Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Minnesota Probation Violations (Explained)


Within my practice, I am regularly called upon to help former (and new) clients in Probation Violation proceedings. While there are a million different reasons why a person can have their Probation "violated," these charges tend to fall into one of only a few categories.
 
In other words, a person will most often face a Probation Violation for one (or more) of 5 reasons:
  1. Missing a urine or other chemical test
  2. Testing positive for alcohol and/or drugs
  3. Missing a Probation appointment, or just stop Reporting
  4. Picking up a new case, or
  5. Not completing some condition of Probation, like community service, counseling, or paying all outstanding Fines and Costs.
Anyone who gets "violated" knows, in the pit of their stomach, that the Judge is not likely to be happy with them. After all, "Probation" specifically means "not in Jail." Even if a person is given an initial Jail Sentence, they had to have been Sentenced to less than the maximum possible Jail term in order to have any Probation left to do. Thus, Probation stands in as a substitute for Jail. And when facing a Probation Violation, the first and biggest concern is staying out of Jail.

Everyone has their reasons for "violating" Probation; however, a person has to understand that from the Court's point of view, this all boils down to the simple notion that a break was given, and the person apparently didn't live up to their end of the bargain. This is, understandably, frustrating to the Judge.

That being said, there are certain Courts that seem to "load up" on the Conditions of Probation. While no one ever wants to face a Violation charge, some people feel like they knew it was going to happen sooner or later, especially when they walked out of Court wondering if Jail wouldn't have been easier than having to do all the things that they feel were dumped upon them.

Who Violates Probation?

There are 2, and only 2 classes of people who wind up in front of a Judge for a Probation Violation: 
  1. Those who voluntarily come to Court to resolve the matter, and
  2. Those who get picked up on an outstanding Warrant.
Once a person receives Notice of a Probation Violation, they either show up to take care of it, or they avoid it. Of those who avoid it, most are heard to offer all kinds of excuses if they subsequently get picked up by the Police and are taken in for the outstanding Warrant. From the Judge's perspective, all those excuses offered by someone standing before them in handcuffs for not having come in on their own, and all those stories about planning to come in and set the matter straight are like the "wah wah wah" noises made by Charlie Brown's teacher; just noise.
 
However, and no matter how bad things might at first appear, a person inevitably gets some credit just for showing up on their own to take care of things, even if they've been avoiding the Violation for a long time. After all, Judges are people, too. If you just switch places with them, in your mind, for a moment, you can see how anyone would be more inclined to be kinder to the person who voluntarily presents themselves over the person who gets caught and has a bag full of excuses (invariably seen as a bag full of B.S.) about why they haven't taken care of this yet, and how they were planning on doing so, but got picked up first.



How A Lawyer Can Help

Unless there is a really good and provable reason why the Violation should be legally dismissed, an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney is going to have to swing into "sales" mode - and he better be good (like the type who can sell ice to Eskimos, or water to fish) because being persuasive is about the only thing that stands between the person and a jail cell.

Your lawyer has to first explain to the Judge, in the best light possible, how or why you failed to comply with his Order. Part of this is knowing the difference between an explanation and an excuse. A person will have to explain, for example, how they had to work late and missed a urine test. That will never count as an excuse, in the sense that it will simply excuse the miss, but that beats the heck out someone saying "I was out on some friends boat, and we got all caught up partying, and I just forgot."

Then, your attorney has to present options to the Judge in terms of what to do. At the point where a person has, for lack of a more delicate way to put it, squandered the break given by the Judge, the Judge will be hard pressed to start looking for ways to be sympathetic and lenient and give another break. If you were the Judge, you might just figure that a couple of weeks in Jail will do the trick. And it sure would, but we want to avoid that, at all costs. Jail is a quick and easy decision, it seems appropriate for a Violation of Probation and, to the Judge's thinking, it only makes the person pay the price they were spared by being given Probation in the first place.

Therefore,your lawyer has to convince the Judge that the quick and easy decision IS NOT the best one. This involves a lot of considerations. From my point of view, one of, if not THE most important of those considerations is that the Lawyer needs to know what to say and how to say it to the Judge.

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The larger point is that NOT going to Jail is more likely if a lawyer knows how to handle these matters - someone who does not waste a judge's time and knows how to be persuasive. There is a time to be argumentative (during a trial, for example) but arguing with a Judge at this critical stage is a losing strategy in every sense of the word. Thus, even though certain attorneys might be the best person around to defend someone in a murder case, that same guy may be the last person to hire for a Probation Violation.


What Should You Do?

You've read what I've written on this subject.  Hopefully it's straightforward and does not simply drone on with the worn out and tired old lines about being "tough" and "aggressive?" If you think I'd be someone you'd like to work with - call me.  To get the full measure of the man, you have to (in my opinion) stand before him and be able to assess as to whether you can trust that person with your future. 

Call and meet with me today.  The Rolloff Law Office - (612) 619-0262. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Minnesota Attorney Fees (Explained)

As I've set forth in a number of different posts here and on my website, although costs should be chief among an individual's considerations when deciding who to go with when picking a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney - it should NEVER be #1.

I get it - no one wants to pay too much, or any more than they have to, for anything. And, it's no different when it comes to legal fees. Granted, my fees might be more than what some Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorneys charge - but you'll also find that they're less than some others. Yet there are still really two competing bookends to this scenario.

Many people are absolute "bargain hunters," intent on finding the lowest price on anything, regardless of quality, while others cannot help thinking that the more you pay for something, the better it must be. Most often, however, the very best "deal" lies in the middle.

As I asserted before, looking for a lawyer on a "low-bidder" basis is probably the worst way to find quality representation. This is because there is simply no way to not cut corners when offering a discount price.

On the opposite side of the coin, paying an arm & a leg all too often means getting "soaked." Anyone can request every document under the sun from the government and work the daylights out of a file, but whether or not that is necessary, or even advisable, is another thing altogether.


Example

Imagine a pipe leak in your basement:

One contractor may propose excavating all the soil around that wall in order to "get a good look" at the problem. This may cost thousands of dollars, but that certainly will do it.

Another contractor may simply show up and, for $150, slap some waterproof paint over the spot. That may very well stop the leak for a while.

Yet a third contractor may show up, trace the leak, and know, right out of the gate, that the right repair is to pump an epoxy sealant into the crack, fixing and sealing it forever. His fix will cost about $350.

The cheapest "deal" turns out not to be any kind of "deal" at all. The most expensive is downright wasteful, while the middle ground approach turns out to be the best bang for the buck.

Hiring a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney isn't really much different. The primary question becomes how much work is necessary - something that can vary from case to case.

A good attorney will always engage in a factual investigation once he takes on a case.

A bargain lawyer simply cannot afford to do that and expect to turn a profit, so they'll simply sign the client up for a quick plea deal.

The overpriced lawyers will often spin a large story about all the things that "could" be wrong with the case. (To be fair, these guys will rarely charge an exorbitant fee and simply rush in and quickly take a plea. They'll spend the time and effort and get enough records to choke a horse. The problem is that, all too often, this is a complete waste of time and money.)

Going back to the leaky basement wall, the most expensive contractor could tell the homeowner that they'll inspect the entire foundation of the home and dig up all the soil around all the basement walls, but in the end, in most cases, they'll wind up injecting the same epoxy into the crack that the middle guy would, except they'll wind up doing that after they've done several other thousand dollars worth of unnecessary and wasted work.



What Should You Do?

First, avoid the low-bidders. They bring nothing to the table but a waste of money. No self-respecting Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney who thinks enough of his skills markets themselves on a bargain basis. I certainly don't. If they don't think enough of themselves to compete in the big leagues, it's not likely that any prosecutors or judges do, either. They build a practice upon moving cases in and out as quickly as possible, and their income is based on doing as little as possible in as many cases as possible. That's no way to have something as important as your criminal case handled.

Instead, a person should look for an attorney who will charge a fee that will include doing the necessary background work and investigation to make sure the crime charged is legally sound, and, if not, will then have a built-in structure to charge for the work necessary to intelligently challenge weak evidence.

Some cases are rather obviously solid. Say, when a Drunk Driver crashes into another car, and the cops arrive at the scene to find one of the drivers behind the wheel and obviously under the influence, it is highly unlikely that any judge will be tossing that case out. You can spend any amount and subpoena everything right down to the arresting officer's kindergarten school records, but such effort is not likely to result in the case being dismissed.

Other cases almost scream: FIGHT!  Say, when a driver is pulled over for suspicion of DWI, and no breath or blood test is given, there is no actual evidence of intoxication. Taking a plea in such a case is simply selling out the client.

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As a former prosecutor, if I sense that your case seems to have the hallmarks of being sound enough to not get tossed out, which really accounts for most cases, I'll begin the preparation process at our first meeting. I'll introduce you to the alcohol assessment process, and we'll get our first crack at learning how to perform as well as possible on it.  Ideally, we'll make you a very appealing candidate for leniency - to earn you the best possible outcome for your case.



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Hiring a lawyer means paying a lawyer. Pay too little, and you'll get too little. Pay too much, and you've just wasted your hard earned money. A good lawyer, or even a bargain lawyer, will cost more than a new refrigerator or TV set. Most people will spend some time and research such a purchase before handing over their money. It only makes sense to put in at least as much effort in finding the right lawyer to handle your case as it does in buying a new appliance.

In the end, about the best advice a person can follow in this situation is to "spend wisely." Who can argue with that?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How to Find a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney


There are many different ways that you can go about finding an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.  Obviously, I'd be honored to speak to you about your case but the purpose of this article is designed to give you some insight into the places you might want to look for help.

The Internet is a Huge Resource

It is very hard to hide anything about a professional, such as a lawyer, in the internet these days.  If someone has done poor work there is probably an article, comment, or negative review out there that you can read in making your decision to hire a specific person.  Note, many times competitors will post fake comments in order to try to hurt their competition – use your common sense and judgment and do your research.

There are many sites out there that attempt to objectively rank lawyers against one another.  Sites such as www.avvo.com, www.lawyerratingz.com, are two examples that you might want to look at to get a better picture of your attorney.  It is important to know that on some of these sites lawyers can purchase their position on search results – so again, do your homework on the attorney you are considering hiring.

Ask the Criminal Attorney about His Experience
Experience is a completely subjective matter.  There are attorneys that have practiced law for twenty years, but never had a jury trial.  There are others that have practiced for three years and had over a hundred.  There are attorneys that focus specifically in one area of law, where others are more general.  Each has its advantages – a specialist, or an attorney that devotes their practice to a specific area might be better suited for complex litigation but a more general criminal defense attorney may have the flexibility necessary to completely handle your case.

When talking to the attorney ask them about the other attorneys you’ve spoken to.  An attorney that is confident in their own abilities will probably not speak poorly of another attorney – I know I never would.  As a practical matter I always recommend that my potential clients speak to as many attorneys as possible, because it is important to select a lawyer that you feel comfortable with – it is your life, freedom, and reputation on the line in criminal cases.



How to Get a Hold of Me
I would be honored if you spoke to me about becoming your Criminal Defense Attorney, give me a call at (612) 234-1165 and we can discuss your case today - for free.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

What are Common Defenses for Minnesota Criminal Charges?


When you face criminal charges, it is important to not only be aware of your rights but also the possible defenses available to you. While this post briefly identifies and explains some of the most common criminal defenses, an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney should be able to advise you on the best defense for the circumstances of your particular case.

Self Defense

Self defense is a common criminal defense used by individuals who are charged with violent crimes such as Assault. When this defense is used, a suspect admits that they committed a crime, but justifies their actions by claiming the other person was threatening them. In this way, the suspect’s actions were not intentional or pre-mediated, but in response to behavior that threatened his or her own safety.

The Insanity Defense

The insanity defense is a controversial criminal defense used by individuals who do not have control of their behavior or do not understand that their actions were wrong. If an individual is not able to understand basic principles of morality or cannot …the law asserts that such people are not accountable for their actions. In this way, the insanity defense prevents people who do not have the capability to control their actions or the capacity to understand the consequences of their behavior from being punished as criminals. It is important to be aware that while individuals may not face criminal penalties if this defense is successful, they may be confined to a mental facility for a longer period of time than would have been permissible by criminal incarceration. 

Statute of Limitations Defense

If you are charged with a crime it is important to know that you may only be charged with a certain crime for a limited amount of time after an offense occurs; this is known as a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations varies depending on the crime and the state in which the crime took place. Therefore, it is very important to contact a criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with a crime that took place a number of years ago as the statute of limitations may have run out and you may not legally be tried for the criminal charges that you face. Be aware that statutes of limitations do not prevent you from being prosecuted when they expire. Rather, statutes of limitations prevent you from being charged with a crime when they are expired.

The Alibi Defense

An alibi is a strong criminal defense if you have evidence that supports you were in another location at the time an alleged criminal offence took place (see What’s an Alibi?). To assert this defense often demands that you have evidence and eyewitnesses that can testify to your whereabouts on the date in question. If you have sufficient evidence, the alibi defense is very powerful since you could not have possibly been in two locations at once. An experienced criminal defense attorney should be able to advise you on what kind of documentation you will need to support your alibi and help you track down eye witnesses that are willing to testify about your alibi.

The Entrapment Defense

It is illegal for the government to induce you to commit a criminal offense and then try to punish you. When the government acts in this way, it is called entrapment. While this can be an effective defense in criminal cases, it is not always the best defense. This is because you may still be convicted of a crime if the judge or jury believes you were predisposed to committing the crime anyway. A predisposition is largely based on prior criminal activity; therefore, if you have prior convictions for the same type of crime, entrapment may not be the best defense for your case.


Get a Former Offense Member or Your Defense's Side

There are many other defenses that may better suit the circumstances of your particular case. And an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney should be able to advise you on how to develop a strong defense. Criminal charges are serious matters and it is a good idea to hire an attorney on your side.  Let me put my background as a former prosecutor to work for you to win you the results you're seeking.  Call today to see what a former DA can do for you and your defense.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lawyers, Guns and Money (Explained)


With apologies to the late great Warren Zevon ... as an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney I often need to advise and advocate for clients on issues related to firearms. 

The situation could be one where someone is accused of crime based on a gun - for example, the charge of Felon in Possession or he or she might be facing an enhanced charge or sentence based upon a gun  - for example, a Minnesota Statue 609.11 

In addition, criminal charges and/or convictions can impact an individual's right to own and possess firearms --- to extents never explained to them by a prosecutor or judge --- even when the crime they're charged with/convicted of had absolutely nothing to do with a gun - such as in cases of Domestic Assault and certain Drug Charges. 

What are Common Gun Crimes

As an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorneys I am often asked about common fire-arm related offenses - and their impact on one's future ability to own or possess guns.  Here is just a partial list of the more common offenses that could impact that equation:  
Minnesota law prohibits any person, other than a law enforcement officer or a state prison guard who is performing assigned duties, from carrying a pistol in a motor vehicle or in a public place without obtaining a “permit to carry.”

However, a permit to carry is not required to carry the pistol in the following situations:
  •  in one’s home, place of business, or on one’s land;
  •  from the place of purchase to one’s home or place of business;
  •  from one’s home or place of business to a repair shop;
  •  between one’s home and place of business;
  •  in the woods, fields, or on the waters of this state for hunting or target shooting in a safe area; or
  •  in a motor vehicle, snowmobile, or boat if the pistol is unloaded and in a secured box or package.
Enhanced Sentences
In addition to crimes based upon prohibited possession or uses of firearms, Minnesota has criminal statutes which enhance penalties or provide “mandatory minimum” sentences, if some other type of underlying crime is also associated with a gun in certain ways. If a gun is possessed or used impermissibly in relation to one of those other, listed crimes, then a mandatory minimum sentence can apply. 
However, an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer will try to get a prosecutor to agree to drop a gun enhancement under 609.11. If that does not succeed, I can also make a motion to the court to do so.  This called a "Royster" motion.   
Right to Own & Possess Fire Arms
When it comes to a person losing  their civil rights to purchase, possess, or use firearms, there are many ways that this can happen.  The two most common scenarios I've observed are:
  1. someone one who has lost their civil rights to firearms due to a felony conviction; and
  2. when someone has been charged with/convicted of a selected misdemeanor, or other crimes of domestic violence. 
One abnormality in this whole scenario that a felon in the State of Minnesota, who has completed probation, can apply to have their rights restored if they petition the court for their restoration and the court grants that request.  However, a person convicted of, for example, misdemeanor domestic assault cannot.  

What Should You Do?
Who would have thought getting in trouble was the easy part?  Seriously though, this is a very complicated area of the law and if you or someone you love (who loves to hunt or own and possess fire arms) has been charged with an offense that might impact their 2nd Amendment rights, you owe to him or her to at the very least speak to an attorney.  I've worked with individuals on cases where guns rights was an issue. 

Call the Rolloff Law Office today - (612) 234-1165 - to set up a free consultation to learn about how you can preserve not only your rights - but also your future.   

Monday, December 12, 2011

Minnesota Domestic Assault (Explained)


If you have recently been charged with Domestic Assault, more likely than not you've have come all too familiar with the acronyms - DANCO, OFP and/or HRO.  Although all have there differences, the bottom line with each of these court orders is STAY AWAY.

What Are These Things?
  • OFP stands for Order for Protection;
  • HRO stands for Harassment Restraining Order; and
  • DANCO refers to a Domestic Assault No Contact Order.
  
How Do They Work?
Almost anyone can go to court and ask for either an OFP or an HRO.  (The other "no contact" order, the DANCO, is usually issued only by a judge as a part of a matter involving Domestic Abuse - preventing the individual charged does not have contact with the alleged victim while the case is pending.
  
OFPs and HROs are very unique and powerful orders.  They are unique due to the fact that a Court can (and often does) grant them without a hearing or even notice to the other party. Granted, the individual who is subject to the "no contact" order can ask for his/her day in court - but that process is highly time-sensitive and can be quite complicated.  Moreover, if an order is granted against you and you violate it - you could be subject to criminal charges.  This is why it is essential you speak to an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney
  
Often, someone requests an OFP or HRO for their own protection by filing a motion with the court and submitting an affidavit that alleges unwanted contact or hear of harm.  If the court decides that that individual has met initial burden to show that domestic assault or harassment occurred, the court will issue the appropriate order and direct law enforcement to serve the order.  If the party on whom it is served, that person can demand a hearing, put his or her side of the story into consideration, and then ask the judge to decide whether or not the order should continue, be dismissed, or modified in some way.
Why You Should Be Concerned.
  
Many of these orders, if granted by the Court are quite powerful. Even the slightest violation is subject to criminal penalties and prosecution.  And, depending on what sort of criminal history the party charged has, the slightest slip-up opens that person up to charges that could be as serious as a Felony. 
  
What Should You Do?
What you've read here is a very general background on these orders.  If you or someone you love is the subject of one of them - or worse - has been alleged to have violated one, you should have an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney on your side to talk you through this often difficult process.  Not only to address what might happen with the courts, but to also fill you in on the wide-ranging and often unforeseen collateral consequences.  
As a former prosecutor, I am quite aware of how these cases are handled.  Understand this, you might want to go it alone --- but the procedural aspects of these cases are quite unique. And, to go it alone --- well, you do so at your own risk.  
If you find want help, don’t hesitate to contact The Rolloff Law Office for a free consultation to discuss your case.  Call today: (612) 234-1165.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Minnesota Vehilce Stops (Explained)


Believe it or not, the police have to have an excuse to pull you over.  To some this might come as a shock - but that's the law.  On area ripe for consideration i a Drunk Driving case (or any crime really - whether a vehicle is involved or not) is the question of whether law enforcement has a valid reason to stop and/or have contact with you.  As such, here are a couple of things to keep in mind.

What Constitutes an Unlawful Police Stop?

Despite one's best efforts, at any moment, a police officer can stop and pull you over. Sometimes these stops are based on a legitimate concern the officer has about your driving or your safety or whatnot.  However, far too often, theses "stops" are completely without merit and border on being illegal.

An officer is only legally empowered to pull you over if he has witnessed you break the law, or has sufficient cause to believe that you are breaking the law and they need to further investigate your behavior.

Unless you are engaging in specific behavior that catches an officer’s eye, they are not allowed to just pull you over or stop you on the street.  If they do this - without just cause - there may be grounds for having your case dismissed.

Vehicle Stops

The police are on the look-out for multiple activities that may indicate a driver is operating their vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These may include reckless maneuvers such as swerving in and out of lanes, driving excessively fast, running red lights, failing to stop at posted stop signs and driving too slow. Officers aren’t above the law however, and can be held accountable for failing to properly conduct themselves.



What Should You Do?

If your arrest - for a DWI or possession of contraband/drugs - was the result of being pulled over by a police officer without probable cause, an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney can provide you with the proper legal insight to hopefully arrest overturned.  I have ample experience working cases such as these from both sides of the aisle - from the prosecution side and the criminal defense side - and I'm thoroughly familiar with all elements of such arrests, including officers unlawfully pulling over a motorist.

The Rolloff Law Office will look intently into the circumstances surrounding your arrest in order to determine if the officer acted improperly when pulling you over, and thus violated your civil rights. I’m passionate about defending people against charges of Drunk Driving and will fight tirelessly on your behalf to try and have the charges dropped or reduced.  Call or text today - to (612) 234-1165- to set up a free, no obligation consultation.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Minnesota Criminal Background Checks (Explained)



In this technological era files have become very accessible and access to your records is no exception.

Background checks have become more and more common and any criminal record can be very harmful to employment options, bank loans and even apartment rental opportunities.. Fortunately there is something you might be able to do to delete or stop access to your criminal records.

Minnesota Expungement

An Expungement is the  removal of your crime from your criminal record. An experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney can help you with getting an expungement.

Who Qualifies?

Various people are eligible to get an Expungement. These people may include individuals arrested for an offense but never convicted, someone charged for a crime that was later dismissed, someone acquitted (ie. found not guilty) by a judge or jury.

Benefits

There are many benefits that come along with getting an Expungement - in addition to cleaning your criminal record. Once your records have been expunged you can deny ever being charged with that crime (except under oath in which case you can state only that those records have been expunged). For example, when looking for a job, you can tell employers that you have never been convicted of a crime. Other benefits that you may be eligible for after an Expungement include eligibility for housing assistance, student loans, and state issued licenses.


What To Do Next

Expungement procedures are long and very complicated, but the end result can be of a huge benefit to you if your record is cleaned.  If you have any questions or need legal advice --- call the Rolloff Law Office today at (612) 234-1165 to set up a FREE meeting to learn about your options.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Minnesota Theft Crimes (Explained)



Theft offenses can range from Shoplifting, which is a often cited as misdemeanor, all the way up to Aggravated Theft of Property, which is a felony.

Regardless of the charges you or someone you love may be facing pertaining to Theft, odds are you will need the services of an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney who focuses his practice on these types of crimes to ensure that your rights are upheld and that your future isn't ruined.



What You Should Do?

If you are facing theft charges in Minnesota, I'd advise you to contact the Rolloff Law Office as soon as possible.  The quicker you have an attorney involved in the handling of your case, the more effective he can be and the better the results may be for the outcome of your case. I'm a former prosecutor who has worked dozens of these cases - from both sides of the aisle.  I am in a unique position to help you fight these charges and/or earn you the best possible outcome.  Call today to set up a FREE consultation: (612) 234-1165.

Why You Should Do That

Theft charges will follow if you take control of another's property or services with the purpose of trying to deprive them of it without their permission - through the use of force, deception, threat, or intimidation. The seriousness of the charges and the penalties these accusations carry will depend on the facts of your case, including the value of the goods, property, or services that was stolen. The charges will be elevated even further under specific circumstances, such as theft involving the elderly, disabled persons, theft of a firearm, or theft involving drugs.

In order to protect yourself in court and minimize the adverse consequences, it is in your best interests to consult with an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney who has the knowledge and skills to aggressively defend you. against these charges.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Stages of a Court Case (Explained)


As a former prosecutor I have had the chance to be involved in nearly all aspects of a criminal case.  That insight - those years working to lock people up - has helped me to earn my clients the outcomes they want - not just want the government is willing to offer. 

I. The Arrest/Investigation
Most of myr clients have already gone through this process by the time they speak with me.  This is the evidence gathering phase, where the police are trying to find out what they need to know about whether you've committed a crime.  It is vitally important to your defense that you do not speak with the police officers or any other agent of the government without first speaking with an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney about your case.

II. The Charges
Once the law enforcement have decided that they are going to arrest you, they will charge you with whatever felony or misdemeanor they believe that you've committed.  Many times they will only charge you with one or two things and then turn it over to a prosecutor for the rest.

III. The Grand Jury
In the case of major felonies (such as murder) the prosecutor only has input in the charges, the final word is usually placed in the hands of a Grand Jury.  The Grand Jury will, if it believes you may have committed a crime, issue an indictment for all of the felonies that they believe evidence exists to show that you committed a certain act.  In some, very rare, cases the Grand Jury will not issue an indictment - meaning that they do not believe probable cause exists, however this is VERY rare.

IV. Arraignment
After you have been indicted you will be summoned to an arraignment.  At this point you should definitely consult with an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.  At this stage you will be given the choice between entering a plea of “Guilty”, “Not Guilty”, or “No Contest”.  In general it is in your best interests to consult with an attorney, if you have not yet you should probably consider what happens if you plea guilty vs not guilty.  If you plea guilty you will be convicted of all the charges against you – the judge will not throw cases out (despite what non-lawyers might say).  If you plea not-guilty your case continues.

One thing that most defendants don't understand is that pleading "not guilty" does not usually set you at odds with the government - even if the evidence is overwhelming that you committed the act that they're charging you with.  Remember, everyone should be considered innocent until whihc time the state proves guilt - beyond a reasonable doubt.  Up until that time, there is room to negotiate an outcome for your case - which may not mean you'll have to suffer the most serious consequence. 

V. Pre-Trials through the Trial
After you have hired a Minnesota Defense Attorney he will prepare for trial by demanding discovery, or the evidence, that the government has.  This means he will obtain police reports, statements, videos, DNA, or whatever other evidence that the State might have.  Also, he will begin preparing your defense by speaking to your witnesses, examining your evidence and advising you of the status of your case.

In felony cases it is common to have multiple pretrial hearings before a trial, or suppression hearing is set.  Be patient, it is a long process.


The Right, Next Step
If you have been arrested, charged, or are under indictment, you need to talk to an attorney.  I would be more than glad to speak to you about your case.  As a former assistant prosecuting attorney I know exactly what is at stake for you and I would be honored to become your Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer.  Call today at (612) 234-1165 for your free consultation.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Arrested For Minnesota DWI Over the Holidays? (What To Do Next.)


If you were one of the many who hit Minnesota's highways and by-ways this past weekend, you probably noticed the increased police presence as part of the government’s Drunk Driving enforcement efforts.

Unlike other times of the year, these sorts of concentrated efforts to ensure safety have certain side-effects - such as that police officers are in the mindset to make arrests and thus make a high number of false arrests.

False Drunk Driving Arrests in Minnesota


The Minnesota DWI Attorneys at the Rolloff Law Office have fought many Drunk Driving cases and demonstrated that bad equipment, improper lab work and under-trained/over-worked police officers are all common causes for these problematic arrests.

As a former prosecutor, I know a good case from a problematic one.  With  my "inside knowledge of the government's mind-set and schemes, I offer a rigorous and thorough defense to protect the rights of my clients to get them the best possible results.


The Next Best Step

If you are one of the many people who were charged with a Minnesota DWI over the holiday weekend act now by calling (612) 234-1165.

You are entitled to a free detailed consultation - call today and I will explain the charges against you, review the evidence and help you chart out a course of action.

The Rolloff Law Office has the knowledge, experience and dedication to fight your case to the finish.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Minnesota DWI Questions - Answered


With the upcoming holidays, they'll be the opportunity to eat, drink and be merry.  If you do a little too much of either, you could subject yourself to the possibility of a ticket or legal charges.  Before you get your "ho-ho-ho" on, here are some things that you might want to keep in mind.  These are some of the frequently asked questions I get, as a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.
  1. Will I be able to get my case dismissed because I was not read my rights?
    Probably not. But if you were interrogated after being placed in custody, your statements cannot be used against you.
  2. Will I go to jail?
    An experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney may be able to keep you out.
  3. I had three alcohol related driving offenses within the past ten-years, what's going to happen to me?  The "look back" period in the State of Minnesota is 10 years.  If you've been found guilty of DWI and/or loss your driver's license as the result of a drunk driving arrest (within the past 10 years) each of those old arrest can be used to enhance the new charge you're facing.  If this is your 4th such incident in the past 10 years - you're no looking at the possibility of being charged with a Felony.
  4. Am I a bad person, because I was arrested for a MN DWI?
    No, but you are well advised to never, never smell like alcohol while behind the wheel. You do not need to feel humiliated.
  5. What if I burped within twenty minutes of blowing?
    The breath machine may have read alcohol from your stomach rather than you lungs. The result may be incorrect. A similar problem occurs with dentures.

What Should You Do?
My approach to handling my client's cases is informed by my previous experience prosecuting cases for the government.  That inside knowledge, of the government's schemes and motivations, has helped me win my clients the results they want --- not just what the State is willing to offer.  

If you (or someone you love) thinks that they need a lawyer, you probably need a lawyer. Call the Rolloff Law Office today and schedule a no-cost, no obligation consultation - today.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Minnesota Charges - Dismissed (Explained)



As an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, the one outcome more than any other that brings me and my clients the greatest joy is having their charges dismissed or significantly reduced.

Believe it or not this does happen, in one way or another in court rooms throughout the state - everyday. There are many possible options—some quite complicated—to get the charges against you reduced or taken off the table entirely. But the process of doing that starts with one simple step: getting a savvy, aggressive Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney on your side, right away, who will fight for the best possible outcome.

What to Look Out For

First and foremost, I would caution anyone to be wary of lawyers who quickly promise to get your case dismissed.  Sometimes, that the reduction or dismissal of charges is just not possible.

While it is always my number one priority to work to get the charges against my clients dismissed, the best (and often the only) way for that to be done is to thoroughly explore the circumstances of your case before making any determination as to the possibility of dismissal.

No Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney can promise you a certain outcome for your case; however, what I can promise you is tough, aggressive lawyer who will look into every option to get you the best results for your case.

How Criminal Charges Get Dismissed

Ultimately, there is only one person who dismiss the charges against you - the judge. Often individuals mistakenly believe that if only the person who originally pressed charges his or her mind the case will just go away.  That is just not true.  In reality, once the government's attorneys take the case, the decision to continue with it is in their hands.


Ways to Get Your Minnesota Charges Dismissed

Essentially, there are two ways to get Minnesota criminal charges dismissed or discharged:

1. Where the government can't prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

In these cases, often there's was something legally wrong with: (a.) the accusations, or (b.) the process of arrest and investigation. Many times, charges can be dismissed if there is not enough evidence to sustain the charges or the defendant has not been arrested within the legal process of the law (for example, where the defendants are interrogated after they stated they were invoking their 5th Amendment right to remain silent) or if evidence was gathered in violation of the offender's constitutional rights. For any of these reasons, cases can dismissed. One other way charges are often dismissed is when the alleged victim of the "crime" refuses to cooperate with the government.

2. Where the government can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

An odd situation to be sure, but in these cases - even if the judge decides that the defendant is in fact, guilty of the charges - sometimes the nature of the charges and/or the criminal history of the defendant indicates that the case should not go forward.  Often this is done under circumstances such as when the offense charged low level misdemeanor and/or if the defendant has a clean (or even mild) criminal record.  At this point, an agreement can be reached where the judge may decide to dismiss the allegations or offer some type of alternative sentencing. Alternative sentencing can come in a variety of forms, including fines, community service, probation, etc.


What Should You Do?

My approach to handling my client's cases is to be persistent and to diligently work toward getting them the outcome they desire - ie., getting their case dismissed if at all possible. To do that, I explore all options; I gather all necessary information regarding your arrest and the investigation by law enforcement agencies; and I consider the circumstances of the charges in your case, as well as your previous criminal history. Then, and only then, do I move forward with the options for dismissal available in your criminal case.

Since dismissals can occur anytime after the arrest (and often they happen later rather than sooner,) I never lose sight of that option throughout the proceedings. In that time, I'll work to negotiate throughout your case with the goal of getting the charges against you discharged.

If you (or someone you love) thinks that they need a lawyer, you probably need a lawyer.  Call the Rolloff Law Office today and schedule a no-cost, no obligation consultation - today.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fight Your Shoplifting / Retail Theft Charge in Minnesota!


Retail theft, also known as Shoplifting, can be a serious criminal charge under Minnesota's laws. Depending on the value of the items involved - one could face quite substantial consequences - including BIG fines and jail time. 

No matter the level of the charge, as an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, I feel as though it's my duty to inform you that ANY criminal charge (petty misdemeanor, misdemeanor or felony) must be taken seriously if you hope to avoid the harshest consequences now and in the future.

Why Hire a Lawyer for a Simple Shoplifting Charge?

I get asked this all the time, and even if you are only facing a citation (or petty misdemeanor offense charge) for Shoplifting - with the little to know consequences - you have to understand that this is still your one and only time to keep your record clean and avoid problems that could seriously affect your in the future.  Because, in this day of invasive background checks - it isn't really the penalty the judge is going to impose that you should worry about. Rather, it is what impact is something like this going to have on your future --- after the case is closed.

Any conviction for Shoplifting can remain on your criminal record forever, and could affect future employment opportunities, scholarships, apartment rentals, or any situation where someone might look into your past.

Not to mention that if it ever happens again, you'll be facing a 2nd offense charge and run the all too real risk of jail time. If that happens, you'll regret not taking every opportunity to have an experienced Minnesota Shoplifting Lawyer work for a dismissal and keep your record clean - the 1st time out.

How to Beat a Minnesota Shoplifting Charge

There are often excellent legal defenses against Shoplifting charges. A couple of areas ripe for consideration are: (a.) how the facts of your case apply to the statute, (b.) whether or not the government can prove that you intentionally attempted to steal anything, and (c.) what did the security personnel involved do right and wrong. 

If the case can't be "defended" as such - then I will explore the various opportunities available to individuals so as to reduce the charges or find some sort of alternative disposition for your case, short of you just pleading guilty.  

The important thing to bear in mind is that, even if you know you made a mistake, that doesn't mean you should be punished severely. You should still have an attorney looking out for your best interests.  Fin that someone who'll effectively argue for leniency and make sure a minor mistake doesn't have to follow you around for the rest of your life.


Doing the Next, Right Thing

I've worked cases like this from both sides of the aisle - formerly as a prosecutor and now as a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.  My insight in to the government's schemes and motivations has helped me to win my clients favorable incomes.  Let me put that inside knowledge to work for you.  Call the Rolloff Law Office today to set up you free, no obligation consultation. 

Let's fight to preserve your rights - and future. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Minnesota Domestic Assault (Explained)


The laws of the State of Minnesota define Domestic Violence as the use of threats of intimidation and physical, mental, and emotional abuse - and can also include kidnapping, harassment, stalking, and even threats of violence.

Understand this - Domestic Violence takes a toll on not only the victim, but everyone involved as well.  If you or someone you love is facing charges for Domestic Assault, you need to get to an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney to talk about preserving your rights and your future.

Why You Need a Lawyer

There are many complications and legal issues that arise when an individual steps forward as a victim of domestic violence. Having an experienced Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney by your side when faced with a Domestic Violence charge is very important.

There are various degrees of Minnesota Domestic Violence; they involve different levels of alleged abuse and whether one has been convicted of a similar-type offense in the past --- and they each have varying consequences.

Defending Accusations of Domestic Violence

An individual who is being accused of Domestic Violence may be barred from their own residence or communicating (or being in contact) with their family, spouses, or children.

Understand this, it is vital (if you're under investigation for Domestic Violence) that you get in contact with a lawyer right away.  You should also refuse to provide a a statement or speak with law enforcement officers before you have spoken with an attorney.

You can exercise your right to remain silent - you are under no obligation to talk to the police.  In my experience, doing so does not help - rather it tends to harm, greatly. Remember that if you are convicted, it will not only be a permanent mark on your record, but you may have to serve time in jail and/or pay a large fee.


What You Should Do

The Rolloff Law Office understands how emotionally stressful  situations such as these can be. My goal is to ensure that all evidence is correctly gathered and that my clients’ rights are protected. Let me put my experience as a prosecutor to work for you - getting you the outcome you want.  Call today (612) 619-0262.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Do You REALLY Need a Lawyer? (Explained)


If my experience as a prosecutor and as a Minnesota Defense Attorney has taught me anything it is that if someone comes forward and seeks help (and or volunteers information to law enforcement,) they will be prosecuted mercilessly.

Why? 

Well, apparently, that is our legal culture

Instead of working to redeem the fallen, the government all too often takes some perverse joy in punishing wrong doers.  Now, this does not mean that that's always the case, but our laws - in how they're written and applied - seem to default to this outcome more times than not.  Therefore, all rationality goes out the window - and as such I cannot encourage someone to go it alone or seek help (if their problem or issue is legal in nature) without someone who knows the "game" by their side every step of the way. 

This is why I am a criminal defense attorney - plain and simple.  If you're going to get kicked while you're down - you need someone at your side who can defend you and fight back because as much you and I would like to believe that the government has our best interests in mind --- that is just NOT always the case



What Should You Do?

Here's the deal, a lot of people (myself - at one time included) believe that their lack of cooperation or their desire to engage a lawyer before talking to law enforcement would end up being worse for them than if they just go in an explain themselves . Well, let me set you straight - that is simply untrue.  In all of my years of experience, I can barely recall a situation where cooperation (whether someone was innocent or not) worked out for the better.  

Here's what you have to understand, more often than not the government thinks they know what happened already - so instead of listening to your explanation, they're often only really looking for those things that you say and do that confirm their suspicions.  As such, "going it alone" or "helping the police" (who in turn say they'll help you) rarely turns out to be as simple as it sounds.

If you or someone you love is embroiled in some sort of legal dilemma - the best thing you can do to preserve your rights and your future is to talk to a lawyer - first - to understand exactly what you're dealing with.

Call the Rolloff Law Office today to find out more.   

Friday, November 11, 2011

Drinking, Hunting & Criminal Convictions (Explained)


I dare to say - after complaining about the Vikings --- most Minnesotans favorite past-time is hunting.  And, like with most extra-circular activities, adult beverages can be part of that enjoyment. However, (in addition to just how smart (or not) trolling the woods with a buzz and a loaded fire-arm might be,) it begs the question: “Can I drink and hunt?”

Under the laws of the State of Minnesota, a person may not take wild game (with a firearm or by archery) if the individual is under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.  A person is considered under the influence - much like with a Drunk Driving arrest situation)  when the person’s alcohol concentration is (.08) or more; when the person’s alcohol concentration is (.08) or more within two hours of the taking of wild animals; or the person is knowingly under the influence of any chemical compound. 

Now, what this maens essentially is that a person needs not be "drunk" in order to be found guilty of hunting under the influence; rather, they need only be under the influence to the extent that it would make it less safe for them to hunt than it would have been had they not been under the influence to any extent.  (Get that?  Me either, and I'm an experienced Minnesoat Criminal Defense Attorney.  But seriously, I have had some experience with individuals who run up against accusation of hunting while under the influence.  If you find yourself having to answer such questions and/or charges, you need to get a lawyer involved for the consequences can be long-lasting.)

Criminal Records and Fire-arms


Even for those that do not wish to drink and hunt, your criminal record could prevent you from partaking in this past time.  With certain limited exceptions, the following individuals are not eligible to possess a firearm, include those who:
  • Arender the age of 18; 
  • Have been convicted of a crime of violence or a felony-level drug offense; 
  • Have been charged with a crime of violence; 
  • Have been convicted in another state of non-felony domestic assault or repeat assault; 
  • Have been convicted of a felony punishable by imprisonment for more than one year; and 
  • Are currently charged with a felony punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.


 What Should You Do?

You know, if you enjoy hunting - but you've had some problems in the past - be smart about it.  Make sure you are eligible to possess a firearm and  if you're going to consume any alcohol, be aware of the regulations and the repercussions for failing to abide by the statute.  If something has gone terribly awry, and you think you need a lawyer, feel free to call the Rolloff Law Office at (612) 234-1165 and we can work with you to minimize any unforseen complications.jmr

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Minnesota Property Seizures (Explained)


In addition to your freedom, your participation (true or not) in a crime could also result in the loss of your property. Investigations by the government can result in the forfeiture of your property, even if you are never charged with a committing crime.

According to the laws of the State of Minnesota, your property can be seized if:
  • the seizure is incident to a lawful arrest or a lawful search;
  • the property subject to seizure has been the subject of a prior judgment in favor of the state in a criminal injunction or forfeiture proceeding under this chapter; or
  • the agency has probable cause to believe that the delay occasioned by the necessity to obtain process would result in the removal or destruction of the property and that: the property was used or is intended to be used in commission of a felony; or
  • the property is dangerous to health or safety.
What This Means to You

Well, if you're driving your vehicle and are stopped for a felony-level Drunk Driving offense or a drug charge, law enforcement can seize it.  If the government believes that you are selling drugs, they can take any cash they find if they believe it is intended to be used in the commission of a said crime. Almost any property that the cops believe is part of a crime, they can (and often will) take and keep it.
Common Items Seized
  • Cash
  • Weapons
  • Cars or trucks
  • Computers
In addition to this list, the government can order other items seized and forfeited; sometimes up to and including your home. Again --- anyhing they believe was used in the commission of a felony can be seized.
How Does This Happen?
The procedure the government use is quite simple and can occur without a heck of a lot of justification.  Rather, the burned in often up to the person whose property was seized to challenge the the taking. Worse, any decision on the property the government seized may be delayed months or years while any possible criminal case is pending.


What Should You Do?

What can you do? First, you must act within a very short period of time – often as little as two months – to work to get your property back. Then you have to take the case to court and challenge the government over what they took from you. Having an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney help you through this process can make it much easier, and make it more likely that you will recover the things that were taken from you. If you've had property seized, call the Rolloff Law Office today and see what they can do to help you recover it.. Call today - (612) 234-1165 -  to schedule a free consultation.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Minnesota DWI Myths - Part 3 (Explained)


There are myths and then there are MYTHS.  Here are some of the most common misconceptions regarding Minnesota DWIs that I'm often called on to respond to.
 
1. Sucking on pennies or using mouthwash will help lower your blood alcohol concentration result.
WRONG: Sucking on pennies or anything else that is copper will have no effect on your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) result. As far as mouthwash or breath sprays go, these substances can actually inflate the amount of alcohol found in BAC results, not lower them. Both of these substances contain low amounts of alcohol that an advanced breathalyzer may be able to pick up.

2. You must take the Field Sobriety Tests.
WRONG: While the police are not required to tell you this, in the State of Minnesota, the law does not require that you perform any type of test, including a Field Sobriety Test. However, you should know that if you do refuse to perform this test, the officer will most likely arrest you. You should always take in your surroundings and consider whether or not you are able to successfully pass a field sobriety test before you out right refuse.

3. Field Sobriety Tests are always an accurate measure of a person’s BAC level.
WRONG: Even the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that people, even when they are sober, have difficulty correctly performing field sobriety tests. Several factors such as nervousness, fear, fatigue, weather conditions, leg/foot injuries, etc. can all have an impact on the results of a field sobriety test.

4. “Alcohol on the breath” is a reliable sign of alcohol intoxication.
WRONG: One fact that many people don’t know about alcohol is that it is actually odorless. What people are smelling when they perceive alcohol on the breath is the smell of the ingredients often included in alcohol. For instance, the breath of someone who has been drinking O’Douls Non-Alcoholic beer will smell the exact same as someone who has been drinking Budweiser. Therefore, breath odor strength estimates are completely unrelated to a person’s BAC level.



 What Should You Do?

The number on myth I'd like to explode is this: I can defend myself effectively in this kind of case, if I just let the judge know the facts.

Sure, if you have a stomach ache - maybe it's okay to take in some Pebto. Or, if you have a headache - to self-diagnoses and pop a couple of Advil. However, if you break a bone or your appendix bursts - your best bet would be to talk to an expert. I'm sure no one would say that you should personally attempt to remove that appendix or set that bone.

If you're arrested for a Minnesota DWI, you need an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney to help you get past the many pitfalls and adverse consequences - criminal and civil - that lie in your path. Do yourself a favor and (at a minimum) consult with someone one who is experienced in the defense of DWI cases, and who is well versed on the law and facts regarding these offenses. Your investment in such representation is essential.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Public Defender or a Private Attorney (Explained)


Don't get me wrong, public defenders play one of the most important roles in the the criminal justice system.  As a prosecutor, I worked with a number of public defenders who'd I put in the same league as the best (and most expensive) private Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorneys - and they often do their work with little to no budget. Time and time gain, I observed these public servants provide, to individuals who just cannot afford to hire a representative, the essential safety net that's guaranteed in the constitution.  However, as the illustration above points out there are common issues - like a lack of oversight, absence of specialized legal training, high turnover, and excessive case loads - that plague the public defender offices all over the country. This article points out some of the larger problems facing individuals in the State of Minnesota.

You will have almost no chance of winning your case if you choose the wrong attorney.

Understanding the current state of most people's pocketbooks, many individuals find themselves eligible for the services of a public defender.  These state-paid attorneys, sometimes called “public pretenders” can be unfairly branded as not-so-great lawyers. In reality, many of them provide outstanding services to the accused. But, consider some of the limitations listed-above when weighing whether or not you should hire private counsel - especially when you consider your future.  .

Time. Public defenders have increasing case loads, now more than ever. Due to the economy, defendants are turning to public service attorneys over private attorneys because they cannot afford the fees. As a result, public defenders get stuck with too many cases to handle, driving down the quality of their representation. Often a public defender will not even look at your case until you meet him for the 1st time right before court. The attorney may not want to fully explore your defenses or may simply convince you that the first offer is a “great deal” so he or she can tackle the dozens of other cases after yours.

Choice. You do not get to choose who your public defender is. A large part of hiring private counsel is the ability to screen for an attorney who makes you feel comfortable. Being charged with a criminal offense is never a pleasant experience. As such, you need an attorney who will put you at ease and make you feel comfortable in making the decisions affecting your future.

No Implied Consent Representation. If you are charged with Drunk Driving, a public defender cannot represent your implied consent challenge (also referred to as the “civil” side or the “license” portion of a DWI case). The only way to recover your suspended license is to hire a private attorney.


What's the Alternative?

I understand that anyone accused of a crime wants a skilled attorney to handle their case.  My client's (who've previously been appointed a public defender) tell me that they had no choice but go with that option first because they thought that my fees were simply too high.

Believe it or not, when you view these fees in the context of an "investment" in your future- understanding that you only get one chance to fight this thing that could impact you everyday for the rest of your life - I think you'll see that The Rolloff Law Office's reputation for providing exceptional legal defense at competitive rates is correct.  Plus, I also offer flexible payment plans to my valued clients.

Call me today to speak to an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney directly at (612) 234-1165.  I have the time listen to what you want to happen with your case - and I'll work doggedly to make that a reality.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Minnesota Criminal Defense - Top 10 Constitutional Rights


With all apologies to David Letterman... these are (IMHO) the 10 Most Important Constitutional Rights you and I have.  If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, it is imperative that you understand that you have rights. The paramount one being the right to retain a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney. The accused is guaranteed the right to legal representation, whether the attorney is appointed for him or he hires a private attorney.

10.    Right to an attorney;
  9.    Right to effective assistance of counsel;
  8.    Right to cross examine and confront witnesses;
  7.    Right to testify on one's own behalf;
  6.    Right to remain silent;
  5.    Right to a speedy trial;
  4.    Right to use courts subpoena power to compel witnesses to testify;
  3.    Right to a jury trial (in most cases);
  2.    Right to an impartial jury; and
   1.   Right to produce evidence on your behalf.

Hmm... that seemed funnier when Letterman did it.  But seriously, these things are important.  If you find yourself charged with a crime you owe it to yourself to at least talk to an attorney about your options - and learn how a conviction could impact you both in the short- and long-term.  Court, judges, prosecutors --- this is all serious stuff.  Don't go it alone.


If you need answers to your legal dilemma, feel free to call the Rolloff Law Office at (612) 619-0262 to set up a free, no obligation consultation today. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Minnesota DWI Myths - Part 2 (Explained)


There are myths, legends, tall tales and there are truths.  When it comes to monsters and whatnot - such stories are probably okay. But, I guessing that when it comes to you and your future - not so much - right?  Seriously, there are a lot of stories out there about DWI arrests.  Some are not so true, some are purely false and others ... I call myths.  As an experienced Minnesota DWI attorney, I've heard them all.  Today, I expose the myth and set the truth straight.

1.  If I am convicted of Drunk Driving, and I lose my license, I can get a restricted license.

Yes, and no. Believe it or not a conviction is not required to have one's driver’s license revoked for a period of time. In nearly every case, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety can, and does, revoke driver’s licenses without requiring a court conviction of an offense of Driving Under the Influence. In fact, should your blood, breath or urine test at (.08) or greater, your license will be automatically revoked without your ever having had appeared in court or before a judge. Know this too, even if your are ultimately acquitted of DWI (or the criminal charges are dismissed) your license revocation may still stand, since the procedures and rules of the DPS operate independently of the court system. Further, a restricted license is only granted under certain circumstances and specific times.  Each case is different.

TIP: By challenging a license revocation, your attorney can have some control over when your license will be revoked, rather than when the DPS or the arresting officer says it will happen.

2. Even if I am convicted of a Minnesota DWI, because of my excellent driving record, I will probably get probation, and not have to go to jail or do community service.

Your excellent driving record really won't amount to much - when it comes to an arrest for Drunk Driving.  No probation is possible, but in most jurisdictions every person who is convicted of such an offense must serve at least 2 days in jail, or must perform some form of community service. Often there are no exceptions.  And we're only talking about a 1st offense.  If you're on your 2nd or 3rd DWI - the mandatory minimums are much more onerous.  No exceptions, unless you agree to enter a long and costly alcohol rehabilitation program.

TIP: If you consent to treatment or some other form of rehabilitation you maybe able to reduce some of the often allotted periods of jail and community service.  As a former prosecutor, I know what the prosecutor and the judge would like to see on the record before they agree to leniency.  If you're looking for a break - you need someone to go into court and get it for you.

3. If I am stopped and arrested for DWI, I am as good as convicted.

This is an all-time favorite of mine because it hits upon a maxim I learned all to well as a former DA: All arrests do not lead to convictions.  Despite the attitude of many courts and prosecutors, there are defenses to the crime of Drunk Driving which should be raised by you or your experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.  Sadly, there are law enforcement officers who are not above coloring the truth and are willing to "fudge" their interpretation of what lead to a DWI arrest.  Also, many of these same officers are just not qualified to administer the tests you're asked to take and/or they make mistakes when doing so. Now, if you just fall on your sword and plead guilty, you have a 100% chance of being found guilty. However, i you are willing to fight for your rights, and to contest the government's case, you will have the best chance of a satisfactory outcome.  (And get this, more often than not the outcome for for the arrestee does not get worse because they want to challenge the government ... so don't be afraid to stand up for yourself!)

TIP: Pleading Not Guilty at the Arraignment does not mean that you cannot change your mind later. For this reason, do not plead guilty until you are satisfied that nothing can be done to improve your legal position. Your attorney will know how to advise you.


What You Should Do!

The number on myth I'd like to explode is this: I can defend myself effectively in this kind of case, if I just let the judge know the facts.

Sure, if you have a stomach ache - maybe it's okay to take in some Pepto. Or, if you have a headache - to self-diagnoses and pop a couple of Advil. However, if you break a bone or your appendix bursts - your best bet would be to talk to an expert. I'm sure no one would say that you should personally attempt to remove that appendix or set that bone.

If you're arrested for a Minnesota DWI, you need an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney to help you get past the many pitfalls and adverse consequences - criminal and civil - that lie in your path. Do yourself a favor and (at a minimum) consult with someone one who is experienced in the defense of DWI cases, and who is well versed on the law and facts regarding these offenses. Your investment in such representation is essential.

Call the Rolloff Law Office today to set up your free consultation.