After pleading guilty to or being convicted of a crime in Minnesota there are generally four types of sentences that may be imposed: (1) a Stay of Adjudication, (2) a Stay of Imposition, (3) a Stay of Execution, or (4) an executed sentence.

A stay of adjudication is essentially a continuance of sentencing, without final adjudication of guilt, usually upon certain conditions, and with the prospect of avoiding a final conviction. In order to take advantage of a stay of adjudication, a defendant generally must plead guilty, however the judge does not accept the plea of guilty or adjudicate guilt. Instead, the defendant is placed on probation with conditions for a specified period of time. So long as probation is successfully completed, the plea of guilty will never be accepted and the charge will not result in a conviction.


In a stay of imposition, unlike a stay of adjudication, the defendant is adjudicated guilty. A conviction is entered however a sentence is not imposed. A probationary term and/or sanctions, including jail time, may be imposed. If a defendant successfully completes a stay of imposition on a charge that would normally be a felony or gross misdemeanor, the conviction is reduced and is deemed a misdemeanor. If a defendant fails to abide by the terms of a stay of imposition he or she may face jail or prison time and also lose the potential benefit of a reduced level of conviction.

When a defendant is sentenced to a stay of execution, the judge imposes a jail or prison sentence however the defendant is not required to serve the entirety of the imposed incarceration period so long as he or she abides by the terms of probation for a certain period of time. Terms of probation may include serving a portion of the total sentence. If a defendant successfully completes probation on a stay of execution, the only benefit is not having to serve the entirety of the imposed sentence. Successful completion of a stay of execution does not result in a lower level of conviction as is the case with a stay of imposition.

If an executed sentence is imposed, the defendant is required to serve the entirety of the incarceration period that they are sentenced to. The defendant is not be placed on probation, however there will likely be a period of parole or supervised release that is imposed upon release from incarceration. If a defendant is given an executed sentence of 365 days or less (a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor sentence), the time is served in a local jail rather than prison. If the executed sentence is in excess of 365 days (a felony sentence), the time is served in a state prison.

There are certain scenarios where no plea is required to be entered and charges can be continued and ultimately dismissed so long as the defendant meets certain conditions. This type of resolution requires that both the defendant and the prosecutor agree to such an arrangement, and generally only occurs in petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor cases.

Being charged with any crime is a serious matter. A criminal defense attorney can help you explore these various sentencing options in working to resolve your criminal case.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime of any type, call the attorneys at The Law Office of John J. Leunig today for a free phone consultation at (952) 540-6800.

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