What constitutes a “violent” crime is not as straightforward of a matter as one might assume. This is what a recent review of state laws here in the U.S. by the Marshall Project underscores.

The states vary in what they define as a violent crime. The review indicates that, in many states, this definition ends up including a good amount of crimes that many might not think of as being violent.

This includes here in Minnesota. Burglary and certain drug offense (including some types of marijuana possession) are among the crimes that state law classifies as violent.

Why does it matter whether a crime is classified as violent or not? It does because when a crime falls under the definition of being “violent”, it can trigger added consequences and penalties. For example, in some cases, it can trigger upped mandatory minimums.

So, a person accused or convicted of a violent crime can be in a very different situation than one accused or convicted of a nonviolent offense.

Given this, the issue of what is a violent offense is one of the many that connects to the broader topic of criminal justice and sentencing reform. Do you think Minnesota should change its definition of violent crime to be narrower?

Whether the offense they are accused of is classified as violent is one of the many things that can have big impacts on the cases of people facing criminal allegations here in Minnesota. Skilled defense attorneys can advise individuals on what the specific accusations and charges leveled against them mean for their case, and help them with building a defense strategy well-tailored to their particular situation.