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.


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.


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.


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.


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,, 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.


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.