Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Sure, it probably comes as no surprise that many (if not most) people accused of crimes are in fact guilty --- maybe not of the crime they're charged but something - right?
All too often, individuals often come to me with little or no hope, wondering what (if anything) can be done. One of the first things that I tell them is that although they may be guilty of something, they may not be guilty of the specific crime they are charged with. An experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney will make sure that the crime is properly charged, and that all the applicable rules and laws are followed throughout the case. In addition, a lawyer is often able to negotiate a favorable settlement, even in cases of clear guilt. If a lawyer is able to reduce a presumed sentence by even a month or two --- or the level of the charge from say a Felony to a Misdemeanor --- then the fees you're charged ill have been well worth it. Additionally, good lawyers are often able to negotiate reduced fines, reduced jail time and probation, etc.
Lawyers play many roles --- all too often those accused of crimes are often in need of something more than merely being represented in court. Sometimes the crime itself is more accurately described as the symptom of a more serious problem, such as a chemical addiction or a mental health issue. Criminals may do bad things, but I firmly believe they are not bad people. Generally speaking, their biggest problem is what could be described as a “lack of foresight” or exercising poor judgement.
A lawyer can help counsel their client, advising them to address any underlying issues. This type of advice includes encouraging the client to seek treatment, find a job or start education, and to keep their life happy and stable. Depending on the client, I sometimes encourage them to seek some spiritual guidance as well.
There is a balance that must be struck, however. Those accused of crimes do not need another person to lecture them on their mistakes. Most already acknowledge that they screwed up somehow, and most are ready to make a change. It is the lawyer’s role to encourage them and assist them in making the changes they want to make. One of the very best parts about being a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney is that I have the privilege of finding people at the time in their lives where they are most willing to make changes for the better. Rather than focusing too much on the past, I believe it is best to focus on the future. Despite the obstacles, the future for most criminals can be very bright, especially with the right encouragement and the right counsel.
If you or someone you love is looking for help with a legal issue - please call The Rolloff Law Office today to set up a FREE CONSULTATION and start down the path of doing the next right thing. Call today: (612) 234-1165
Thursday, August 23, 2012
It is unfortunately not always easy to find a good Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer. Here are some suggestions:
Referrals - It may be possible to find a criminal defense lawyer from somebody who is familiar with the lawyer's practice. For example, if you regularly work with a lawyer or law firm, that lawyer may be able to suggest a competent criminal defense lawyer in your area. If your county is served by a public defender's office, sometimes a defender's office will be willing to suggest a competent are defense lawyer. If you have a friend or family member who has been in trouble with the law, that person may be able to make some suggestions.
Courtroom Observation - You may wish to sit through some public sessions of court while criminal cases are being argued. If you find a particular lawyer's performance to be impressive, you may take note of the lawyer's name and later contact the lawyer about the possibility of representing you.
Professional Organizations - Each state, and some major cities, have organizations of criminal defense lawyers. Some of those organizations offer referral services or online directories, which you can use to find a defense lawyer in your area.
Directories - There are a number of online directories which include criminal defense lawyers, including Lawyers.com and FindLaw.
You've Found a Lawyer; Now What?
After you have located one or more attorneys whom you wish to consult about your case, call them to schedule appointments. (Find out at that time if they offer a free initial consultation, or if you will be charged for the meeting.) Try to speak with an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer over the phone before scheduling the appointment. Ask about the lawyer's general experience with criminal defense, and any specific experience with cases like yours.
Trust your instincts - if you aren't comfortable with an attorney you consult, try a different office. You do not have any obligation to hire a lawyer merely because you consulted with that lawyer. If your lawyer is promising you that your case is easy, or makes promises that you won't go to jail, speak to other lawyers before signing a retainer agreement - some lawyers misrepresent the gravity of a defendant's situation or the complexity of a case in order to entice the defendant to pay a retainer, and then blame the judge or prosecutor when the rosy scenario they initially promised turns out to be a nightmare.
What can it hurt to at least speak to a lawyer? Many, like myself, offer a free consultations in order to gather facts concerning your case. Seriously, there are usually one or two key points I like to know in order to determine if you have a chance of beating a traffic ticket in court.
Sure, I can't guarantee that you will be able to have a traffic citation thrown out in court - or that the Nor can fine will be reduced to zero. However, having had been a prosecutor myself - I have a lot of experience in using that "insider's" knowledge to earn my clients the outcomes they're seeking. Call the Rolloff Law Office today to get FREE answers: (612) 234-1165.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
What is Criminal Expungement?
Criminal “Expungement” is the process of going to court to convince a judge to seal a criminal record. When a record is sealed, it does not show up in a criminal records search performed at the courthouse. An expungement does not erase your criminal courthouse record, but it prevents it from being viewed by the public.
What is my Minnesota criminal record and where is it kept?
Your complete Minnesota criminal record is comprised of all of the files and records of any crime that the State of Minnesota has filed against you. Each city, county and state law enforcement agency, prosecutor's office and courthouse keeps its own records. In addition, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) has records of criminal convictions.
What type of criminal record information is public?
Typically, the information from your criminal record that is public includes the crime charged, the name of the court that convicted or dismissed the charges, the date of conviction or dismissal, a description of the sentence served and other details of the crime and court process.
Can employers check my state criminal court record?
Yes. In Minnesota, any person can search District Court criminal records at the county courthouse. An employer will most likely search the court records of the county where you live or work. Each county that is searched will have only the criminal records for that particular county. Another place that the public, including employers, check criminal records is at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). Law enforcement agencies throughout Minnesota report information in their criminal records to the BCA. The BCA compiles this information into a "statewide" computerized record of criminal cases.
What types of criminal records can be expunged?
Records of serious crimes like murder and sex offender crimes are never expunged. Similarly, enhanceable offenses, like DWI, are not expunged. Less serious crimes may be expunged only if we can convince the judge that the benefits of expungement to you outweigh the disadvantages to the public. It is important to note that even when the court grants an expungement of a conviction, the records kept by some agencies, including the BCA, might not be sealed.
What if I was found “not guilty” or the charges were dismissed?
Even if you are found "not guilty" in a criminal case, you still have a criminal record. However, it is generally easier to expunge these types of criminal records. Similarly, if you never entered a guilty plea and you successfully completed a pre-trial “diversion program,” an expungement is more likely. A conviction (pleading guilty or being found guilty) is more difficult to expunge.
What are the chances of my petition for expungement being granted?
An expungement is never guaranteed. You need to do the paperwork and convince the judge that, on balance, the benefit of the expungement to you is greater than the disadvantage it would be for the public to not have access to your criminal record. This generally means you have to prove that: (1) you have been denied work, housing, or a professional license because of your record; (2) sealing your criminal record will not negatively affect public safety; and (3) you have rehabilitated yourself.
How long does the expungement process take?
In Minnesota, at least 63 days must pass between when your paperwork is mailed to the government agencies and when a judge holds the hearing to consider your request. If the judge grants the expungement, another 60 days will pass before the court actually seals your record.
If my criminal case is expunged, what happens to my court record?
A sealed state court record still exists but it is "invisible" to the general public. If the expunged crime was the only crime on your record, you will not have a court record that the public can see. Employers and the general public cannot see sealed records.
What about sealing the BCA and other agencies' records?
Under current Minnesota law, a state court judge can order the BCA and other agencies to expunge a dismissed case or a case in which you were found “not guilty.” However, if you were convicted, the judge generally cannot order the BCA and other agencies to expunge or seal their records.
If you are someone you love is looking for an Expungement, call the Rolloff Law Office today to set up a Free Consultation: (612) 234-1165.
Friday, August 17, 2012
So you got a ticket --- the question that often comes to mind is: Will Hiring a Lawyer Help?
Obviously, you know the answer to this question is yes. Why would I, a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer, write this if the answer was no? That being said, I'm not just going to leave it at that. I'm going to break it down for you a little bit, show you how we can help, and hopefully convince you that the next time you get a speeding ticket in Minnesota, or any other traffic ticket for that matter (unless it's a non-moving violation), that you get help from a traffic lawyer.
Don't Take My Word For it - Go To Court and See For Yourself
If you've never been to traffic court before and wonder just exactly what it is that we traffic lawyers do, take a morning off and go down and watch. You will quickly see a pattern forming.
The first thing that you'll see is nearly every ticket a traffic lawyer argues gets dismissed or reduced. Time after time they'll step up, make a few arguments (some of which I've outlined in this blog before), and the judge will dismiss the case or the prosecutor will move to amend the ticket.
Then you'll see the people without attorneys get up. They'll try their best, they might even do it with conviction, but one after another they will lose, lose, lose. The bottom line is these people are simply out of their area of expertise.
Think about it like this. When I have a problem with my plumbing I call a plumber. When I have a problem with my car I call a mechanic. When I recently had a problem with my finger I went to the doctor. Why wouldn't you do the same thing with a speeding ticket?
Traffic Lawyer Know There Sh*t
Okay, let me pull that back just a little bit - I know that at the Rolloff Law Office at least we know what we're doing. And, of course, there are others out there that know what they are doing.
We spend some part of every single day working on beating speeding tickets. That's why we're so good. That's why, when we're in court, we take care of business. That's why it's a good idea to hire us.
Is the Cost Worth the Benefit?
Most speeding tickets range in price from $85 all the way up to $1,085. If you add in No Insurance or some other infraction, the potential fines can easily reach well into the thousands. And that doesn't even begin to count the insurance increases that could happen with a speeding ticket conviction. With all that on the line, isn't it worth $250 bucks to pay a traffic ticket lawyer to help you out?
There's a reason I'm a Minnesota Traffic Attorney and not a probate attorney or a business attorney - I like the idea of being the hired gun, the person to come in and take care of business and get you out of trouble. And I love it when people brag about having someone "on the payroll" to fix any traffic ticket they might get.
Maybe you like doing stuff on your own. Maybe you think you'll just subpoena the cop and he won't show up (he will). Maybe you think $250 is too much to spend on a lawyer (it isn't.) Whatever the reason, if you decide to fight your speeding ticket on your own, you're putting yourself at a huge disadvantage. Before you go it alone, give us a call to see if we can help. There's no obligation, and it might be the best call you've ever made. Call the Rolloff Law Office today at (612) 234-1165 to set up a FREE CONSULTATION.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Being an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, I meet lots people who are looking for a help with a criminal case. Many times, the need is urgent because someone in their family was just been arrested, or they hear that there is a warrant out for their arrest. In those circumstances, there can be almost a panic to hire a lawyer. So how do you do it?
First, and this may seem obvious but it is surprising how many times people miss it, make sure that the lawyer you are talking with handles criminal cases. Just because some attorney handled your divorce or the closing on your house does not mean that lawyer would do well in a criminal case. Nevertheless, one of the best places to start is with lawyers that you may know. Ask them who they would hire for the type of case.
This part is also important. Not all criminal defense lawyers handle all criminal cases. Federal law, for example, is generally dramatically different from state law. Make sure the lawyer can handle your type of case.
Second, should you find out the fee before you go to see the lawyer? That depends. If you are pressed for time or you know that you are going to hire a particular lawyer, it is a good idea. On the other hand, if you have some time, I would recommend seeing several lawyers. Law is an art, not a science, and there are several different ways to approach the same problem. You should go with a lawyer you are comfortable with. To know who that is, you should visit a few. You should also hire a lawyer whose direction or outlook is the same as yours. Stay away from lawyers that try to push you into a particular choice of action, such as pleading or trial, without knowing a great deal about the case.
Three, stay away from lawyers that promise really good results. Good results can happen, but even the best lawyers do not always get the results they want. The reality is there are three types of cases: cases easily won (acquittal), cases easily lost (conviction), and cases in the middle. Every client wants to think that their case can be easily won. That is not the case. Good lawyers will have higher winning percentages, all things being equal, of the cases in the middle. Cases easily lost are cases in which the evidence is rather strong and you might want to really consider a plea bargain. Some lawyers are better at trial than at negotiations. If you are not familiar with the evidence that will be presented against you, you should be prepared for all possibilities. Sometimes it is better to hire a lawyer who can negotiate a good deal for you rather than a fire-breathing trial monster. If the evidence is overwhelming, you may want someone who can minimize potential jail or prison time. A trial monster may not be such a person. On the other hand, you may decide that you are going to trial no matter what. In such a case, get the trial monster.
Fourth, if you do have some time and have been able to talk with several lawyers, you will most likely wind up with more than one lawyer you are considering. If that is the case, go with the lawyer that you felt the best about.
What You Can Do Now
You (or a family member or a friend) are about to go through a pretty traumatic and rough experience. While the tips I've given above will help you decide who is qualified, there is realistically no way I can tell you who you would be best hiring. You would do well to go through this experience with someone you get along with.
Call the Rolloff Law Office today to set up a FREE Consultation --- (612) 234-1165
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Because I've seen it more times than I care to count (and even I've lived it,) if you have been accused of a crime, my guess is that it has caused to experience a lot of confusion, anger, and a lot of doubt regarding your future. Even if the cops got it wrong, you can't help feeling that if you're convicted, you know that your life could forever change.
Fortunately, just because you've been charged with an offense you do not necessarily have to be convicted of it ... and even if you are --- you don’t have to receive the harshest penalties the law has to hand down.
How? How about working with an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney?
What To Do After An Arrest
If you have been arrested for Drunk Driving, Theft, Domestic Assault, Criminal Sexual Conduct, a Drug Crime or any criminal offense, you should not say anything to the arresting officer or anyone else asking you questions until you have talked to a lawyer.
An experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney will guide you through the arrest process and also be present with you during questioning so that you do not incriminate yourself. Even if you believe what you are saying is not going to incriminate you, you would be surprised at what can be misconstrued and used against you.
The key to successful representation is being aggressive while also giving you the legal and the moral support that you need to reach a satisfactory resolution to your case.
Strategies are created to show that there may be reasonable doubt that you committed the crime or that the offense was not as severe as the charge. There are areas of the law that can render charges against a person invalid, so they may be reduced.
What Should You Do
At the Rolloff Law Office, you'll have experience working for you - experience as a former prosecutor.
Trust me, you need someone who has represented individuals charged with all kinds of offenses - at all levels - and earned successful results.
The Rolloff Law Office has a history of helping people avoid prison time, even when convicted. The reason for this is powerful negotiating skills when it comes to negotiating sentencing for clients. Call today for a FREE consultation: (612) 234-1165
Monday, August 6, 2012
The truth of the matter is cops are human and as such they make mistakes. The following are common mistakes that law enforcement makes when enforcing the Drunk Driving laws. If they've occurred in the midst of your case, an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney locate them and work to reduce the charges and/or dismiss the State's case against you.
Did the police have a proper suspicion (ie., a good, legal reason) to stop your vehicle? An officer may not stop you on a "hunch" because you looked "suspicious". There has to be some reasonable cause, such as a violation of traffic laws, erratic driving, an accident, or some other good reason.
Did the cops assume that the odor of an alcoholic beverage meant you were intoxicated? Odor of alcohol may be sufficient evidence of consumption.
Did the officer fail to ask pertinent questions about your potential medical problems? Many medical issues imitate clues of intoxication.
Did the officer conduct the field exercises in an unfair manner? These include being aware of, but failing to eliminate, distractions during the field exercises (e.g. loose gravel, surfaces that are not level, environmental issues such as snow, ice, misting, wind blowing, darkness).
Did the police read your rights from the implied consent advisory form just before offering you the test to determine your alcohol concentration?
Protecting your rights in court to defend a Minnesota DWI charge against you is something the Rolloff Law Office can help you with. I will review with you what you will be facing and ensure that you are treated fairly, including your right to have a private assessment done which could satisfy the requirement.
I am an experienced Minnesota Drunk Driving Attorney and I will defend you and will file an "implied consent" court action to reinstate your driver's license and, more importantly, get the alcohol notation removed from your driving record.
If you've been arrested for Drunk Driving in Minnesota, you need experience legal representation right away. Call me for a free consultation, and I'll explain exactly what I can do to help you. An arrest is not the same as a conviction! Call today (612) 234-1165.
Friday, August 3, 2012
All too often, I get calls "after the fact" - that is after someone gets a ticket. For those of you hoping to avoid making a call to an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, here are some helpful suggestions about how to avoid getting a speeding citation.
1. Never Admit That You Were Speeding
If you do get pulled over, if I can offer you one suggestion --- Never admit that you were speeding. You don't want to give the cops any ammunition to use against you if you want to challenge your ticket in the future. So, when the officer tells you that you are speeding, giving a brief, noncommittal response like, "I see" or "I was not aware of my speed" is the best course of action. (Not the best way to go: sarcastically asking - "What's the problem, Officer?" won't help you.)
2. Know That Your Vehicle Says Something About You
Most officers decide whether you're getting a ticket or a warning before they even approach your vehicle. A good rule of thumb is to keep your car maintained in such a way that you wouldn't be embarrassed to drive it to a job interview. Keep it clean, decluttered, and free of bumper stickers that are anti-police or pro-violence. Also, don't have any aftermarket add-ons like spoilers, tinted windows, and neon undercarriage lights. You want to say "I'm responsible and law-abiding," not "I hate the police, I speed all the time, and I'm trying to hide something from you."
3. Plead Not Guilty, and Continue out Your Court Date as Many Times As You Can
The more time you put between your speeding encounter and your court date, the better. This about it, just how many people does an officer pulls over in a month. How many of them do you think they'll remember two or even six months from now, especially if you take your ticket quietly and move on? The more continuances you can reasonably request, the more time you have to collect your evidence and prepare your defense — and the less specific that officer's recollection of you will be. Getting a continuance also increases the probability that the ticketing officer retires, transfers to another department, or just doesn't show up for your court date. In almost all of these extenuating situations, the case against you will be dropped.
If you think you need help with a traffic ticket - you probably do need help. Call the Rolloff Law Office today at (612) 234-1165 to get FREE Answers.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
One of the most popular questions I get is: Do I really need a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer to help me fight a traffic ticket?
Sure, sometimes it just makes sense to pay the fine for a minor speeding, an illegal turn, or running a red light citation. If you have a good driving record and you are ticketed or a minor infraction, chances are the fine will not be excessive. The judge may even decide on a reduced penalty without any defense statement from you. You should also look at options offered in some areas such as deferment --- from a hearing officer.
On the other hand, a major infraction such as Minnesota Drunk Driving arrest can cost you thousands of dollars in fines, increased car insurance rates, and fees associated with the reinstatement of your driving privileges. In that case - an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney may be able to save you an enormous amount of money. Some of the savings are realized years down the road.
A Couple of Reasons Why You Might Want to Hire a Lawyer to Fight a Traffic Ticket
1. Reducing Or Eliminating The Fine
A serious moving violation may carry a penalty of as much as $1,000. If you already have a clean driving record - don't you want to keep it that way? An attorney working on your behalf may be able to work out a deal with the court - to keep this ticket off of your record too.
2. Arguing The Citation
If the alleged infraction is serious and you believe you are innocent, hiring a lawyer to represent you may save you a great deal of money. Lawyers with experience in Minnesota traffic court matters may successfully argue that the citation was unwarranted. In the end, the only cost you pay is for the services of your legal representative
3. Preventing Insurance Rate Hikes
If you have one or two violations on record, your latest infraction could have a very damaging impact on your insurance premiums. An attorney may be able to successfully defend you against the charge, eliminating the increased insurance costs.
A major traffic violation could result in a fine and a huge hike in insurance rates over the next two years. The money you spend on a lawyer - although a HIT now could end up being money saved over the long term.
What can it hurt to at least speak to a lawyer? Many, like myself, offer a free consultations in order to gather facts concerning your case. Seriously, there are usually one or two key points I like to know in order to determine if you have a chance of beating a traffic ticket in court. Sure, I can't guarantee that you will be able to have a traffic citation thrown out in court - or that the Nor can fine will be reduced to zero. However, having had been a prosecutor myself - I have a lot of experience in using that "insider's" knowledge to earn my clients the outcomes they're seeking Call the Rolloff Law Office today to get FREE answers: (612) 234-1165.