Two individuals in Minnesota were recently accused of committing tax-related crimes. They now face felony charges as a result. However, anybody accused of committing felonies in Minnesota is always presumed innocent until and unless proved guilty in a court of law.
According to authorities, the two individuals -- a married couple -- had received over 35 notices from Minnesota's revenue department prior to being charged. Officials said they willfully avoided filing their tax returns and thus paying taxes between 2013 and 2016. Therefore, they currently owe income tax totaling $55,000.
The pair have thus been charged with 16 counts total of not paying income taxes and filing tax returns. They reportedly admitted to authorities that they knew they had an obligation to pay their taxes but did not meet this obligation. Each felony charge in this situation has a sentence of no more than five years behind bars plus a fine totaling $10,000.
Those facing felony charges in Minnesota have the right to proceed to trial to vigorously fight their criminal charges. At trial, prosecutors must prove every element of a charge beyond a reasonable doubt -- a feat that can be difficult to achieve -- before a conviction can be handed down. This high standard exists in an effort to protect innocent people from being convicted of crimes they did not commit.
However, rather than going to trial, a person accused of committing felonies may decide to strike a plea deal with the prosecution. This move may lead to lesser charges and thus a lighter sentence than what would result from a guilty verdict at trial. In either scenario, an attorney will make sure that the defendant's rights are protected and that his or her best interests are upheld during the criminal proceeding.