Friday, December 28, 2012

Minnesota Drug Possession (Explained)

Possession of drugs is a serious crime, regardless of how much or how little you are caught with. However, as a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, I know the ways to get out of this. 

Possession of drugs can either be considered a felony or a gross misdemeanor offense depending on the amount in your possession and the circumstances surrounding the arrest. All drug crimes are tried in a separate Minnesota court and follow a different set of rules. It is important that you seek legal advice from an experienced Minneapolis drug crime attorney as soon as you are arrested or accused of any drug possession crime.


Here's a list of the possible charges the accused might face:

  • Possession of narcotics with the intent to sell
  • Possession of marijuana
  • Possession of narcotics
  • Possession of marijuana with the intent to sell
  • Possession of certain chemicals with the intent to manufacturer
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia

The penalty one could incur depends on a number of factors including how much drugs he/she had had in their possession, what was the intent of having this drug and what drug(s) were they actually caught with. One's criminal record may also play a role in their punishment. If someone has been convicted of any drug crime in the past, then he/she could be looking at more severe penalties this time around.  Penalties for drug crimes include fines and fees, community service, drug rehabilitation in some instances and jail/prison time.

Those under the age of 18 can also be charged with drug possession under the Minnesota law. This would be considered a juvenile crime and tried in a separate court of law. However, a juvenile can still face fines, probation, and detention time and community service for possession of drugs.

What Should You do?

Even the tiniest joint or minuscule traces of cocaine can end up on your permanent record. Furthermore, if you are found in possession of scales, a pipe or plastic baggies, you could also be arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. The more drugs found in your possession, the worse your punishment will be, especially if there are suspicions that you were planning on selling the drugs. Possession of drugs for personal use is considered a lot less severe than possession of drugs with the intent to distribute. However, a crime is still a crime and will end up on your permanent record if convicted.

It is important to understand that just because you have been arrested for drug possession does not automatically make you a convicted criminal, or a bad person. There are a number of defense strategies to take when faced with a possession drug crime. If the drugs are not clearly in your possession (in your pocket), then there may be a case for mistaken identity. You could plead that the drugs found in your car or house were not yours. If the drugs were discovered during an illegal search and seizure that violated your right to privacy, then the evidence collected cannot be used against you.  Our firm will assess your case, gather evidence, consult with experts and determine the best defense tactics to take for your situation.

Don’t let one mistake ruin the rest of your life. The Rolloff Law Office is there when you need us most. It is important to act fast when facing an arrest and criminal conviction. I  can provide you with the aggressive representation and legal assistance you need to ensure the best outcome possible. Contact me today at (612) 234-1165.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

MN Assualt Chrges (Explained)

Assault is defined as the intentional use of violence and force on another person in order to cause bodily harm, or putting that person in fear of being harmed. There are many different types of assault crimes such as stalking, harassment, battery, assault with a deadly weapon, terrorist threats, sexual assault, child abuse and domestic assault. Depending on the circumstances of the case, it can be charged as either a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony offense. 

Domestic assault is the act of physically harming, threatening or harassing a family member such as a spouse or blood relative, someone with whom you live, a boyfriend, girlfriend, or domestic partner.

As a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, I have worked on hundreds of cases like these.  As a former prosecutor, I can tell you they are tough for the state to prove; however, without a good lawyer by your side - you could be in for a heck of an uphill battle.  

Degrees of Assault

First Degree Assault: This crime is charged when the alleged victim is inflicted with great bodily harm or if the offense is committed against a peace officer.

Second Degree Assault: The defendant may be charged with this offense if a dangerous weapon is used in commission of the crime.

Third Degree Assault: This crime is charged when the defendant assaults another person and causes substantial bodily harm, or if the defendant is accused of assaulting a minor. It is a felony to assault a child under 4 years of age.

Fourth Degree Assault: This charge is a gross misdemeanor that results from assaulting a police officer, fire fighter, or emergency medical personnel in commission of their jobs.

Fifth Degree Assault: This crime can be charged when a person intentionally commits an act to cause fear of immediate bodily harm or death to a victim, or if they intentionally inflict or attempt to inflict physical harm upon a victim.

The Consequences of Conviction - Criinal and otherwise

A conviction in an assault case can result in:

  • Imprisonment
  • Fines
  • Restitution
  • Anger management classes
  • Mandatory counseling
  • A restraining order
  • The loss of your rights to own and possess fire-arms --- forever!
  • Child custody problems (domestic assault)
There are various factors that will determine the harshness of the sentencing, including the severity of injuries resulting from the assault, the use of a deadly weapon such as a gun or knife in the assault (aggravated assault), and the person's prior criminal history.

What Should You do?

If you have been charged with assault, a knowledgeable law firm should be contacted immediately for assistance. Any type of assault case requires immediate intervention by a skilled lawyer who can protect your rights. The Rolloff Law Office offers highly skilled assistance with assault cases, including domestic assault. We are well-versed in assault laws and can provide the qualified and knowledgeable legal representation you will need when fighting domestic assault charges.  Want FREE ANSWERS? Call today: (612) 234-1165.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Difference Between a Misdemeanor & Felony (Explained)

As an affordable Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney I get lots of questions --- here is one of the most common: 

What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?

In the State of Minnesota you can be charged with a petty misdemeanor, misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony. With the exception of felony charges, the other criminal charge classifications dictate the maximum punishment a Minnesota court is allowed to impose upon a conviction. 

By contrast, felony charges, the most serious of criminal charges in Minnesota, are characterized as having a risk of imprisonment of at least one year and one day. Petty misdemeanors are the least serious of offenses charged in Minnesota, with no risk of jail.

Petty Misdemeanors are not a crime as the maximum punishment allowable by law is a $300 fine. Regardless of the nature of the petty misdemeanor, by definition, there is never any risk you will be subject to any jail sentence stemming from a conviction. Unlike more serious charges, there is no right to have a public defender appointed to represent you. Additionally, because a jail sentence is not allowable under the law, the verdict at a petty misdemeanor trial is decided by a judge, not a jury. Although petty misdemeanors are the least serious offense in Minnesota, a conviction is of public record, and accessible by employers, landlords, etc.

A Misdemeanor conviction in Minnesota carries a maximum punishment of 90 days of jail, or $1,000 fine, or both. Because there exists a risk of jail if convicted, you have a right to an attorney and to have your case decided by a jury of six of your peers if you are charged with a misdemeanor. Like all other convictions, you may be subject to collateral consequences above and beyond jail and/or fines as the conviction record is public.

Gross Misdemeanor convictions carry a maximum punishment of one year in jail, or a fine $3,000, or both

A Felony conviction carries at least one year and one day in prison, plus any associated fines. In addition to the prison sentence and fines resulting from a felony conviction, you will likely be subject to numerous other collateral consequences. For example, you may lose many important constitutional rights such as your 2nd Amendment firearms rights or your right to vote. Other consequences of a felony conviction include difficulty securing employment and housing. Although felonies are characterized by a sentence to prison of at least a year and a day, depending on your criminal history, the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines oftentimes dictate that a prison sentence be stayed, conditioned on a successful probationary period and local confinement in a county jail or workhouse.

Bear in mind that, with exception of felonies, the punishments outlined above provide the maximum allowable jail and fines. However, even if you are convicted of a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor, having an experienced criminal defense lawyer like J. Rolloff to advocate on for you typically results in a sentence substantially less than the maximum allowable sentences or no jail at all. Contact the Rolloff Law Office ---  24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For flexible and affordable payment options, confidential and personal service, aggressive representation and a free initial consultation, Call today: (612) 234-1165.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Minnesota DWI Bails (Explained)

The term “bail” refers to money in an amount determined by a judge and based on certain facts in a given case that is sometimes one of the conditions of release that an individual facing criminal charges may have placed on him pending his next court appearance in a case.  There are some cases in which the accused is allowed to be released on his own recognizance, meaning he must simply remain law abiding and stay in contact with his Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney and make his or her next court appearance in order to be released.  Almost every cases in Minnesota involve conditions of release and/or bail. 

Minnesota law states that if a bail amount is set as a condition of release - the judge must set two bail amounts, one that is based on the individual keeping other conditions of release – like wearing an alcohol monitor – as well as an amount that is unconditional, and based on the individual not having to maintain any other conditions while released pending his or her next court appearance.  In some cases bail is Mandatory.

Mandatory Bail 

Minnesota Statute Section 169A.44 states that mandatory bail, imposed as either conditions of release plus a lesser amount of bail or as the maximum amount of bail and no conditions, must be imposed in order for a person to be released pending his or her next court appearance if any of the following facts apply to a Drunk Driving offense that is other than a fourth degree DWI; specifically cases where there was a BAC of over 0.20; there was a test refusal; there was a child under 16 present in the vehicle; or the DUI occurred while the person’s license was cancelled as inimical to public safety (IPS).   

Minnesota Statute Section 629.471 outlines the amount of bail that is the maximum a court can impose for any given charged crime in Minnesota.  Basically, this law states that, with a couple exceptions, a person charged with a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor, the maximum amount of bail that can be set is double whatever the highest cash fine that can be imposed for that offense is.  So, if a misdemeanor carries a maximum $1000 fine penalty, the maximum amount of bail that can be set for that offense is $2000. 

There are a few exceptions.  For misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors under Sections 169.09 (hit and run accidents), 169A.20 (DUI/DWI charges), 171.24 subdivision 5 (driving after cancellation, inimical to public safety), or 609.525 (transporting stolen goods into the state), the maximum amount of bail that can be set is four times the maximum cash fine penalty.  Also, for charges of assault, domestic assault, domestic abuse, or malicious punishment of a child, the maximum bail is six times the applicable fine. 

As for felony Drunk Driving charges, Minnesota Statute Section 629.471 specifically states that it does not apply.  The maximum cash fine penalty for a first degree, or felony, DWI is $14,000, according to Section 169A.24.  However, the maximum bail amount that can be set for a felony DWI is $12,000, just like for a gross misdemeanor DUI.  This is the amount the bail would be if there were no conditions of release accompanying the individual’s release pending his or her next court appearance in the case.

Unconditional and Conditional Bail Amounts and Degree of DUI Charge

 Anytime the bail amount imposed is less than the maximum, there will be conditions of release that apply.  If the circumstances in a Drunk Driving case that includes any of the following, the release conditions will almost always include the condition that the person agree to abstain from alcohol and to submit to remote electronic alcohol monitoring (REAM) involving at least daily breath-alcohol measurements.  These circumstances include: 

  • a third implied consent violation is ten years, 
  • a second violation if under age 19, 
  • a violation while cancelled as IPS, or 
  • a violation including a BAC of over 0.20.  

Also, if charged with the fourth or more DWI in a ten year period, a person will face additional conditions such as: impoundment of the vehicle registration plates, or impoundment of the off-road recreational vehicle or motorboat itself, if one was being driven; a requirement for reporting at least weekly to a probation officer, involving random breath alcohol testing and/or urinalysis; and a requirement to reimburse the court for these services upon conviction for the crime.

In sum, if you are charged with a second or first degree DUI/DWI, you will be subject to mandatory bail.  You and your Minnesota Criminal Lawyer will need to decide which combination of conditions of release and bail amount are in your best interests, based on the facts of your individual case and your current life circumstances.  Remember, that while the maximum bail amount applies if there are no conditions on someone’s release, which seems like it would be the most expensive option, sometimes the conditions of release that accompany the lower bail amount are more expensive – for example, the alco-sensor anklet can end up costing more over the course of the several months the criminal case takes to be resolved than posting the maximum bail amount may cost.

Getting your Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney involved as early on in your case as you can is the best thing you can do to protect your rights and ensure that if there are applicable bail arguments that could help you, those arguments are made at the appropriate time to the court on your behalf. Call the Rolloff Law Office today and get FREE Answers: (612) 234-1165.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What Should I Do If I’m Stopped by the Police?

Here's a couple of easy answers to some hard questions about contact with the police from an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.  

I.  Do I Have To Answer Questions If I am Stopped by the Police?

No, you don’t, not under any circumstances. But note this twist that surprises some people: the safer you feel, the more likely you are to incriminate yourself.  So, what should I do if I am stopped by police?  I’ve discussed this before, but it merits fine tuning.

II. Am I Under Arrest?

If you are stopped by police and talk to them and you are free to leave—such as if you are not in a squad car or police station, or if you have been told you are not under arrest or are not a suspect in a crime—what you say to the police can be used against you without a prior Miranda warning or an opportunity to have your lawyer present.

III. If You are Under Arrest

Once you’re under arrest or “in custody,” the police cannot use what you say against you unless you have been Mirandized first and told that you have a right not to speak and to have an attorney present.   The basic distinction between whether you are or are not under arrest is whether you are free to leave.

But it is not illegal for the police to allow you to feel free to leave so you will talk to them–then they arrest you five minutes later.  (Trust me - It happens.)

IV. I Got a DWI. When Was I Under Arrest? What Should I Do?

Most of my clients tell me that they were not given their Miranda warning until long after they were stopped by  the police.  In a “typical” DWI, the suspect will be stopped, questioned in the car (“have you been drinking tonight?”), given field sobriety tests (heel-to-toe walk, follow the pen with your eyes), handcuffed, placed in the squad car, driven 20 minutes or so to a police station, and questioned some more before being Mirandized.  Anything you say during this process can and will be used against you even though you were not advised  of your right to remain silent or to have a lawyer, because you were not under arrest yet (even the handcuffs do not constitute arrest if the police say that the handcuffing was “for officer safety”).

V. Don’t talk to police without your lawyer present

This goes for individuals who are innocent.  Click HERE)

If you're reading this after the fact --- help can still be had.  Please call the Rolloff Law Office today to set up a free consultation: (612) 234-1165.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Affordable Attorneys (Explained)

Finding an affordable Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney can seem an impossible task, especially during tough economic times.  Unfortunately, this results in many "not-rich: individuals being unable to secure private counsel, which has a number of downsides.  Not the least of which is that the "free" lawyers --- the Public Defenders find themselves overworked, and those accused of crimes find themselves losing faith in the justice system.

Thankfully, there are lawyers, like the Rolloff Law Office, who employ technology (among other cost cutting means) to keep costs down, which should translate to lower overall rates.

First, I maintain an electronic filing system.  Cloud computing has helped lower the risk of data loss, and if files are maintained electronically the attorney can save money on paper, ink and storage.  Electronic files are also easier to search, access, and share.

Second, I use the new e-filing system currently being implemented in many Minnesota courts.  The courts are notoriously slow, and the costs of running government centers and courthouses is enormous.  As a way to save costs, many counties have begun an electronic filing initiative called “e-file.”  Filing court documents electronically will save paper and ink, and help with office management.

Finally, but certainly not least, is the effect of modernity (meaning, my office isn't  a palace --- or a shrine to my ego) Trust me, fancy art on the wall might make you think the lawyer has his sh*t together ... but how does that accomplish your goals.  Seriously, I get just as much done - without having to feed my ego.  Shoot, with a phone, computer, printer and fax machine, a lawyer can accomplish everything they need.

Not all firms are up to date.  Buyer beware: a higher price doesn't mean a better result.  Higher fees might simply be the cost of antiquated methods rather than quality representation.

What Should You Do?

Get the most for your money.  Call today: Rolloff Law (612) 234-1165.  Free consultations... and agressive affordable legal representation.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fight an Order for Protection/Harassment Order (Explained)

Orders for protection, or restraining orders, are typically issued to prevent further abuse, stalking, or domestic violence. Orders for protection require the person to stay a designated number of feet away from the person filing the order. They may also include additional provisions. If you have no idea what I;ve just set-forth here, you may need a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney to assist you.  

Minnesota Restraining Orders

Minnesota restraining orders (order for protection) may be for a short amount of time or last up to two years. Once filed a restraining order prohibits any contact to be made with the person who filed the order. During divorce cases restraining orders can be extremely difficult and painful, especially when children are involved. Restraining orders may also keep a person away from their home during a divorce case.

Although restraining orders are designed to keep citizens safe from abuse and harassment, they may also be filed out of revenge or punishment. If this is the case the restraining order must be fought immediately with force in order to resolve the situation. 

Minneapolis Personal Protection Order Attorney

If a spouse, family member, or other person has filed a restraining order against you that is unjust contact the Rolloff Law Office today. I understand that divorce cases, family matters, and other situations become complicated and emotional. This does not excuse orders for protection filed out of revenge or punishment, and I'm dedicated to fighting them to the fullest extent.  Free Consultations: (612) 234-1165.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Minnesota Minor Consumption (Explained)

Despite the misconception that "everyone does it," consumption of alcohol by minors is taken very seriously in the State of Minnesota by the juvenile justice system. Whether you are a parent seeking help for your child or you are a student who was caught drinking on campus, it is important to seek out the advice of an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.

At the Rolloff Law Office, we represent juveniles against charges of minor consumption as well as underage Drunk Driving. She takes a all-encompassing approach to these issues, representing clients' legal best interests while also helping them obtain any needed help for substance abuse or other personal issues. 

Protecting the Rights of Juveniles

Having had been a kid myself ... and one who got himself into a wee-bit of trouble ... I understand the nuances associated with juvenile cases. Having had work both as a juvenile prosecutor and a defense attorney I get the complexity of the juvenile justice system.  I also have a fairly solid grasp on its resources and the programs that are available to minors who have committed a crime. 

I work  to absolve my clients of criminal penalties as well as to protect their charges from being part of the public record. Many attorneys who do not focus on juvenile law fail to understand that both issues are important, as felonies — even after being negotiated down — will remain public unless they are dealt with properly.

In the end, I appreciate that minors are children, not adults, and need to be treated as such. As such, they should be given a chance to resolve issues rather than have their reputations/futures ruined.  I'll  work with the state and the judge to develop a program that is best suited to meet the needs of the minor and that will allow the best chance for a successful future.

At the Rolloff Law Office, your child will be treated like an individual, not a legal problem. For a free initial consultation*, contact me today: (612) 234-1165 to set up a FREE CONSULTATION.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

MN DWI Defenses (Explained)

As an experienced and affordable Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, I get a lot of questions about Minnesota DWIs.  Before you just give up and plead guilty to a charge of Drunk Driving, you might want to think about all of the possible defenses that could apply in your case.  Generally they fall into the following categories.  

Constitutional Defenses
The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Successfully asserting a constitutional defense can dramatically affect the outcome of your case. Constitutional defenses place strict limits on the way the government can investigate, prosecute and punish criminal conduct.

Administrative Defenses
It’s not easy to prove someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, especially in something as subjective as a Minnesota DWI case. After all, you have a “presumption of innocence” and there are a lot of administrative rules designed to insure that the evidence collected by the state is accurate, reliable and legally admissible. When these administrative rules are violated, you have an “administrative defense.”

Procedural Defenses
Understanding how defenses work comes with experience. The state has collected a lot of evidence to use against you but they may have made a lot of procedural mistakes along the way. An experienced defense attorney who understands procedural rules can point out the states mistakes as part of your defense.

Equitable Defenses
Sometimes there is no “legal defense.” When that happens its important to try and mitigate/lessen your sentence and any potential damages. No one deserves to get the maximum sentence or treated like a criminal for a small mistake.  You need some to present some positive evidence and you need to present your side of the case in the best possible light.

Here are over 70 possible defenses to a charge of DWI. Ask yourself this: "Are any of them applicable in your case?"

  • Defective prior pleas
  • Denied independent test
  • Not the driver
  • Not in physical control
  • Not under the influence
  • Emergency Situations
  • Foreign substance in mouth
  • Burp immediately prior to test
  • Improper observation period
  • Improper calibration
  • Improper machine maintenance
  • Improper simulator solution
  • Intoxilyzer operator not certified
  • Intoxilyzer radio interference
  • Source code non-disclosure
  • Improper field sobriety test
  • No Miranda warning
  • Blowing too hard
  • Prosecutor witness problems
  • Diabetic condition
  • Crowded court calendars
  • No Implied Consent Warning
  • Right to a fair trial
  • Right to exclude illegal evidence
  • Right to bail
  • Illegally admissions and confessions
  • Improper Stop
  • Improper seizure
  • Improper search
  • Right to procedural due process
  • Right to due process
  • Right to a speedy trial
  • Right to a jury trial
  • Right to presumption of innocence
  • Proof beyond reasonable doubt
  • Right to remain silent
  • Right to subpoena witnesses
  • Right to counsel
  • Dismissal for delay (Rule 6.06)
  • Right to a speedy trial (Rule 6.06)
  • Right to release (Rule 6.02)
  • Right to disclosure (Rule 9)
  • Disclosure of evidence
  • Notice of bad acts (Rule 7)
  • Notice of criminal record
  • Right to evidentiary hearing
  • Right to probable cause hearing
  • Right to procedural hearing
  • Notice of relationship issues
  • Notice of identification evidence
  • Notice of state’s exhibits
  • Notice of state’s witnesses
  • Notice of admissions (Rule 9)
  • Notice of informants (Rule 9)
  • Right to depose (Rule 21)
  • Right to release (Rule 4)
  • Right to a public defender
  • Prosecutors duty of disclosure
  • Motion to dismiss (Rules 10)
  • Motion to suppress
  • Right to exclude witnesses
  • Right to subpoena witnesses
  • Right to subpoena documents
  • Right to Appeal
  • Offering non-legal justification
  • Supplying an alternative disposition
  • Demonstrating rehabilitation
  • Character evidence
  • Community involvement
  • Charitable and civil service
  • Military service
  • Personal financial issues
  • Personal family issues
  • Health issues

At the Rolloff Law Office, we try to present an equitable defense in every case. There are always two sides to every story and telling your side in the best possible way is important. In Minnesota DWI cases - inexperienced lawyers sometimes get caught up in all of the legal or technical issues and they forget that what happens in court will affect their client’s lives for years to come.  Call today to get affordable, experienced help: (612) 234-1165.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Affordable Lawyer - How You Can Tell (Explain)

Whether or not you've dealt with a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney or Minnesota DWI Lawyer before, you probably assume one thing - it's going to be expensive. And, if you are like me or like most people, you want to get the best lawyer possible for the lowest amount of money possible. Is that possible?

The DWI lawyer or criminal defense lawyer you decide to hire is going to be trusted with a lot of responsibility. They are holding your life in their hands. If they don't do the work they promise, or put forth the effort they promise, or pick up the phone when you call, you could end up in jail, you could end up with huge fines, and you could wind up losing everything that is important to you. What is your freedom, your hard earned money, and your reputation worth to you?

The Rolloff Law Office Doesn't Bill By the Hour, and We Don't Ask For More Money

At The Rolloff Law Office, we have a very simple fee structure. We have one price for your case, and that's it. That price depends on several factors, including the difficulty of your case, the facts of your case, and the expertise required for your case. But that one price is all we'll ask for. That means if you want or need to go to trial, we'll go, without asking for more money. Most Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorneys don't offer that. Most attorneys make you pay more to go to trial. They do it because they don't want to go to trial. When you sign up with us, you can trust that we'll do whatever it takes to win your case.

With This Much At Stake, Do You Really Want the Cheapest Option?

A lot of people are scared off by the fees we charge. We aren't the most expensive criminal defense and DWI defense law firm out there, but we aren't the cheapest. And the reason we aren't the cheapest is we provide far more value than the attorneys out there selling you on price. What we offer is unlike any Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney out there. We offer great legal services, we offer great results, and we offer you the trust that at the end of the day we are doing everything we can to get the results you deserve.

A criminal charge is extremely serious. At a minimum you are facing 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. And the stakes only go up from there. I liken it to getting surgery. A bad result can affect you for the rest of your life. If you were getting brain surgery, would you want the cheapest guy you could find to do it? No. You'd want the best. You'd want someone with a proven track record. Even if you had to pay a little more for it. You'll get that with us.

If you need a Minnesota DWI Attorney, ready to help. We offer a FREE CONSULTATIONS and we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you. Call us today at (612) 234-1165 to find out how we can help you.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Minnesota DWI FAQs (and Answers!)

As a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney -- I get lots and lots of questions about DWIs.  Here are some of the most common - and some no non-sense answers.

1. What Is The Difference Between a DWI and a DUI?

In Minnesota, there really is not a difference. The term DWI is technically more accurate as to describe the charge as Minnesota Statute 169A.20 describes the offense as Driving While Impaired, which encompasses driving under the influence (DUI) of various substances, including alcohol, drugs or other intoxicating agents. The statute also covers the offense of driving with unacceptable amounts of these various substances in your bloodstream.

2. What's a Pretrial / Omnibus Hearing?

Before a trial, your Minnesota DWI  lawyer will file motions. These motions address various constitutional issues. They may include:
  • ·                    The reason your car was stopped;
  • ·                    Whether the officer had a reasonable basis to pull you over;
  • ·                    Your legal right to counsel;
  • ·                    Whether the officer performed the required Miranda rights;
  • ·                    Whether there was probable cause for your arrest; and/or
  • ·                    Other specific issues related to your case.
These motions take place at court hearings referred to as Pretrial or Omnibus hearings. Police officers, jail staff and / or defendants sometimes offer the Judge their testimonies during these hearings. Depending on your specific case and situation, you yourself may even be required to testify. If the Judge grants the motions from your DWI lawyer the case may be dismissed. If the Judge rules against the motions the case will be scheduled for trial. According to Minnesota law, the Judge present at your hearing must issue a ruling within 90 days of this hearing, determining how your DWI or DUI case will proceed.

3. What Will Happen at a Trial?

You have the right to request a trial by jury when you are charged with a DWI. You can expect the trial to last 1-2 days, and the jury to be to 6 individuals residing in the county in which you have been charged. If however you already have 3 DUI or DWI convictions within the last 10 years, you will go through what is called a felony jury trial. In Minnesota, a felony trial means you have the right to be judged by a jury of 12 individuals from your own county.

The first step of any trial is the selection of the individuals who will make up the jury. Jury selection takes several hours, as your attorney will do his or her best to find jury members that will be impartial and that will be able to view the information and testimony in the case in a fair and neutral way.  Once the jury is selected, the Prosecutor in your case will make his or her opening statement, explaining to the jury their understanding of your case and the reason why you should be guilty of driving while impaired or driving under the influence. It will then be your attorneys turn to make his opening statement. He will take advantage of this time to show the jury what problems and flaws he sees in the Prosecutors case. This might include showing that the Intoxilyzer test was inaccurate, that the blood draw was not performed properly or any other process that might not be valid depending on the specifics of your case.

Once both attorneys have made their opening statements, witnesses will be called to testify. These witnesses might include the police officer who arrested you, the individual who performed the Intoxilyzer test and any other person the Prosecutor believes will convict you of a DWI or DUI. Your lawyer's approach during this time will be to get involved in the questioning process and point out inconsistency in each of the witness testimony.

Once the Prosecutor is finished presenting his or her case, it will be your turn to call witnesses to the bar. These witnesses will be called to help show that you are not guilty of committing a DWI and might include individuals such as eyewitnesses, passengers who were with you at the time of the arrest, or a blood alcohol expert who can explain why the test was not performed properly and should therefore be disregarded. At the end of testimonies, both your lawyer and the Prosecutor will make their closing statements and the members of the jury will be asked to proceed to the Jury Room to deliberate on your case. This means they will review the evidence and testimonies of all the witnesses, discuss the Prosecutor and your lawyers arguments and ultimately come to an unanimous decision on whether or not you are guilty of the crime for which you were charged.

As you can see from these proceedings, a jury trial is not a simple process. This is an outline of how processes go for the most part, but as every trial is different, many twists and turns can influence whether or not you will walk away free and without conviction. This is why it is extremely important that you contact a lawyer specializing in DUI and DWI cases as soon as possible. Not just any generalist attorney can successfully navigate the complex and intricate laws that are specific to DUI and DWI cases. Thankfully for you, in Minnesota, you can count on the expert advice and representation that the Rolloff Law Office has to offer.

4. What if I Don't Want a Trial (Negotiations) ?

Many cases do not go to trial, as they are settled by entering into plea bargains with the prosecutor or dismissed at the pretrial or omnibus hearing.  If the case is not dismissed at the pretrial often times it will be beneficial to consider negotiations.  During negotiations, your attorney will speak with the Prosecutor and point out the problems, flaws and gaps he or she sees in the Prosecutors case. In order for negotiations to turn in your favor, and hopefully avoid you having to go to trial, your attorney must be extremely skilled and experienced in handling DWI and DUI cases.

The best outcomes in negotiations literally come down to how well your attorney can study and take apart the Prosecutors case to prove to them that they will not get a conviction by going through trial, and to convince them that it is better for everyone involved to settle the case outside of the courtroom through the negotiation process. 

If you have been charged with a DWI call the Rolloff Law Office without delay. We will offer you a FREE consultation and will be happy to put our years of experience in (both defending and prosecuting) DWI cases at your service to help you put this experience behind you and move on with your life.  Call today: (612) 234-1165.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Minnesota DWI Lawyer - Explained

Looking for a qualified Minnesota DWI Lawyer? There are many experienced attorneys, skilled at protecting the rights of those arrested for Drunk Driving. Without an attorney, many people almost surely face jail time, severe fines, loss of license, or some combination of those penalties for a DWI charge. By pleading guilty to a DWI, you may be forfeiting the possibility of achieving a more favorable outcome.

Many Minnesota DWI Attorneys are able to achieve reduced fines, jail time, etc., and in some cases, they are able to have the charges against your dropped. Each case depends on its own facts. Learn more today and speak with a qualified Minnesota DWI lawyer by clicking this link and filling out the form on the bottom. Your initial consultation is free!

Why Hire a Lawyer

The penalties for Minnesota DWI Lawyer are far more expensive than the cost of hiring an experienced Drunk Driving Attorney.  If found guilty, you likely face: loss of license, jail time, thousands in fines, and mandatory SR22 Insurance which can cost thousands more in insurance premium!

Do not assume that you have to plead guilty because there is evidence against you

Those who plead guilty without fighting the Drunk Driving charges against them automatically submit to being a criminal, and they face jail time, or suspension or revocation of their license, or steep fines, all of the above, or some combination thereof. You may be worried that the evidence against you will be difficult to overcome – but you should know that even strong evidence may be rebutted in a court of law. Skilled Minnesota DWI Attorneys can challenge the validity of test results and the reliability of test methods that are supposed to determine whether a driver is intoxicated.

If you are concerned that your finances and freedom are on the line, then you have likely talked to someone about the penalties for a DWI in Minnesota. The fact that you are reading this website is a good sign – it takes the help of a seasoned Minnesota DWI Attorney to make a difference in the courtroom and at any other administrative hearing you may be required to attend.

Call the Rolloff Law Office today to set up a FREE consultation  (612) 234-1165.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Minnesota DWIs – Not Just Another Traffic Ticket

Almost every other week you hear stories on the news about celebrities being pulled over for DWI. Their mug shot will be shown, viewers will get a laugh over it and then it seems to be over. You don’t hear anything about it again; but the fact is that this is no laughing matter and it should be taken seriously.  This is why you should consider speaking to a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney about your case.

DWI is a Criminal Offense

Many people are under the impression that if you are arrested for Drunk Driving, you are only held until you sober up and then it is over -- WRONG.  This offense is not the same as a speeding violation or even a reckless driving charge. This sort of charge will require you to  face a criminal court judge.

If you are pulled over while intoxicated, the police officer will normally ask you if you have been drinking. It is best for you not to answer and instead invoke your right to remain silent. If they ask you to take a field sobriety test, you have the right to refuse. In fact, these tests are not considered reliable since sober people can fail while people who are intoxicated can pass.

If the police officer believes there is probable cause to arrest you for driving while intoxicated, he will then arrest you. Once at the police station, he will likely either have you submit to a blood or breathalyzer test. It is important that you not give a statement until you have a lawyer present. This is a right that you have and you should not allow an officer to pressure you otherwise.

Often times, depending on the jurisdiction, you will be released from jail pending arraignment after fully sobering up which typically takes a several hours depending on how much alcohol you consumed. However, sometimes, and especially if you are being charged with anything else in addition to driving while impaired, you may remain in custody until your arraignment. Usually an arraignment takes place the day after your arrest but if you are arrested on a Friday or Saturday, you may have to spend the weekend behind bars.

If you are released after sobering up, then you will most likely be notified of your arraignment at a later date. This will give you time to contact an attorney to represent you against these charges.

What is At Risk?

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest and the charges against you, there are a few possible punishments that you can face:

  • Jail time
  • Fines or other fees
  • Penalties
  • Suspension/revocation of license
  • Community service
  • Rehabilitative treatment
  • Probation

For each Minnesota DWI offense, the repercussions become more stringent. In addition, if you caused a car accident while drunk driving and someone is injured as a result, you may even face more severe charges.

You Need Representation

Defending yourself on a DWI charge can be tricky – especially if it isn’t your first offense or if you have multiple charges against you. For any criminal charge, you would turn to an attorney to represent you and this charge is no different. Look for a Minnesota DWI Attorney who has experience defending people in your situation. At the Rolloff Law Office, I represent individuals charged with DWI --- I can advise you on the right steps to take.  Call to day to set up a free consultation: (612) 234-165

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Minnesota Fleeing (Explained)

Last week I met with a woman who (it's alleged) briefly attempted to evade police with her young daughter in the vehicle --- and is now being charged with Felony Fleeing Police in a Motor Vehicle and a DWI.

The police officer attempted to stop this young woman when he pulled up behind her vehicle and noticed that her license plates were expired. She then pulled into a business' parking lot. When the officer stepped up to her vehicle's driver's side window, she informed the officer that she did not have a driver's license or the vehicle's registration. The officer then instructed her to stay in her vehicle while he returned to his squad car. She then drove away. After the officer pursued her for less than a mile, she again pulled over where she taken out of the vehicle and arrested.

Here's the Scoop

A person may be charged in the State of Minnesota with Fleeing a Police Officer in a Motor Vehicle, a Felony, if the person does any of the following in an attempt to evade police after the officer signals the driver to stop:

  • Increases their speed;
  • Turns off their headlights or taillights;
  • Fails to stop; or
  • Uses other means to evade police.

The penalty for said offense up to 3 years and 1 day in jail, as well as a fine of up to $5,000.

What Does This Mean For You?

If you are driving your car and a police officer signals you, whether by lights and sirens or otherwise, you should pull over. Taking action to evade the police may result in a felony charge for Fleeing a Police Officer in a Motor Vehicle, which would be in addition to whatever other charges you may be facing, such as Drunk Driving. Fleeing police and DWI are serious charges. However, when there are additional factors, such as a minor child in the vehicle, a high blood alcohol contraction, etc., the complexity of the situation is compounded and the penalties are often enhanced.

Fleeing the police in a motor vehicle and DWI have serious consequences and require experienced representation. If you think you might be charged or you have been charged with Fleeing a Police Officer and or DWI, contact an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney for a free consultation. You need an experienced attorney fighting to protect you - call the Rolloff Law Office today: (612) 234-1165.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How To Pick an Affordable Defense Attorney (Explained)

Even if you think you're guilty of something, it is your right to have legal counsel. It is your right to have your own Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer. But how exactly do you find a good, experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney? Here are a couple tips, in case you or someone you love find yourself in trouble some time in the future:

Tip # 1: Ask for recommendations from friends/family

Although someone what difficult or embarrassing, ask those you trust. Check if any of your family members have been a similar legal position as yours and have worked with a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer. If they have been satisfied with their relationship and the performance of the lawyer, they will certainly share some names of lawyers.

Tip #2: Call the Minnesota Bar Association (or look online) and seek some recommendations

The Minnesota Bar Association would definitely have a listing of all criminal lawyers registered. You may want to let them know the jurisdiction you are in and request for contact information of  criminal defense attorney, who can best help you.

Tip #3: Check the past cases handled by the criminal lawyer

You may want to cross check references and see if he or she has handled a case similar to yours. Experience in handling similar cases can be an advantage, an assurance that the lawyer knows how to manage the same situation.

Tip #4: Take Advantage of a Free Consultation
Meet with a lawyer - get a good feel for the person and see if he/she is going to work for or with you.

If you have a legal question - feel free to call the Rolloff Law Office today to ask questions or set up a FREE CONSULTATION --- (612) 234-1165.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Free Answers to Your Legal Questions

As an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney I get a lot of questions --- a lot.  Here are some answers to the most common.

Q: What is the difference between misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor & a felony?

A: There are four levels of criminal charges in Minnesota. The lowest level is a petty misdemeanor such as a basic traffic offense. The next is a misdemeanor. This carries a maximum sentence of a $1000 fine and/or 90 days in jail. Next is a gross misdemeanor which is a more serious crime that carries a maximum $3000 fine and/or one year in jail. The highest level is a felony. Each specific felony-level criminal act carries a punishment severity as specified by statute for each specific offense.

Q: I’m charged with a crime. Do I need a lawyer?

A: You are always better off seeking professional assistance if you are accused of a crime. An experienced lawyer understands the intricacies of how the system works and can help you avoid the pitfalls that exist in every criminal prosecution. Keep in mind that not all lawyers are well suited to handle criminal matters.

If you find yourself charged with a crime, you should contact The Rolloff Law Office. immediately for a free consultation. I help you assess your case and determine what defenses you have in your case. The difference between me and the other guys is that, because I once was a prosecutor, I know this stuff from all sides --- and I understand that a criminal charge can affect many areas of a person’s life.

Q: What can a lawyer do for me?

A: An experienced lawyer can guide you through the criminal justice system and obtain more favorable results for your case. First, I will work to get your case dismissed. If that option is unavailable, I will work on building a defense that forces the prosecutor to compromise. No matter the outcome, I can help lessen the stress of facing a criminal charge and bring about a resolution that you will feel good about.

Q: Will I have to pay bail if I’m charged with a crime?

A: Depending on what type of charges you are facing, you might have to bail before you can be released from jail. If you are charged with a gross misdemeanor or felony, the Court must set reasonable bail or conditions of release. If you or someone you know is charged with a crime, you should contact The Rolloff Law Office regarding your bail situation. I can help get bail set, argue for reduced bail, explore alternative conditional release options or arrange for a bonding agent to help get you released.

Q: Should I just enter a plea on a 1st time DWI since everyone gets the same deal anyway?

A: No! The decision to settle is always yours but simply entering a guilty plea means you will not have the opportunity to investigate your case. Most of the time the prosecutor only knows a little bit about your case based on what the arresting officer puts in the police report. A lawyer will help you tell your side of the case. At a minimum, a lawyer will help you structure your settlement in a way that considers your point of view.

Q: What happens to my record if I get convicted of a crime?

A: A criminal conviction will become part of your record once you enter a guilty plea or you are found guilty of a crime by a court or jury. In a DWI prosecution, the State will use any prior DWI or DWI-related driver’s license revocation during the preceding 10 years as grounds to charge you with a higher degree of DWI. Also, different sentencing provisions can impact how a conviction will affect your record. You should contact The Rolloff Law Office to discuss your case before entering a plea to any charges.

The Rolloff Law Office --- FREE CONSULTATIONS.  Call today: (612) 234-1165