Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ramsey County & St. Paul Prostitution Arrests (Explained)

Prostitution arrests are one things ... earning a conviction is something entirely different.  Believe it or not - an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney can help you defend yourself yourself against such an allegation.   

Prostitution Arrest Defenses 

These are the number one options for defending a Prostitution charge in the State of Minnesota:

1. Entrapment

This defense occurs when a government official (such as a police officer) entices a person to commit a crime that they otherwise would not commit. Proving entrapment is often difficult in these cases because offenders actively seek out prostitutes without knowing that they are undercover police officers. Thus, it is somewhat easy for the prosecution to argue the offender’s act of prostitution was premeditated, not forced.

2. Due Process 

This defense is a viable option when, during the course of a prostitution arrest, a government official displays outrageous conduct such as to make the continuation of the case unconstitutional. As an example, if a police officer involved in a prostitution sting is caught engaging in sexual contact during said sting, the due process of law is violated. A judge will be left to determine whether the state acted in conduct that violated the due process rights of the accused.

3. Lack of Probable Cause 

This defense may be used when a prostitution patron is arrested prior to an agreement to engage in prostitution. An officer must have probable cause to arrest someone for ANY offense   This means: there mus be an explicit offer to engage in sexual contact for hire must be reached and documented. If the government cannot prove that such an agreement occurred, the accused can use this defense. It will be left up to a judge to determine whether theprosecution has a reasonable belief based on all facts and circumstances that the defendant has committed the act of prostitution. This also requires in-court testimony by the defendant.

Prostitution is an all too often  embarrassing charge that most offenders wish to keep under wraps. The government knows this and will use it to their advantage when negotiating a plea. Thus, it is essential to have an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer to help you through the complex legal proceedings.

The best possible defense against a prostitution charge is to not engage in prostitution. If you or someone you know is needs legal help - call the Rolloff Law Office to set up a free consultation: (612) 234-1165.  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney (How To)

As a former prosecutor, and now a defense attorney, it surprises me how many people go into court with out even speaking to an attorney.  Seriosuly, in my opinion waaaaaay too many people plead guilty to crimes that they would not be convicted of if they had a lawyer.

If you even think you need a lawyer - odds are you do need a lawyer.  That being said, what kind of lawyer do you need?  Here are a few things you might want to consider when looking for a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.  
  • Does that attorney practice only criminal law?  An attorney who focuses on only one area of law may be more knowledgeable about your case.  You wouldn't want to trust your life to a surgeon who only practices medicine part time.
  • Are you hiring an attorney or a firm?  You want to hire one attorney who will handle your case from beginning to end.  This attorney will know more about your case and may get you a better result.  At some firms you think you are hiring one attorney, only to have your case assigned to a junior associate.  Choose and hire an attorney, not a firm.
  • Is your initial consultation free?  If you cannot sit down face-to-face and discuss your case for free, how can you decide if it is worth hiring that attorney?
  • Are you being promised a specific result?  NO attorney can guarantee specific results, no matter what.  Choose an attorney who will tell you the truth and give you the facts you need to make the decisions yourself.

If you are considering hiring an attorney, or even if you are curious about what your charges mean, contact The Rolloff Law Office and schedule a FREE initial consultation to discuss your case.  
I practice only criminal law, having been both a city and state prosecutor.  When you hire me, I will be the only attorney who works on your case.  I pride myself on my candor with my clients.  I never sugar-coat situations and I always give my clients all of the facts and advice necessary for them to make their own informed decisions. 
When I meet with you, I will tell you if you even need to hire an attorney at all.  If you do decide to retain our services, I offer reasonable fees, payment plans, and you can make payments by credit card.

You need to know your rights.  You need to speak with an attorney before you make any decisions.  Call The Rolloff Law Office today at (612) 234-1165.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Minnesota Shoplifting Attorney

If you have been arrested or cited for Shoplifting – you may think the situation is bad.  However, don’t just give up and assume there is nothing to do.  You’re facing a possible Theft charge that can have devastating effects on your future.

In a shoplifting case, like any other, an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney should look at a case from three ways:

1. Do you have any factual defenses?

Assuming everything in the police reports is true and accurate, does it all add up to the elements of the charge you’re accused of?  If you’re charged with theft, can they prove that you had the specific intent to steal?  How can they overcome whether or not it was an accident or mistake on your part?  I know these are subtle distinctions, but they are necessary elements of the crime the government must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.

From there, we know that the reports are not always 100% accurate.  What in the report doesn't add up?  Are times, sequences or witness statements conflicting with each other?  Are there obvious errors in what happened that can be easily torn apart? When I consult with my clients, we review the facts of the case down to the smallest detail to see where the gaps in the case are.

2. Do you have any legal defenses?

Because most shoplifting cases involve a “private person’s arrest” (sometimes called a “citizen’s arrest”) by the store personnel, they are not necessarily under the same rules as the police.  Under the law of the State of Minnesota, they do have a right to detain a person they suspect of shoplifting.  If they search you, they don’t have to have a warrant or probable cause like the police do.  But that doesn't mean that they can do whatever they want.  The store loss prevention officers (a.k.a. security) must still act within the law and appropriately.  I have had cases where the loss prevention agents spied into dressing rooms – a clear violation of criminal law.  This can absolutely be used to our advantage in your defense.  Similarly, if the store security guards used excessive force, that can lead to a tremendous advantage to you either in negotiating your case or fighting it at trial.

From there, the actions by the police – Miranda warnings, searches or other police procedures can factor into how to defend your case.

3. If the facts and the law are against you, how can we best protect you?

Assuming the facts and the law are stacking up against you, what can be done?  Often, there can be alternative dispositions worked out, hopefully to avoid a conviction for a misdemeanor theft offense.  Diversion, deferred entry of judgment, reduction to a misdemeanor or non-theft related charge are all potential outcomes.  

Every case is unique, but by working with the Rolloff Law Office, well before your court date, there are things we can do to help put you in the best possible position for a good outcome in your case when we go to court.

Don’t wait until the last minute before you are due to appear in court.  Give call the Rolloff Law Office today to set up a free consultation: (612) 234-1165.  

Saturday, May 11, 2013

MN School Bus Stop Arm Violation

In the State of Minnesota, when a school bus is stopped on a street or highway and is displaying an extended stop-signal arm and flashing red lights - a driver approaching the bus is required to stop their vehicle at least 20 feet away from the bus and not move their vehicle until the signal arm is retracted and the red lights stop flashing.  If someone fails to do this - it is a crime.  

Believe it or not, it is also a crime to pass or attempt to pass a school bus on the right-hand, passenger-door side of bus while it is displaying the "pre-warning" flashing amber signals.  If you have been ticket for either of these infractions, you best bet (even if you think you are guilty) is to contact an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.  
The Consequences

Someone who fails to stop a vehicle while a school bus has its stop-arm extended is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a minimum fine of $300.... if convicted.  The penalty could also include jail time and/or a larger fine.  See Minnesota Statute Sec. No.: 169.444.  

A person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor if they fail to stop their motor vehicle and commit either or both of the following:

  • Passing or attempting to pass the school bus in a motor vehicle on the right-hand, passenger-door side of the bus; and/or 
  • Passing or attempting to pass the school bus in a motor vehicle when a school child is outside of and on the street used by the school bus or on the adjacent sidewalk

According to the government, passing a school bus (whether accidental or intentional) in such a situation endangers the lives of children. Therefore,  police and prosecutors take these crimes very seriously. You should to --- that is why I suggest that any person charged with illegally passing a school bus should call the Rolloff Law Office to get answers.  As a former prosecutor, I have worked on dozens of cases like this --- I know all of the "ins" and "outs" and I can help you to earn an outcome that helps you keep your license and your money.  Call today to set up a free consultation  (612) 234-1165.