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

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hiring a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney

As you might imagine --- the (all too often wrong yet) number one question I get about who to hire as a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney is: "How much is this going to cost me?"

Now I'm not so dumb as to not understand that price is a huge factor when one contemplates the person they are going to hire to represent them in court; however, it should never be the only point on which that person focuses.  As an example, here's a situation I was party to recently:

What Would You Do?

Imagine two attorneys, each presented with the same criminal case by an individual searching for representation.

The first attorney is honest with the potential client, telling him that it is unlikely that the case will prevail at trial, and that the matter will most likely be resolved through a plea agreement (as is the case with almost every criminal case).  The attorney then tells the potential client that the fee will be relatively low, and offers to take the case for $1,000.

The second attorney has a different strategy; he tells the potential client that the case can be beaten, promises the individual the world, tells him exactly what he wants to hear, and offers to take the case for $3,000.

Assuming the client earns an average income, which attorney is she likely to take?

The answer: Almost invariably --- the 2nd Attorney.

Although the first attorney is honest and fair priced, the dishonest and expensive maverick will get the case.  Even if the second attorney never delivers on his high promises, it is of no concern to him; he’s already been paid.  Criminal cases usually require payment in advance (especially if there is a chance the client will be incarcerated at the conclusion of representation), and due to ethical concerns criminal cases may not be contingent on the outcome.

Now What?

Frankly, I don't dig the idea of being dishonest or scarring my clients into hiring me (even if it might earn me a bigger retainer.)  Others might not have an issue with it at all.

Because I'm affordable, because I'm honest --- I can sleep at night,  A promise I make to anyone who places their trust in me is that I will go after their case like it was my name on that file.  They will never not know what they need to know - even the hard stuff --- and in the end, they will (hopefully) have been spared getting screwed - by the courts and me.

What can someone who needs an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney do?  My #1 suggestion is to find someone you can trust.  Referrals from family and friends are a good place to start.  It might also be a good idea to do some shopping - some tire-kicking.  If you visit three or four attorneys, you should be able to get a decent idea of what to expect in terms of price and results.  Remember, the two are not always related.  Call The Rolloff Law Office to and set up a FREE CONSULTATION: (612) 234-1165.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Minnesota Criminal Defenses (Explained)

Believe it or not, if you've been charged with an offense, you (or your experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney) does not have to prove you're innocent --- but you do need a good defense.  See, to convict a criminal defendant, the government must prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. As part of this process, the defendant is given an opportunity to present a defense. There are many types of defenses, here are some of the most common ones.

Didn't Do It

This is the most common defense and often involves the claim that the accused did not commit the act in question.

Reasonable Doubt

The prosecutor must convince the judge or jury hearing the case that the defendant is guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt." This standard is very hard to meet. As a practical matter, the high burden of proof in criminal cases means that judges and jurors are supposed to resolve all doubts about the meaning of the evidence in favor of the defendant. With such a high standard imposed on the prosecutor, a defendant's most common defense is often to argue that there is in fact reasonable doubt.


An alibi defense consists of evidence that a defendant was somewhere other than the scene of the crime at the time it was committed. For example, assume that Freddie is accused of committing a burglary on Elm Street at midnight on Friday, September 13. Freddie's alibi defense might consist of testimony that at the time of the burglary, Freddie was watching Casablanca at the Maple Street Cinema.


Self-defense is a defense commonly asserted by someone charged with a crime like assault.  Here, the defendant admits that he did in fact commit the crime, but claims that it was justified by the other person's threatening actions. The core issues in most self-defense cases are:

  • Who was the aggressor?
  • Was the defendant's belief that self-defense was necessary a reasonable one?
  • If so, was the force used by the defendant also reasonable?

Self-defense is rooted in the belief that people should be allowed to protect themselves from physical harm. This means that a person does not have to wait until he or she is actually struck to act in self-defense. If a reasonable person in the same circumstances would think that he or she is about to be physically attacked, that person has the right to strike first and prevent the attack. However, an act of self-defense cannot use more force than is reasonable -- someone who uses too much force may be guilty of a crime.

The best defense is a good offense.  If you're looking for help with a criminal case --- call the Rolloff Law Office and set up a FREE consultation.  There is more to every offense than whether someone did or didn't do something.  Learn your options.  Call: (612) 234-1165.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Minnesota Legal Questions - Answered 4 FREE!

As a former prosecutor - and as an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney - I get lots and lots of questions.  I have no problem answering them - for FREE.  If you or someone you love has been caught up in a legal mess --- Call me today to set up a FREE CONSULTATION.  Before we get started - understanding that every case is different - feel free to look here for some general information.

Here are some of the most common questions I get:

The officer never read me my Miranda rights, what are they? 
Many people have learned that they have the right to remain silent and right to Lawyers by watching television and the movies. Yes, it is true, we do have these rights. However, these rights only attach when we are arrested or placed in custody and given the chance to incriminate ourselves. Strangely enough, a blood, breath, or urine test is not considered self-incrimination. That is why people do not have the right to a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer before a State test is given. A routine traffic stop does not rise to the level of custody such that people must be told of their rights. However, if the police officer leads you to believe that the detention is going to be more than a brief encounter, Miranda warnings and your right to have a lawyer present before and during any aditional questioning may be required.

Do I have to let the police search me? 
NO!  The Police may only search a person, place, or thing if they have probable cause  (defined as enough evidence to convince a reasonable person that criminal activity is or has ocurred)  to believe that something illegal exists. However, there are numerous exceptions to this rule. For instance, a police officer can search you and anything within your grasp once you are lawfully arrested. An officer may frisk a person to see if they have weapons on them. An officer may search anything if he sees something in plain view and he has a legal right to be there. An officer may search a car if he smells burnt marijuana. THE EXCEPTIONS ARE GREATER THAN THE RULE. Initially, we had many rights to be secure from illegal searches. However, through the years, courts and whittled away at our rights so that law enforcement would have an easier time finding drugs and weapons.

Do I have to speak with police? 
No! Many people feel that they can talk their way out of trouble. We believe that this is not going to happen. Anything you say to an officer is considered an admission and will be used against you at a trial. All spontaneous utterances will be used against you.

The police are trying to gather as much evidence as they can to help them make a case. You have no legal obligation to speak with them. Please let an attorney speak to them on your behalf. Even if you are not guilty of anything, the most subtle questions will trip you up and make it seem like you did something wrong. You are not obligated to be a witness against yourself.

What is the Fifth? 
In recent times, many people have pleaded the Fifth. This is a person invoking their legal right not to incriminate themselves.

What should I do if I have not been arrested but think a charge is soon to occur? 
I get a lot of  calls from people who tell me that there is not a pending charge, but they did something wrong or people believe that they did something wrong and a charge may be forthcoming. First, it makes sense to hire a lawyer. He or she can analyze the facts and make a decision if a law has been broken. An attorney can also deal with law enforcement on your behalf in order to try and avoid charges from being filed.

If a lawyer is not affordable or available, do not tell the police your story. This will generally make things worse. Unless you are so sure that you are squeaky clean and have nothing to hide, my advice is do not speak to police without asking for an appointed lawyer.

Do I have to allow the police to search my house or car? 
No! The police have every legal right to ask for your permission to search your car or home. However, you have every legal right to refuse. Unless there is probable cause to search, the police have no business looking through your personal items.    The Fourth Amendment mandates that citizens shall be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. What type of governmental conduct is deemed unreasonable, and therefore unconstitutional, is determined by the particular facts and circumstances of each case. However, some hard and fast rules do provide guidance. First and foremost among these is the core principle that all searches, unless conducted pursuant to a warrant, are per se unreasonable, therefore unconstitutional. There are, however, certain well-crafted exceptions to the warrant requirement, permitting warrantless searches when the requirements of the relevant exception are met, a lawyer should be consulted to address the specific factual scenario in your case.

If you need help call The Rollof Law Office - now - at (612) 234-1165.