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What Is The Law On Compounding A Felony In Minnesota And What Are The Punishments For It?

What is a Felony in Minnesota?

A felony is a serious crime in Minnesota and is punishable by a prison term of one year or more, being levied with fine, and may also include capital punishment. Unlike some of the other states in the USA, the Minnesota criminal statute doesn't classify the felonies into distinct classes. It instead penalizes every individual felony.

The felonies in Minnesota range from murder, criminal sexual conduct (rape), kidnapping, assault, robbery, forgery, and other crimes involving property and controlled substance abuse. Murder is the most serious crime and will be counted as first degree, while controlled substance comes at the lower end of the spectrum and is a fifth-degree felony.

What is Compounding a Felony?

Felony is a serious crime. However, when the victim of the felony tries to hide details of the crime from the law enforcement officers in favor of monetary benefits or gains, they are also committing the crime of compounding a felony. Compounding a felony, therefore, is hiding vital details related to a crime that may prosecute the felon, in exchange for some benefit. Compounding a felony is not limited to the victim, but can also include the witness or the officer related to the case. If they accept a bribe to hide the crime, they will be guilty of compounding.

Minnesota Compounding a Felony

Compounding a Felony in Minnesota

The Minnesota State does not have a definite statute on compounding a felony. However, as per Section 609.42 of the Minnesota Legislature, the term bribery is explained as an act that constitutes a direct or indirect offering or accepting any reward, benefit, or consideration that they are not entitled to, in order to influence the performance of the person (public officer, employee, or victim), or any implication of such offering or acceptance.

To break it down, when a victim, public officer, or employee of the office, accepts or promises to accept a reward, benefit, or consideration from the offender, whether directly or indirectly, in order to impede the legal proceedings, they can be guilty of being bribed. Even if the reward or benefit is not accepted, but there has been an implication of such, the act will also be constituted as a bribe.

 Punishment for Compounding a Felony in Minnesota

Compounding a felony, thus, comes under the head of bribery. If a person is found guilty of accepting bribes in Minnesota, they will be;

  1. Sentenced to a prison term of for a maximum period of 10 years or will have to pay a fine of $25,000 or both as per Subdivision 1 of § 609.42
  2. In case a public officer is found in violation of accepting a bribe, they will be required to forfeit their position as a public officer. Furthermore, they will be permanently disqualified from holding a place in the public office under the state. (Subdivision 2 of § 609.42)

The gravity of the punishment, in case of a person other than the public officer accepting the bribe, will be decided upon the gravity of the felony they tried to cover up.

It is important to note that when a victim is coerced to hide significant details of a felony, it cannot be called compounding a felony, as the victim does not benefit from the transaction but makes the decision out of fear. Secondly, compounding a felony is different from abating a felony. Abating indicates the person voluntarily assists the criminal to commit a crime and is not a victim of the crime. The person assisting the felon will have to face the same charges that are levied on the offender.

Compounding a felony or bribery in the case of Minnesota is a serious offense. If the offender is charged with imprisonment, it will be shown in their permanent records and can adversely affect their future endeavors.


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