advice to a defendant. At the first court appearance, a defendant has the opportunity to apply for the services of a Public Defender, if eligible.

The laws of Minnesota establish four levels of criminal offenses:

  1. Petty Misdemeanors punishable by up to a $300 fine.

  2. Misdemeanors punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.

  3. Gross Misdemeanors punishable by up to a $3,000 fine and  one year in jail, and

  4. Felonies punishable by more than one year in prison.

The Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure establish the procedure used by the Court and attorneys to move a case through the system.

To report a crime, contact the local Law Enforcement Agency where the crime occurred.

Criminal Division Links:


Olmsted County Attorney domestic abuse policy (96 kb)

Legal Definitions (64 kb)

Criminal Division Frequently Asked Questions (168 kb)

Olmsted County Drug Court