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Table of Sections
388.02Repealed, 1983 c 359 s 151
388.04Repealed, 1969 c 649 s 2
388.05Repealed, 1979 c 233 s 42
388.06Repealed, 1965 c 749 s 5
388.07Repealed, 1965 c 749 s 5
388.105Repealed, 1967 c 718 s 5
388.16Renumbered 388.15, subd 2
388.17Repealed, 1949 c 597 s 5
There shall be elected in each county a county attorney who shall be licensed to practice
law in this state, and whose term of office shall be four years and until a successor qualifies.
Before entering upon duties the county attorney shall take an oath. The oath must be recorded
with the county recorder.
History: (924) RL s 563; 1943 c 355 s 1; 1959 c 189 s 1; 1965 c 749 s 1; 1973 c 524 s 6;
1976 c 181 s 2; 1986 c 444; 1991 c 326 s 20; 1997 c 147 s 77; 2005 c 4 s 92
388.02 [Repealed, 1983 c 359 s 151]
388.03 [Obsolete]
388.04 [Repealed, 1969 c 649 s 2]
388.05 [Repealed, 1979 c 233 s 42]
388.051 DUTIES.
    Subdivision 1. General provisions. The county attorney shall:
(a) appear in all cases in which the county is a party;
(b) give opinions and advice, upon the request of the county board or any county officer,
upon all matters in which the county is or may be interested, or in relation to the official duties of
the board or officer;
(c) prosecute felonies, including the drawing of indictments found by the grand jury, and,
to the extent prescribed by law, gross misdemeanors, misdemeanors, petty misdemeanors, and
violations of municipal ordinances, charter provisions and rules or regulations;
(d) attend before the grand jury, give them legal advice, and examine witnesses in their
(e) request the court administrator to issue subpoenas to bring witnesses before the grand jury
or any judge or judicial officer before whom the county attorney is conducting a criminal hearing;
(f) attend any inquest at the request of the coroner; and
(g) appear, when requested by the attorney general, for the state in any case instituted by
the attorney general in the county attorney's county or before the United States Land Office in
case of application to preempt or locate any public lands claimed by the state and assist in the
preparation and trial.
    Subd. 2. Special provisions. (a) In Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Scott, and Washington
Counties, only the county attorney shall prosecute gross misdemeanor violations of sections
289A.63, subdivisions 1, 2, 4, and 6; 297B.10; 609.255, subdivision 3; 609.377; 609.378; 609.41;
and 617.247.
(b) In Ramsey County, only the county attorney shall prosecute gross misdemeanor
violations of sections 609.255, subdivision 3; 609.377; and 609.378.
(c) The county attorney shall prosecute failure to report physical or sexual child abuse or
neglect as provided under section 626.556, subdivision 6, violations of fifth-degree criminal
sexual conduct under section 609.3451, and environmental law violations under sections 115.071,
299F.098, and 609.671.
    Subd. 3. Charging and plea negotiation policies and practices; written guidelines
required. (a) On or before January 1, 1995, each county attorney shall adopt written guidelines
governing the county attorney's charging and plea negotiation policies and practices. The
guidelines shall address, but need not be limited to, the following matters:
(1) the circumstances under which plea negotiation agreements are permissible;
(2) the factors that are considered in making charging decisions and formulating plea
agreements; and
(3) the extent to which input from other persons concerned with a prosecution, such as
victims and law enforcement officers, is considered in formulating plea agreements.
(b) Plea negotiation policies and procedures adopted under this subdivision are public data,
as defined in section 13.02.
History: 1979 c 233 s 3; 1983 c 177 s 5; 1983 c 345 s 9; 1984 c 573 s 8; 1985 c 248 s 57;
1985 c 266 s 1; 1986 c 444; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 1 s 82; 1988 c 529 s 1; 1989 c 52 s 1; 1989 c 337 s
11; 1990 c 480 art 1 s 46; 1994 c 636 art 2 s 9
388.06 [Repealed, 1965 c 749 s 5]
388.07 [Repealed, 1965 c 749 s 5]
No county attorney or assistant county attorney shall receive or accept any fee or reward
from, or which is paid or given on behalf of, any one for services rendered or to be rendered in the
prosecution or conduct of any official duty or business. No person as an attorney who directly or
indirectly advises in relation to, or aids or promotes the defense of, any action or proceeding in
any court or prosecution which is carried on by a person as county attorney, with whom such
attorney is directly or indirectly connected, or who, having prosecuted any action or proceeding
as county attorney, shall afterwards advise in relation to or take any part in the defense thereof;
nor shall any attorney be allowed to prosecute or assist such county attorney or assistant in any
criminal prosecution or other official action where such attorney is interested in any other action
or matter pending or to be commenced in which a recovery depends upon the matter involved
in such prosecution or other official action. Any person offending against any provision of this
section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
History: (929) RL s 568; 1986 c 444
    Subdivision 1. General provisions. When there is no county attorney, the county board may
employ any competent attorney to perform legal services for the county. The board may employ
an attorney to assist the county attorney, to appear for the county or any county officer in any
action in which the county or officer in an official capacity is a party, to advise the board or its
members in relation to the action, or in relation to any other matter affecting the interests of the
county. The county may pay the attorney out of the funds of the county.
    Subd. 2. Misdemeanors; other prosecutions. Except in the counties of Ramsey and
Hennepin, the county board with concurrence of the county attorney may enter into agreements
with attorneys or firms of attorneys for the prosecution of gross misdemeanors, misdemeanors or
petty misdemeanors, without making these attorneys or members of the firms assistant county
attorneys or employees of the county where the county attorney has responsibility for the
prosecution of these charges. If there is a contract between the county and any city within it which
provides that the county attorney shall also prosecute municipal ordinance, municipal rule or
regulation, and charter provision violations for that city, an attorney or firm engaged pursuant to
this subdivision may also prosecute these violations.
History: (930) RL s 569; 1983 c 177 s 6; 1986 c 444
The county attorney of any county in this state who has no assistant is hereby authorized to
appoint, with the consent of the county board of the county, one or more attorneys for assistance
in the performance of duties. Each assistant shall have the same duties and be subject to the same
liabilities as the county attorney and hold office during the pleasure of the county attorney. Each
assistant shall be appointed in writing and the assistant's oath and appointment shall be recorded
with the county recorder. The county board of such county shall fix the salary of each assistant
county attorney appointed pursuant to the provisions of this section, and the salary when so fixed
by such county board shall thereafter be paid by the county in equal monthly installments upon
the warrant of the county auditor during the period for which such salary is so fixed or during
such portion thereof as an assistant county attorney continues in office.
History: (930 1/2) 1921 c 444 s 1; 1925 c 15 s 1; 1941 c 96 s 1; 1951 c 117 s 1; 1965 c 749 s
2; 1967 c 718 s 1; 1976 c 181 s 2; 1986 c 444; 2005 c 4 s 93
The board of county commissioners of any county in which a training camp is established for
active training of military or naval forces, or of any adjoining county, may declare an emergency
and, in addition to any salaries heretofore authorized by law for assistant county attorneys and
deputy sheriffs, may authorize, fix, and pay the salaries of such additional assistant county
attorneys and deputy sheriffs as the board deems necessary during such emergency.
History: 1941 c 347
388.105 [Repealed, 1967 c 718 s 5]
No law partner of the county attorney, or attorney having an office with the county attorney,
shall appear for the defendant in any criminal action which it is the duty of the county attorney to
History: (931) RL s 570; 1986 c 444
The judge of any district court may by order entered in the minutes at any term of court
appoint an attorney of such court to act as, or in the place of, or to assist the county attorney at
such term, either before the court or grand jury. The person so appointed shall take the oath
required by law of county attorneys and thereupon may perform all duties at such term of court,
but shall receive no compensation where the county attorney is present at such term, except by the
county attorney's consent, and to be paid from the county attorney's salary.
History: (932) RL s 571; 1986 c 444
On or before January 1, in each year, the county attorney shall file in the office of the county
auditor a verified account of all money received during the preceding year by virtue of office
specifying therein the name of the person from whom received, the amount paid by each and on
what account; and, unless previously paid, shall at the same time pay over such money to the
county treasurer, and take duplicate receipts therefor, one of which shall be filed with the county
auditor. If the county attorney shall refuse or neglect to account for and pay over any money so
received, the auditor shall cause an action to be instituted upon the county attorney's bond to
recover the same, and damages for failure to account.
History: (933) RL s 572; 1986 c 444
The county board may set apart yearly a sum, not exceeding $7,500, except in counties
containing cities of the first class, where the sum shall not exceed $10,000, as a contingent fund
for defraying necessary expenses not especially provided for by law, in preparing and trying
criminal cases, conducting investigations by the grand jury, making contributions to a statewide
county attorney's organization, and paying the necessary expenses of the county attorney incurred
in the business of the county. All disbursements from such fund shall be made upon written
request of the county attorney by auditor's warrant, countersigned by a judge of the district court.
Any balance remaining at the end of the year shall be transferred to the revenue fund.
History: (934) RL s 574; 1909 c 233 s 1; 1917 c 307; 1965 c 749 s 4; 1981 c 357 s 104;
1989 c 290 art 9 s 11
388.15 MS 1949 [Renumbered 388.15, subdivision 1]
    Subdivision 1. Appropriation. The county board of any county in this state, upon the request
of the county attorney of such county, may appropriate, for the use of the county attorney, such
funds, not otherwise appropriated, as the county attorney deems necessary for the investigation
and the procuring of evidence when the county attorney has reason to believe that any closed
bank, savings bank, trust company, or savings association incorporated under the laws of the
state of Minnesota, has violated any provision of law. Such amount shall be in addition to the
contingent fund of such county now allowed by law and shall be disbursed only on order of a
district judge of the district in which any such county is located, approving such expenditure.
    Subd. 2. Borrowing money. The county board, if no funds are available, may borrow such
money as it deems necessary to carry out the provisions of this section, but such loan shall not run
over one year.
History: (934-1, 934-2) 1925 c 264 s 1,2; 1986 c 444; 1995 c 202 art 1 s 25
Vehicles used by county attorneys to investigate allegations of criminal wrongdoings, to
assist crime victims or witnesses, to aid in prosecuting criminal offenses, and for other uses
consistent with the duties of the county attorney which the county attorney elects to operate as
unmarked must be registered and must display passenger vehicle classification license number
plates. The registrar of motor vehicles shall furnish the license plates at cost upon application
and certification signed by the county attorney that the vehicles will be used exclusively for the
purposes authorized by this section.
History: 1999 c 238 art 2 s 73
388.16 [Renumbered 388.15, subd 2]
388.17 [Repealed, 1949 c 597 s 5]
    Subdivision 1. Minimum salaries. The county attorneys in all counties in this state with less
than 100,000 inhabitants, according to the 1960 federal census shall receive as compensation for
services rendered by them for their respective counties annual salaries not less than the following
amounts based on the population according to the then last preceding federal census:
(a) in counties with less than 10,000 inhabitants, $4,000;
(b) in counties with 10,000 but less than 20,000 inhabitants, $5,000;
(c) in counties with 20,000 but less than 30,000 inhabitants, $6,000;
(d) in counties with 30,000 but less than 40,000 inhabitants, $7,000;
(e) in counties with 40,000 or more inhabitants, $8,000.
    Subd. 2. Set by board. The county board of each of the counties specified in subdivision 1
annually shall set by resolution the salary of the county attorney which shall be paid to the county
attorney at such intervals as the board shall determine but not less often than once each month. At
the January meeting prior to the first date on which applicants may file for the office of county
attorney the board shall set by resolution the minimum salary to be paid the county attorney for
the term next following. In the event a vacancy occurs in the office of county attorney the board
may set the annual salary for the remainder of the calendar year at an amount less than was set
for that year. The board in any case specified in this section may not set the annual salary at an
amount less than the minimums provided in subdivision 1 but it may set the salary in excess of
such minimums. The salary of the county attorney shall not be reduced during the term for which
the county attorney is elected or appointed.
    Subd. 3.MS 1949 [Repealed, 1951 c 327 s 6]
    Subd. 3.MS 1974 [Repealed, 1975 c 301 s 16]
    Subd. 4. Effect upon certain sections. Subdivisions 1 to 3 shall not be construed as
repealing any existing law which provides for a higher minimum salary in any county than the
amount provided in subdivision 1, but shall be deemed to supersede the provisions of any act
setting a maximum salary for the county attorney in any of the counties specified in subdivision 1.
    Subd. 5. Budget for office. The county board by resolution shall provide the budget for (1)
the salary of the county attorney, any assistant county attorneys and employees in the county
attorney's office; (2) the salary or other fees of any attorneys or firms of attorneys employed
or engaged to prosecute misdemeanors, petty misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, municipal
ordinance violations, or municipal charter, rule or regulation violations, if any; (3) other expenses
necessary in the performance of the duties of the office; and (4) the payment of premiums of any
bonds required of the county attorney and any assistant county attorney or employee in the county
attorney's office. The board is authorized to appropriate funds for those purposes.
    Subd. 6. Appeal from resolution of the board. The county attorney, if dissatisfied with the
action of the county board in setting the amount of the county attorney's salary or the amount of
the budget for the office of county attorney, may appeal to the district court on the grounds that
the determination of the county board in setting such salary or budget was arbitrary, capricious,
oppressive, or in unreasonable disregard for the responsibilities and duties of said office, and
the county attorney's experience, qualifications, and performance. The appeal shall be taken
within 15 days after the date of the resolution setting such salary or budget by serving a notice of
appeal on the county auditor and filing same with the court administrator of the district court. The
county board may retain special counsel pursuant to section 388.09 to represent it in the appeal
proceedings. The court either in term or vacation and upon ten days' notice to the chair of the
board shall hear such appeal. On the hearing of the appeal the court shall review the decision or
resolution of the board in like manner as though reviewed by certiorari, except new or additional
evidence may be taken. The court may order the officer appealing and the board to submit briefs
or other memoranda and may dispose of the appeal on such writings. If the court shall find that
the board acted in an arbitrary, capricious, oppressive or unreasonable manner it shall remand the
matter to the county board for further action consistent with the court's finding.
History: 1945 c 525 s 1,2; 1949 c 597 s 2-4; 1951 c 327 s 6; 1967 c 718 s 2; 1983 c 177 s 7;
1983 c 345 s 10; 1985 c 281 s 11; 1986 c 444; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 1 s 82
    Subdivision 1. Creation. There is hereby created a county attorneys council hereinafter
designated as the "council" to be composed of the county attorney from each of the 87 counties
and the attorney general of the state of Minnesota. The members shall meet annually in November
of each year and, commencing at the annual meeting in November 1973, shall elect a president, a
president-elect, a secretary, and a treasurer, and such other officers and directors as the county
attorneys council shall determine. Each of these officers shall hold office for a term of one year
and until their successors are elected and qualified. The county attorneys council may adopt such
rules as are necessary for the carrying out of its duties. A county attorney may designate in writing
an assistant who may act in the county attorney's stead in carrying out any function of the county
attorneys council except serving as an officer. The county attorneys council may acquire and hold
property, accept gifts, grants, and contributions and may charge fees for services, for seminars,
workshops and publications it conducts and produces. All receipts from these sources shall be
deposited in one or more special accounts in the state treasury and are appropriated to the county
attorneys council for carrying out the duties described in subdivision 4.
    Subd. 2.[Repealed, 1996 c 310 s 1]
    Subd. 3. Governing body. The board of governors of the county attorneys council shall be
composed of the president, the president-elect, the secretary, the treasurer, the immediate past
president, and the attorney general. A vacancy in any office of the board of governors of the
county attorneys council shall be filled by appointment of the remaining members of the board
of governors of the county attorneys council.
The board of governors shall have such authority and duties as delegated to it by the council.
    Subd. 4. Duties of the council. The council shall perform such functions as in its opinion
shall strengthen the criminal justice system and strengthen and increase efficiency in county
government in Minnesota, including but not limited to the following:
(a) Provide training and continuing education for county attorneys and assistants.
(b) Gather and disseminate information to county attorneys including changes in the law by
rule, case decisions, and legislative enactment.
(c) Coordinate with law enforcement, courts, and corrections providing interdisciplinary
seminars to augment effectiveness of the system.
History: 1973 c 564 s 1; 1979 c 337 s 22; 1981 c 357 s 105; 1985 c 248 s 70; 1986 c 444
    Subdivision 1. Appointment. In order to carry out the duties of the county attorneys council,
the council shall employ an executive director, hereinafter referred to as the director, which
office is hereby created. The board of governors of the county attorneys council shall appoint
and supervise the executive director.
    Subd. 2. Term, vacancy. The term of office of the director shall be six years and until a
successor is appointed and qualified. The director shall be learned in the law. The director shall be
in the unclassified service of the state. The term of office for the first director shall commence
on July 1, 1973. Vacancies in the office of director shall be filled for the unexpired term by
the appointing authority. The director shall devote full time to duties and shall not engage in
the private practice of law.
    Subd. 3. Employees, office space. The director may hire such employees as are necessary to
carry out duties. Such employees shall be in the unclassified service of the state.
The commissioner of administration shall provide the director with suitable office space.
    Subd. 4. Duties. The director shall carry out the duties assigned to the county attorneys
council by Laws 1973, chapter 564 and shall perform such other functions as may be assigned
from time to time by the county attorneys council.
History: 1973 c 564 s 2 subds 1-4; 1986 c 444
    Subdivision 1. By county board. The county board of any county in Minnesota by resolution
may provide that the office of the county attorney shall be a full-time position and require that one
elected to the office not engage in the private practice of law.
    Subd. 2. In January before filing; salary. If the office of county attorney is made a full-time
position, the action shall be taken at the January meeting prior to the first date on which applicants
may file for the office of county attorney. The salary shall be set by the county board as provided
in section 388.18, subdivision 2.
History: 1974 c 262 s 1
    Subdivision 1. When paid. The county board shall pay the salary of the county attorney at
intervals as the board shall determine but not less than once each month.
    Subd. 2. Budget. The county board by resolution shall provide the budget for the salary of
the full time county attorney.
    Subd. 3. Salary appeal. The county attorney, if dissatisfied with the action of the county
board in setting the amount of the county attorney's salary, may appeal on the same grounds and
in the same manner as provided in section 388.18, subdivision 6.
History: 1974 c 262 s 2; 1986 c 444
    Subdivision 1. Authority. The county attorney, or any deputy or assistant county attorney
whom the county attorney authorizes in writing, has the authority to subpoena and require the
production of any records of telephone companies, cellular phone companies, paging companies,
subscribers of private computer networks including Internet service providers or computer
bulletin board systems, electric companies, gas companies, water utilities, chemical suppliers,
hotels and motels, pawn shops, airlines, buses, taxis, and other entities engaged in the business
of transporting people, and freight companies, warehousing companies, self-service storage
facilities, package delivery companies, and other entities engaged in the businesses of transport,
storage, or delivery, and records of the existence of safe deposit box account numbers and
customer savings and checking account numbers maintained by financial institutions and safe
deposit companies, insurance records relating to the monetary payment or settlement of claims,
and wage and employment records of an applicant or recipient of public assistance who is the
subject of a welfare fraud investigation relating to eligibility information for public assistance
programs. Subpoenas may only be issued for records that are relevant to an ongoing legitimate
law enforcement investigation. Administrative subpoenas may only be issued in welfare fraud
cases if there is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. This provision applies only
to the records of business entities and does not extend to private individuals or their dwellings.
    Subd. 2. Enforcement. The subpoena shall be enforceable through the district court.
    Subd. 3. Expenses. The person directed to produce the records shall be paid reasonable
expenses incurred in producing the records.
    Subd. 4. Disclosure prohibited. The subpoena must state that the person to whom the
subpoena is directed may not disclose the fact that the subpoena was issued or the fact that the
requested records have been given to law enforcement personnel except:
(1) insofar as the disclosure is necessary to find and disclose the records; or
(2) pursuant to court order.
    Subd. 5. Penalty. The willful failure to produce the documents required by the subpoena is
a misdemeanor.
    Subd. 6. Ex parte order. Upon the ex parte request of the attorney issuing the subpoena, the
district court may issue an order directing the production of the records. It is not necessary for
either the request or the order to be filed with the court administrator. Failure to comply with the
court order subjects the person who fails to comply to civil or criminal contempt of court, or both.
History: 1989 c 336 art 2 s 2; 1992 c 569 s 24; 1993 c 326 art 7 s 10; 1Sp1993 c 1 art 6 s
41; 1994 c 636 art 2 s 10; 1997 c 85 art 5 s 25; 1997 c 239 art 3 s 3; 2001 c 197 s 3
    Subdivision 1. Definition. As used in this section:
(1) a child under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court is an "offender" if:
(i) the child is petitioned for, or probable cause exists to petition or take the child into
custody for, a felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor offense, other than an offense against
the person, but has not yet entered a plea in the proceedings;
(ii) the child has not previously been adjudicated in Minnesota or any other state for any
offense against the person; and
(iii) the child has not previously been petitioned for an offense in Minnesota and then had
the petition dismissed as part of a diversion program, including a program that existed before
July 1, 1995; and
(2) "pretrial diversion" means the decision of a prosecutor to refer an offender to a diversion
program on condition that the delinquency petition against the offender will be dismissed or the
petition will not be filed after a specified period of time if the offender successfully completes the
    Subd. 2. Establishment of program. By July 1, 1995, every county attorney shall establish
a pretrial diversion program for offenders. If the county attorney's county participates in the
Community Corrections Act as part of a group of counties under section 401.02, the county
attorney may establish a pretrial diversion program in conjunction with other county attorneys in
that group of counties. The program must be designed and operated to further the following goals:
(1) to provide eligible offenders with an alternative to adjudication that emphasizes
restorative justice;
(2) to reduce the costs and caseload burdens on juvenile courts and the juvenile justice
(3) to minimize recidivism among diverted offenders;
(4) to promote the collection of restitution to the victim of the offender's crime;
(5) to develop responsible alternatives to the juvenile justice system for eligible offenders;
(6) to develop collaborative use of demonstrated successful culturally specific programming,
where appropriate.
    Subd. 3. Program components. A diversion program established under this section may:
(1) provide screening services to the court and the prosecuting authorities to help identify
likely candidates for pretrial diversion;
(2) establish goals for diverted offenders and monitor performance of these goals;
(3) perform chemical dependency assessments of diverted offenders where indicated, make
appropriate referrals for treatment, and monitor treatment and aftercare;
(4) provide individual, group, and family counseling services;
(5) oversee the payment of victim restitution by diverted offenders;
(6) assist diverted offenders in identifying and contacting appropriate community resources;
(7) provide educational services to diverted offenders to enable them to earn a high school
diploma or GED; and
(8) provide accurate information on how diverted offenders perform in the program to the
court, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and probation officers.
    Subd. 4. Reporting of data to criminal justice information system (CJIS). Effective
August 1, 1997, every county attorney who establishes a diversion program under this section
shall report the following information to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension:
(1) the name and date of birth of each diversion program participant and any other identifying
information the superintendent considers necessary;
(2) the date on which the individual began to participate in the diversion program;
(3) the date on which the individual is expected to complete the diversion program;
(4) the date on which the individual successfully completed the diversion program, where
applicable; and
(5) the date on which the individual was removed from the diversion program for failure to
successfully complete the individual's goals, where applicable.
The superintendent shall cause the information described in this subdivision to be entered into
and maintained in the criminal history file of the Minnesota Criminal Justice Information System.
    Subd. 5.[Repealed, 1997 c 7 art 2 s 67]
History: 1994 c 576 s 42; 1995 c 226 art 4 s 19; 1995 c 259 art 1 s 54
The County Attorneys Association, in conjunction with the attorney general's office and
the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, shall conduct an annual training course for prosecutors,
public defenders, and peace officers on the specific sentencing statutes and Sentencing Guidelines
applicable to persons convicted of sex offenses and crimes that are sexually motivated. The
training shall focus on the sentencing provisions applicable to repeat sex offenders and patterned
sex offenders. The course may be combined with other training conducted by the County
Attorneys Association or other groups.
History: 1995 c 226 art 2 s 5

Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes