This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2002).






State of Minnesota,





Russell Patrick Palla,



Filed July 1, 2003


Kalitowski, Judge


Ramsey County District Court

File No. T202617307


Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and


Thomas R. Hughes, Hughes & Costello, 1230 Landmark Towers, 345 St. Peter Street, St. Paul, MN 55102 (for respondent)


Douglas V. Hazelton, 600 South Highway 169, Suite 817, Minneapolis, MN 55426 (for appellant)


            Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Schumacher, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Appellant challenges his conviction of petty misdemeanor speeding.  He argues that the charges should be dismissed because following his demand for a formal complaint, the state filed a formal complaint within the 30-day period provided in the rules but did not serve the complaint on him.  We affirm.



            “The interpretation of the rules of criminal procedure is a question of law subject to de novo review.”  State v. Loeffler, 626 N.W.2d 424, 425 (Minn. App. 2001).  In addition, the procedure in a petty misdemeanor case is the same as the procedure for misdemeanors.  Minn. R. Crim. P. 23.05, subd. 3.

            The applicable rule requires a complaint to be made and filed in misdemeanor cases and made, served, and filed in gross misdemeanor cases:

[I]n a misdemeanor case, if the judge orders, or if requested by the person charged or defense counsel, a complaint shall be made and filed.  In a designated gross misdemeanor case commenced by a tab charge, the complaint shall be made, served and filed within 48 hours of the defendant’s appearance on the tab charge [.]  * * * In a misdemeanor case, the complaint shall be made and filed within 48 hours after the demand therefor if the defendant is in custody or within thirty (30) days of such demand if the defendant is not in custody.


Minn. R. Crim. P. 4.02, subd. 5(3).

            Relying on Loeffler, appellant argues that, although the state filed a formal complaint on the same day that he demanded one, he is entitled to dismissal of the petty misdemeanor charge because the state did not serve him with the formal complaint.  But Loeffler is distinguishable.  In Loeffler, the defendant requested a formal complaint at his arraignment and by a letter to the county attorney.  Loeffler, 626 N.W.2d at 424-25.  Before trial, the defendant filed a motion requesting dismissal of the petty misdemeanor charge because “the prosecutor failed to file a formal complaint * * * .”  Id.  His motion was denied, the matter proceeded to trial, and the court found him guilty.  Id.  We reversed the conviction concluding that failure to timely file the requested formal complaint entitled the defendant to dismissal.  Id. at 426.

            Here, the state filed the formal complaint on the same day that appellant filed his demand for one.  According to Minn. R. Crim. P. 4.02, subd. 5(3), the state’s obligation was to make and file a formal complaint within 30 days of appellant’s request.  When the words are clear and unambiguous, a court must give effect to the plain meaning of the language.  See Scott v. Forest Lake Chrysler-Plymouth Dodge, 637 N.W.2d 587, 592 (Minn. App. 2002) (applying the plain-meaning rule to a statute).  The language plainly does not require the state to provide appellant with a formal complaint.  Moreover, unlike the procedure for designated gross misdemeanors, the rule does not require the state to formally serve the complaint in misdemeanor cases.