Derek Chauvin was charged with nine counts of felony tax fraud. I looked up the maximum sentence for tax evasion. It is five years. Does this mean that, from taxes alone, Chauvin is eligible for 45 years with multiplication. Is that true?

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    You might be thinking of the federal tax evasion statute, 26 USC 7201, for which the sentence is indeed up to five years. But Chauvin is charged with evading Minnesota state income taxes, which is a state crime, not federal: Minnesota Statues Sec. 289A.63. The sentencing guidelines in Minnesota are complicated but it looks to me like the maximum sentence per count, for a person without prior offenses, is more like one year and one day. Jul 26, 2020 at 1:46
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    If I manage to sort through that document and come up with a reasonable estimate of a sentence, I'll post an answer; anyone else is welcome to post their own first, of course. Jul 26, 2020 at 1:51
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    @NateEldredge Answer below, but: yikes -- those sentencing guidelines really are a pain in the ass to work through.
    – bdb484
    Jul 26, 2020 at 3:26
  • Since this was posted July '20, is there any outcome of this in April '21? Reason I'm asking is that Chauvin has been convicted of 2nd degree murder, and for sentencing it would be important if there are any previous convictions.
    – gnasher729
    Apr 23, 2021 at 10:57

1 Answer 1


Chauvin is being charged under Minn. Stat. § 289A.63, which makes filing a false return a felony.

Criminal sentencing in Minnesota is generally done using a standard set of sentencing guidelines, which sort of set a presumptive sentence based on the severity of the offense and the defendant's criminal history.

Filing a false return is currently classified at Severity Level 3 (see page 104), and Chauvin presumably has no meaningful criminal history. Looking at the grid, you'll see that his presumptive sentence would be a year and a day.

Minnesota presumes that simultaneously imposed sentences will run concurrently, and only certain offenses are eligible for consecutive sentences. Filing a false tax return is not on the list of offenses eligible for consecutive sentences, so Chauvin would presumably be sentenced to a year and a day, whether he is convicted of one count or 100 counts.

Given the severity level and the lack of a criminal history, though, at least some portion of Chauvin's sentence would be likely be stayed, with the court imposing some other sanctions as terms of his probation.

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    Thanks for posting this. I also noticed page 80 which suggests that only about 2/3 of any sentence is served in prison, and the rest on supervised release. Jul 26, 2020 at 3:50

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