Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Minnesota DWIs and Forfeiture (Explained)

Under certain Minnesota laws, specifically those concerning Drunk Driving and DWIs,  the vehicle being driven by certain offenders may be subject to forfeiture and sale. Typically this occurs when someone has been arrested for his or her third DWI within a ten-year period.  This same result can also occur on a person's 1st or 2nd such arrest - if certain factors are present.

This is a quite complicated area of DWI law and as such you should consult with an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney to ensure that your rights (and vehicle) are protected.

Generally speaking, vehicles operated by a drunk driver are subject to forfeiture in Minnesota if:

(i.) The vehicle was used in the commission of a designated offense and the driver was convicted of that offense or failed to appear at trial; or
(ii.) The driver had an alcohol concentration of .20 or more; or
(iii.) The vehicle was used in conduct resulting in license revocation and the driver either fails to seek administrative or judicial review of the revocation in a timely manner or the revocation is sustained upon review.

The forfeiture only applies to the vehicle being driven - a second, third, fourth, etc. car or truck owned by the same individual, but not driven while intoxicated, are not subject to forfeiture.  Additionally, certain vehicle owners are protected if they unknowingly allow a drunk driver to use their vehicle.

What Happens to the Vehicle?

After the forfeiture process is compete, law enforcement may keep the vehicle for its own, official use.  They might also seek to sell it at acution.

What Should You Do?

If you have been charged with drunk driving in Minnesota and your vehicle may be subject to forfeiture, contact the Rolloff Law Office for information about your legal rights and recovery of your property.  Call today - (612) 234-1165 for a free, no obligation, consultation.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Minnesota DWI Arrest - Get Your License Back

In July of 2011, the State of Minnesota instituted an almost wholesale change to the DWI Laws - especially as it regarded drivers licence revocations.

Unlike in the past, individuals arested for and/or convicted of Drunk Driving have new options open to them as it regards the revocation of the driver's license - including the option to almost immediately get back on the road by utilizing a device that will prevent their vehicle from starting if their breath shows the presence of alcohol.

What's New?

Granted, under the new law - repeat offenders and/or first-time DWI offenders (with a recorded BAC of .16 or greater) face longer periods of license revocation, but as a trade off  they now have a chance to drive their vehicles sooner if they choose to install an Ignition Interlock device in their vehicle.

Then, rather than facing the full revocation period, without the ability to drive (even with a limited license or work permit,) these individuals now have the option to pay for the installation of the device - and also a monthly fee - and could be back behind the wheel that much quicker.

After installing the interlock device, an individual ready to drive a vehicle must blow into the handheld alcohol sensor usually placed in the dashboard. The device will not allow the vehicle start, if it detects a sufficient amount of alcohol. In addition to keeping the vehicle from starting, it will also conduct rolling or random tests after the vehicle has already started.  This is apparrently designed to prevent a driver from allowing a sober person to blow into the device just to start the vehicle and to further prevent the driver from drinking while driving.

In theory, the purpose of the interlock ignition device is to help monitor drinking and driving activities while promoting road safety - and hopefully encouraging changes in behavior.

For those individuals charged with Drunk Driving who choose option, there's no doubt that they will be inconvienced - but not nearly as much as going without the ability to drive.

What You Should Do?

Are you in need of an experienced Minnesota DWI attorney?  If so, contact the Rolloff Law Office today for  the comprehensive legal services that you need to ensure the best possible resolution of your DWI case. Call today, (612) 234-1165 for a free, no obligation consultation.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Arrested for a MN DWI - What's Next? (Explained)

If you've been arrested for a Minnesota DWI, you might not know that in addition to the criminal charges you could be facing, the state will also be taking you to task in civil court.

One of the most difficult aspects of a Minnesota DWI is not the penalty you'll receive (or the consequences) but rather just the convoluted process that you'll have to navigate just to get through the whole process. This is just one reason you should have a Minnesota DWI Attorney on your side.

Criminal Procedure

Arraignment: This is the first hearing inthe process and usually occurs about 30 to 60 days after your arrest. Essentially why this hearing is held is that the Court wants to know that you are aware of the charges against you - and the your rights as it regards those charges.  If you have an attorney, you may not have to appear.If because he will be able advise you of as much outside of court.

Pre-Trial Conference: Prior to the date of this next hearing, your attorney will have an oppertunity to discuss your case with the Prosecutor and negotiate the best possible plea bargain. Ususally this hearing happens about 45 days after your arraignment.

Suppression Hearing and/or Contested Omnibus Hearing: After a careful reading of the police reports, your attorney may note "problems" with the procedure law enforcement followed and/or instatnces where your constitutional rights were violated. If this is the case, he may seek to have some or all of the government's evidence against you be suppressed . This hearing usually occurs anywhere from 45 to 90 days after the Pre-Trial Conference.

Trial: The most important right you have is your right to a trial to a jury or judge.

Sentencing: This hearing occurs after trail and/or after a plea bargin is entered into. Sentences may include jail time, house arrest, community work service, alcohol classes and fines.

Civil Procedure

Implied Consent Hearing: To preserve your right to drive in the State of Minnesota after a Drunk Driving arrest, you must request a hearing after your license has been taken from you (within the time set by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety in a revocation letter) or you lose your right to contest this action. In my opinion, these hearings are crucial to an effective and agressive DWI representation.  This is your best chance to get an officer to testify on the record and to begin to develop a defense that could help you win the results that you desire. 

What Should You Do?

Arrested for DWI in Minnesota? Call the Rolloff Law Office for a free, no obligation, consultation at (612) 234-1165.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Minnesota Misdemeanors (Explained)

In Minnesota, a Misdemeanor is defined as an offense that is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000.

The most common Misdemeanor charges include moving violations such as: Careless and Reckless Driving, Underage Drinking and Driving, and Driving After Revocation, Suspension and/or Cancellation. Some non-moving Misdemeanors include Fifth-degree Assault, Domestic Assault, Drunk Driving, and Shoplifting.

Most Misdemeanors are assessed by a citation - which can be hand delivered or mailed to you.  The ticket usually lists a court date on it. Some citations may simply be taken care of by paying a fine prior to the court date.  Some charges require you to appear in court.

The first court appearance in a Misdemeanor case is referred to as an "arraignment." At this hearing, the individual who has been charged will be advised of their rights and may enter a guilty or a not guilty plea.

If a guilty plea is entered, the Judge will usually impose the sentence at that time. Penalties often include a fine, jail time, and other conditions during a period of probation.

If a not guilty plea  is entered (and sometimes this can even be done without your having to appear in court - through your attorney) the matter is then set for a Pre-Trial hearing. At the Pre-Trial, the prosecuting attorney and the defense lawyer will attempt to reach a resolution. If no resolution is reached at this hearing the case is usually scheduled for a jury trial. In misdemeanor cases, both the State and the defendant may present evidence to a jury of six - or to a judge sitting alone.

What Should You Do?

If you have been charged with a Misdemeanor your next best move is to call an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney for information about your legal rights and how to defend your case.  For a free consultation, call the Rolloff Law Office at (612) 234-1165. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Top 5 Minnesota Assault Questions

Minnesota Assault charges and thier close relatives - Domestic Violence cases - are often the most difficult kind of legal affair. This goes not only for the person charged but also the other parties involved.  If you've been charged with an Assault, as a former prosecutor, I know what you're up against.  In general, the laws are set up to protect the victim. For this reason, you need an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney on your side, to get your voice heard, to argue your position and to protect you and your rights during every stage of the criminal justice process.

The Top 5 things you need to know about a Minnesota Assault charge

There are two different types of Minnesota Assault charges. In Minnesota, there is the charge of just "plain" Assault and then there's "Domestic" Assault.  What makes an Assault a "Domestic" Assault?  Generally speaking, "Domestic" crimes are those that occur between people who have a significant relationship with one another - from a wife, to a sibling to a roommate.  The definition is broad and tends to cover almost everyone but a stranger.  Why is it important - this difference?  Well, one big part of that is the fact that if you plead guilty to “Domestic” Assault you will be banned, by federal law, from owning or possessing a firearm - for life. This means you cannot hunt or possess a firearm - for any reason at anytime.

An experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney can gives you the best chance of getting your case dismissed or having the charges filed against you lowered. Why is this important?  Because, if you plead guilty to, or are found guilty of, assault - you face HUGE complications when it comes to your next job or finding a place to live.  The true fact of the matter is, people are reluctant to hire individuals who have been convicted of crimes of violence - like Assault.

Most individuals charged with Assault will be ordered to stay away from the alleged victim.  Why is this important?  If a judge orders you to not have contact with someone else - if you violate that order you could be charged with another crime: Violation of  a "No Contact" Order.  Also, a "no contact" order could have the effect of barring you from your own home.  If you hire an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, he can assist you in getting that type of order lifted or modified so that you don't run the risk of making an already bad situation worse.

Physical contact is not necessary to be charged with Assault. Minnesota law (link) dictates that in addition to touching or physically harming another, an individual can also be charged with an Assault just by causing someone to fear harmful contact.  Believe you me, this does happen.  Why is this important? Often cases like this come down to a "he said - she said" argument (especially where there are no physical injuries) and often the only way you're going to get someone to listen to your side of the story is by having your lawyer tell it for you.

Your Fifth Amendment Privilege.  In some cases, where what was really a mutual Assault - both parties can be charged with a crime. Why this is important? In this situation, an effective defense strategy can often involve getting both parties their own witness attorneys, to checkmate the prosecution and get the charges dismissed outright.

What Should You Do
If you have been charged with an Assault you are probably afraid and uncertain of what to do or where to turn. Right now, the best decision you can make is to consult with a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney. Contact the Rolloff Law Office to speak with me. I have worked dozens of these cases - from both sides of the aisle.  I have the experience needed to guide you through the unfamiliar territory of the criminal justice system and provide you the honest answers you need at this very difficult time. Call today to set up a FREE, no obligation consultation. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Minnesota Speeding Tickets - 100 MPH or More (Explained)

As we're all too well aware - there's winter and then there's a Minnesota winter. Well, in Minnesota there's Speeding - and then there's Speeding (in excess of 100 m.p.h.) 

During the month of July, law enforcement in the State of Minnesota issued over 70 tickets to drivers traveling at speeds greater than 90 m.p.h.  Believe it or not, twenty-one of those individuals topped the triple-digit mark - 100 m.p.h.

Tickets (Explained)

The average cost of a speeding ticket in Minnesota is about $120 (including all fees and surcharges) for those clocked going about 10 miles an hour over the limit. Motorists stopped at 20 m.p.h. over the limit face about double the fine. But, when clocked at speeds that start approaching triple digits --- the penalties handed out by judges can include fines of up to $1,000 and a 90 day jail sentence.  In addition to that, those driver's ticketed traveling more than 100 m.p.h. can lose their driver's licenses for six months.  See Minn.Stat § 169.14 (link)

What Should You Do?

No matter the infraction, if you want to ensure that your rights and freedoms are upheld and fought for - against the big, bad government - you need to seriously consider getting an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney to take your case. Granted they can't always work miracles and just have the charges go away, but they can take the sting out of the penalty that the government's seeking to have you suffer. 
I've been successful in getting fines reduce, jail time thrown out and license revocations shortened or withdrawn in their entirety. If you want someone on your side, let me use what I learned as a former prosecutor to win you the results you desire. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, today.

Monday, August 15, 2011

DWI - Save Your Minnesota Driver's License

Just because you have been arrested for a Minnesota DWI (or refused to take the DWI blood, breath or urine test) does not mean that you will automatically lose your driver’s license.

If you've been stopped for a DWI - then, either on the night you were stopped or subsequently in the mail - you were probably informed that your license would be soon be taken away. 

If you drive after losing your license, you may have to pay a high bond or bail to get out of jail. Under Minnesota state law, you also will face another criminal charge - one that could see you facing jail time and a huge fine --- all of this in addition to the DWI consequences you could be up against. 

So, what should you do?

How to Save Your Minnesota Driver's License

Here are the most common steps that your Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney should take to ensure that your driver's license is saved.
  1. Request a hearing and demand the officers' presence. This will afford you and your attorney a preview of what evidence the government will rely on at trial, a rare thing when it comes to criminal cases. All officers involved in the case must show up and justify the actions which resulted in the revocation of your license.
  2. Retest the sample, if possible. Testing errors may save your license.
  3. Investigate the adequacy of the stop of your vehicle. The officer must have had a reasonable articuable suspicion that a crime or traffic infraction was being committed before he can legally stop you..
  4. Investigate the adequacy of the arrest and request for a test. In most cases the officer must have developed probable cause to believe that you were impaired by alcohol before placing your under arrest.
  5. Check the times of events. Officers must perform the tests within certain guidelines.
  6. Check the labeling of the sample. It must be identified as being yours.
  7. Demand an Implied Consent Hearing in front of a judge. Fabrications and other errors are often first noticed at these hearings.

How Do You Get Started?

If you've been charged a Minnesota DWI call the Rolloff Law Office at (612) 619-0262 and have me review your case for free.  The sooner you get started the better.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Minnesota Expungements (Explained)

Minnesota law does allow for certain criminal records to be sealed. The process for doing that is called Expungement. When a record is sealed - it does not show up in a criminal records search performed at the courthouse.

What's a Criminal Record?

In Minnesota a criminal record is essentially all of the files and records (of any crime) that the state has filed against you. Each jurisdiction - be it a city, a county, a law enforcement agency, a prosecutor's office and/or a courthouse keeps its copy of said records. Additionally, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension also has its own cache of criminal convictions. 

Who Can Access Criminal Records?

Generally speaking, the information from your criminal record is public information - meaning that anyone can have access to it, including potential employers. As such, any person can search the district court criminal records at any county courthouse. Another place that the public, including employers, can access criminal records is at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension - where law enforcement agencies throughout the state have reported to them information that then becomes part of a statewide computerized record of criminal cases.

What Kinds of Criminal Records Can Be Expunged?

Some offenses, such as murder, certain sex offenses and Drunk Driving convictions cannot be expunged. However, most other offenses may be - if you or your experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney can convince the judge that the benefits of an Expungement to you outweigh the disadvantages to the public.

What Happens With Offenses That Did Not Lead To Convictions?

Granted, the most difficult types of records to Expunge are convictions; however, the task is not impossible.  That being said, even if a charge is dismissed and/or an offender has been found "not guilty," he still may have have a criminal record. That being said, these can often be the easiest types of records to Expunge. In addition, offenses to which someone a guilty plea and then successfully completed a diversion program -one's chances at Expungement are more likely.

If I File an Expungement - Will I Automatically Prevail?

As with anything in the law, an Expungement is never guaranteed. First, you need to properly file the paperwork, serving it upon all of the relevant parties, and then you have to argue convincingly to a judge how his granting you this remedy is of such a benefit to you that it outweighs the disadvantage to the public from not being able to have access to your record.  I often will argue that Expungement is proper because someone has either: (a.) been denied work, housing, or a professional license because of his/her record; (b.) that sealing the criminal record will not negatively impact public safety; and/or (iii.) that the individual has rehabilitated him/herself.

If Expungment is Granted - What Happens Next?

Generally speaking, the court has a limited amount of time to grant your request. If the judge does do this, your record will be sealed the public. If the Expunged crime was the only crime on your record, you will not have anything that the public can see. The one limitation is that, as the law stands today, the court can only seal those records under its immediate control; therefore, other records, such as those held by another agency may not be so guarded.

What Should You Do?

For a long time now, Minnesota law has recognized that people who have made a few, isolated mistakes or those who have been mistakenly arrested should have the opportunity to clean their records. If you feel as though what you've read here applies to you, contact an experienced Minnesota Expungement Attorney to discuss your questions and concerns and to get the ball rolling working to ensure that your past doesn't continue to hinder your future.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Top 5 MN DWI Mistakes (and How To Avoid Them)

One in seven drivers in the State of Minnesota has been arrested Drunk Driving. To many, an arrest for DWI is considered the biggest mistake of their lives. However, instead of learning from that mistake, all too often these same individuals compound that error in judgement by committing the following missteps. 

Here are the Top 5 Post-Arrest Minnesota DWI  mistakes:

#5 - Not Taking a MN DWI Arrest Seriously

As like with almost no other charge on the books in the State of Minnesota, an conviction for Drunk Driving will follow you around for the rest of your life. Couple that with the fact that - in addition to the penalties that a judge will impose - there will be life long consequences such as driver's license revocations and increased motor vehicle insurance charges that you'll have to navigate. Moreover, a conviction can NEVER be Expunged from your record.

#4 -  Failing to Appear for Court and/or Driving After Your License Was Revoked

If you fail to show up for court, the judge issue a warrant for your arrest Then, the next time you are stopped for a traffic infraction, you will be spending some time in jail and probably be posting some bail to insure your future appearance in court.  Oh, and if your driving at the time (without a valid driver's license) expect to get another ticket for that too.

#3 - Failing to Hire an Experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney

DWI law is complex and to ensure that your constitutional rights are protected and that your arguments are heard you really need competent representation on your side. To win the results you desire, someone must effectively raise the right defenses - at the right time) -or you will lose your right to argue them forever. If you fail to do that, a winnable case could quickly become a loser. Think of it like seeking medical attention - for cuts and scrapes maybe Dr. Mom is okay; but, if you need someone to counsel your through a major medical procedure... you're goning to need a real doctor. As such, if you not a lawyer, maybe you better turn over your case to someone who knows how the system works.  See also: Believing That Googling "Minnesota DWI Defenses" Will Help You Handle Your Own Case.

#3 -   Taking the Government's First Settlement Offer.

In my experience, as both a lawyer for the government and as an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, I know that the first offer is seldom a bargain; rather it is often just a way for the prosecutor to get rid of a case without having to do too much work on it. Believe me, at this stage of the proceedings very few cases are dismissed or reduced to a non-alcohol related charge. In addition, if you just settle your case, you give up the biggest right you have - and that is to have the government prove its case against beyond a reasonable doubt. 

#2 -  Failing to Appear for Court and/or Driving After Your License Was Revoked

If you fail to show up for court, the judge issue a warrant for your arrest Then, the next time you are stopped for a traffic infraction, you will be spending some time in jail and probably be posting some bail to insure your future appearance in court.  Oh, and if your driving at the time (without a valid driver's license) expect to get another ticket for that too. 

#1 - Hiring an Attorney Based Only On What They're Charging

The government has nearly unlimited resources when it comes to prosecuting your case. To ensure your rights - and most specifically to preserve your future - you need to hire an attorney and pay a fee which will allow him to put in the time and effort your case requires to fight the state's case.  Attorneys must earn enough in the time they spend on your case in order to keep their doors open and make a living wage. If you choose your attorney based on the lowest bidder, he may not be able to put in the time necessary to protect you. He also may not have the right experience with Minnesota's DWI Laws. In stead of the cheapest guy - look for a reasonable, predictable fee.

What Should You Do?

When you hire a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, you should consider more than just price. Ask yourself this, in addition to the out-of-pocket-costs you'll incur --- what else is important to you?  Do you want personal attention, aggressive representation, someone who is experienced in getting his clients just and fair results?

Hey, I've worked on both sides of the aisle - as a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney. I know the law, I know the government's schemes and motivations - and as a result, I know how to get my clients the results they desire.  Oh, and, I charge a reasonable, well-earned fee.

If you or someone you know needs effective representation - feel free to contact me today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Minnesota DWIs and Public Defenders

The person who represents you in court is often the most important decision you'll make - if you've been charged with a crime. Many individuals who find themselves arrested for Drunk Driving must decide whether they will hire an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney to represent them --- or request that the court appoint a public defender to do so.

So what are the differences?

In addition to the criminal charges you'll face - if you've been charged with Drunk Driving, understand this: the state has also implemented a civil lawsuit against you called an Implied Consent proceeding.  Since this is not a criminal action, a public defender does not represent you for that case; however, a private attorney would.  And know this - for a number of individuals the Implied Consent Hearing has as big of an impact on their future as does the criminal case.

Another major distinction between a public defender and a private Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney is the number of actual open cases that a public defender has going at any given time - a number that seems to get larger and larger because of the government's current budget woes. 

Granted, public defenders are probably some of the best legal minds going, but due to the time crunch they face they just can't give their clients the personal attention one would expect when going through something as serious as this.

What Should You Do?

While public defenders are exceptional attorneys, due to the extent of their work load they cannot always provide the time and attention a client needs.  Private, experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorneys can litigate the criminal and the Implied Consent portion of your case and they can spend the time necessary to ensure the best possible outcome for you.  If you need help with a legal matter, feel free to contact the Rolloff Law Office and schedule a free, no obligation consultation - today.

Friday, August 5, 2011

What Does a Minnesota DWI Lawyer Do? (Video Evidence)

The criminal justice system is not a machine that works with the precision of a Swiss watch.  Rather, it is populated with human beings - and as such mistakes and errors in judgment abound. Not only is this true of judges and prosecutors, but where this really should matter to someone charged with a crime is when it comes to members of law enforcement.

Given the nature of a police officer's job - coupled with the power and the authority their afforded - it goes without saying that a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney's most important job is to ensure that any shortcomings in a cop's performance of his job does not result in the unfair prosecution of his client.

Cops and Drunk Driving

During a DWI arrest, law enforcement is required to follow a long and comprehensive list of guidelines.  These start with the initial stop of your vehicle and continue through to what's done back at the stations - and beyond.  When it comes to defending an individual charged with Drunk Driving, I would argue that it is especially important - because unlike most offenses - this charge can be made simply on the opinion of the officer himself.

What Does That Mean To You

Probably the most important technological advance, in the defending of individuals charged with DWI, has been the use of squad cars equipped with cameras that capture the situation and (hopefully) prevent abuse.

Video and audio recordings provide a perfect check on the tool generally employed by officers in the past - their police reports.  Having both sets of evidence, an experienced Minnesota DWI Defense Attorney can better review the assertions made by officers and note their truthfulness.

It all to often happens that there are differences in the words and descriptions used by the cops when they write out their reports and the preliminary notes - and - the video and audio tapes later put into evidence. In my time as a prosecutor and Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, I've often noted exaggerations, contradictory statements, a "bending" of the truth and/or even outright lies.

In any case where these things exist, serious questions can be raised before a judge as to the fairness and validity of an arrest and/or the ultimate charges levied against an individual.

The Little Problems

More often than not - it is not the big things listed-above that stand out when I view the video tapes and/or listening to the audio recordings. Rather, where the fight is rally engaged is in pointing out the procedural lapses and errors in judgment that officers commit.  As an experienced Minnesota DWI Defense attorney, I've examined hundreds of these recordings and found numerous mistakes, including: a lack of probable cause to stopping the arestee's vehicle, a failure to follow proper procedure when asking a driver to carry out field sobriety tests, not providing the required warnings, advice or options related to any requests for tests to determine an individual's blood alcohol content, failing to read a suspect his Miranda rights and/or allowing the him to contact an attorney before requesting a test; and in one case endangering an individual's life by conducting an investigation under dangerous circumstances along a busy highway.

What Should You Do?

Know this, the visual and audio recordings that may win you a favorable result also capture your actions and reactions too. Therefore, this is why you should calmly and reasonably cooperate with law enforcement if you are pulled over and questioned. 

If you or someone you love has been charged with a DWI, do no hesitate to contact the Rolloff Law Office as the soonest possible time. The sooner that I can get hmy hands on the video recordings of your arrest, the better your chances in determining if your rights have been respected throughout the process.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Minnesota DWI Conviction - SR-22 Insurance Form (Explained)

One of the hidden penalties of a Drunk Driving arrest, as discussed earlier, is the impact on your motor vehicle insurance. If you've been recently convicted of a Minnesota DWI you may be required to file an SR-22 Insurance Form before you can apply for the reinstatement of your driver’s license. 

As with all DWI related issue, it is important that you discuss this issue with an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney to explore the options applicable for your specific situation.

What's an SR-22 Form; Why Do I Need One?

An SR-22 is an insurance certificate that individuals who have been convicted of DWIs and/other related offenses maybe required to submit. Generally, the form is filed by your insurance provider and is meant to prove your financial responsibility through a sufficient and existing liability insurance policy that you have with that provider.  If required such a form is required, you are often obliged to maintain an SR-22 insurance policy for at least three years, depending on the nature of your conviction.

The types of SR-22 forms that may apply if you've been convicted of Drunk Driving include: (i.) an Operator’s Certificate for when do not own a vehicle; (ii.) an Owner’s Certificate for vehicles you own; and (iii.) an Operators-Owners Certificate for owned and non-owned vehicles that you may use.

Where Do You Get SR-22 Insurance Policy Forms?

Auto insurance providers, who specialize in SR-22s, will have these forms. However, I would caution you to shop around - because some providers charge higher premiums than others. Shop around; remember, you're going to be required to carry this level of coverage for at least three years, you are going to need to factor cost into any decision to go with a vehicle insurance provider,  If you need help, contact your Minnesota DWI Attorney for a recommendation.

Then, once you settle on an insurance provider, you have to pay the processing fee and wait for the agency to send the proper request to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety - this usually takes approximately 30 days. If you're approved - you will receive the SR-22 form from the insurance company and a letter from the department stating the details of it.

One Important Reminder!

Never let your SR-22 lapse. Insurance providers are required by law to immediately notify the state if your SR-22 coverage runs out.  If that is the case - you could see your license revoked and you may have to go through the whole SR-22 procedure again - this could also include starting the three-year minimum period starting all over again too.

What Should You Do?

If you have been convicted of Drunk Driving, one of the most important discussions you'll have to have with your Minnesota DWI Attorney is on the whole SR-22 issue. Know this, the process isn’t easy, but with some assistance I do believe that you’ll find that it is in your best interest to submit to it if you wish to regain your driving privileges as soon as possible.

If you've been charged a Minnesota DWI call the Rolloff Law Office at (612) 619-0262 and have me review your case for free. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hiring a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney (Cost)

All too often when I field calls from individuals who have been charged with a crime who are seeking legal advice and representation- the first question out of their mouths is: “What do you charge?”

Although an important factor in any endeavor, in all do respects COST should not be the deciding factor when someone's rights, freedoms and ultimate future are on the line.

What Should Somone Be Looking For in an Attorney?

If you require the services of a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, a major consideration that should be at the top of anyone's list is whether that lawyer is going to be aggressive and if he is going to fight for you and your defense.

Trust me, when you hire an attorney that will charge a flat fee (based on the amount of work necessary to defend you in court,) the cheapest attorney is usually not the best attorney. And considering that you only get one chance at these things - usually - it would be a serious mistake to hire a lawyer on cost alone.

What You're Up Against

The government's attorneys have almost unlimited resources available to them when it comes to prosecuting and proving their charges against you. As such, you need to hire a representative (and pay a fee) which will allow that lawyer to put in the necessary time and effort so that he can aggressively defend you and your rights.

When you hire the guy who charges the least, do you believe his attitude is going to be "whatever it takes" to defend you? Or is his attitude going to be: How quickly can we plead this case out? 

Why Does it Cost What it Costs?

One thing you're paying for when you hire a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney is his experience - his knowledge of the law an how "the system" works.  When you look for the lowest cost - chances are your sacrificing one of those things.  And believe you me, your reluctance to pay today could cost you much, much, much more in the future.  Again, you only often get one chance at these things; therefore, you need to think of the costs you incur today as an investment. An investment that seeks to ensure that you will not have to pay more in the future - by way of the impacts on your ability to work, your overall freedoms and your ultimate quality of life.

The Next Step

When you hire a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, you should consider more than just price. Ask yourself this, in addition to the out-of-pocket-costs you'll incur --- what else is important to you?  Do you want personal attention, aggressive representation, someone who is experienced in getting his clients just and fair results?

Hey, I've worked on both sides of the aisle - as a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney. I know the law, I know the government's schemes and motivations - and as a result, I know how to get my clients the results they desire.  Oh, and, I charge a reasonable, well-earned fee.

If you or someone you know needs effective representation - feel free to contact me today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.