Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Minnesota Criminal Defense - FAQs

When it comes to your future - especially when you're facing criminla charges - there are no dumb questions.  As a former prosecutor - and as an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, I get many, many questions - about the ins and outs of the crminal justice system.  Here are some of the most important tips, questions, and examples that I can impart to you.


The most common question I receive is “What do you charge?” The answer to that question is based in large part on my approach.  Generally speaking, I have fairly standard fees for every type of case I handle, and I offer favorable payment options for my clients.  However, I can't just shoot out an exact fee until I determine what it is you wish to obtain out of our relationship.

For example, often times an individual charged with a Minnesota DWI will want me to merely show up and help him plead.  As such, I charge a different fee if that same individual would like me to fight to have the evidence suppressed, or have a full blown trial.

Upon your arrest you need to know that…
  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • It is critical to your defense that you exercise that right.
  • Whatever you say will be used against you in ways that are not now apparent.
  • You must identify yourself.
  • Deny crimes you are falsly accused of.
  • Request the presence of your attorney.
  • State clearly that wish to exercise your right to remain silent.
  • You would be happy to cooperate and provide whatever information is appropriate – but only after consulting your attorney.
  • FRIENDS/PARENTS/SIGNFICANT OTHERS: It is vitally important that if you call a loved one while they are incarcerated that you DO NOT speak about the specifics of their case. All of these phone calls are recorded and commonly result in your loved one being convicted on an otherwise strong case.
  • Call me immediately at (612) 234-1165.  
Common Questions
Question: Do I have to answer every question the Police ask me?

Answer: You have the right to remain silent except that you are required to tell the police your name and identify yourself.

Question: How important is it that I invoke my right to remain silent?

Answer: Along with the rights to trial by jury and to have counsel defend you, the right to remain silent is critically important because anything that you say can and will be used against you even before you hire an attorney or you have a trial. Sometimes people maybe guilty of committing a crime but is difficult for the government to prove it. This can change though if you offer up incriminating statements or if you implicate yourself in the crime. Saying things might get you charged with crimes you did not commit. For example, if the police stop you and ask you “Where you are coming from?” and you tell them “From John’s house.” If John was just murdered in his house, you have just made yourself a prime suspect in the case of John’s murder.

Question: But the police will be angry if I do not cooperate with them? Right?

Answer: Some police officers may be angry with you. Most police officers are professionals and will respect your right to remain silent. They may, however, try to trick you into offering up a statement by making small talk. It is important that you inform the police that you absolutely want to cooperate with them but you want to wait for your attorney to be present. DO NOT AGREE TO TALK TO THE POLICE UNTIL YOUR ATTORNEY ARRIVES! Once you invoke your right to counsel, to have your attorney present, the police must stop talking to you. Do not let yourself be made to believe that talking to an attorney before the police will hurt you in any possible way. The police want to talk to you without an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney being present.

Question: What do I do if the police request an interview with me, my spouse, or my child?

Answer: Again, always be polite to the police officers. Remember, they do have a job to do. However, you and your loved ones have rights to protect. If you have been asked by a police officer, investigator, or detective to come in to speak to them – even if it is off the record – contact your attorney first and ask your attorney to go with you or to advise you on the situation. I will always make myself available to clients for such an interview-but only if the interview is in their client’s best interest.

Question: There are police officers at my front door and they want to search my house, what do I do?

Answer: Remember to be polite to the police officers. Do not swear at them, yell at them, or make any statements at all to them. Politely ask them for a copy of the search warrant that they have. If they have no warrant, politely say you will contact your attorney and then get back to them. If they have a warrant they have to give you a copy. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING WITHOUT FIRST CONSULTING AN ATTORNEY. In most cases if the police officers have a search warrant you would already be in handcuffs, or the search warrant would have been presented to you. If this has happened you need legal representation from The Rolloff Law Office to begin immediately protecting your rights. If the police do not have a search warrant politely decline their request to enter without first consulting with an attorney. We have years of dealing with the technicalities of searches.

Question: Can the police lie to me when questioning me about a case?

Answer: Yes, absolutely, and it is likely they will. Police officers can lie to you about a case in order to get you to incriminate yourself. It is often considered good police work to distract you with a lie to get you to say things you might not otherwise say. One of the classic lies is that your co-criminal is going to “sing” (ie. Give you up first) if you do not talk to the police and tell them your story. This is generally not true, but even if someone is going to give you up to the police it is still better to wait for your attorney. I have years of experience dealing with interviews. I also know how these investigations take place and are supervised.

Question: I was arrested by the police for selling drugs. Now they want me to work with them and they promise to help me out, what should I do?

Answer: You should contact the attorneys at The Rolloff Law Office as soon as possible to discuss the specifics of your case and whether or not it is in your best interests to work with the police. This is a common practice of many police officers to request that you wear a wire or conduct certain types of transactions on their behalf to help them arrest others in your situation. The attorneys at The Rolloff Law Office have years of experience working with police officers involved in drug trafficking investigations and will gladly help establish a meeting with the police that is in your best interests.

Question: I read the police report in my case and the police are lying; the victim is lying ... What do I do?

Answer: You need immediate representation to defend yourself from any allegations that you know to be false. The sooner you do this the better. Do not let the police trick you into speaking by presenting you with false information. At The Rolloff Law Office, I have a great deal of experience sorting through what the truth is in a given case. After reviewing all the evidence with you we will be able to put you in a better situation to defend yourself and expose any lies that may have been made against you.

Question: How do I set up an appointment with an attorney from The Rolloff Law Office?

Answer: Simple, contact us by calling (612) 234-1165. I understand that your life is very busy. As such, I will meet you at my office during “non-traditional” times. For example, I can meet at 7:00 am before work, on a weekend, or at 8:00 pm in the evening.

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