Tuesday, October 22, 2013
As a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney I get a lot of questions ... here are some of them and some answers you might want to consider.
Do I really need an attorney?
In most cases the answer is “yes”. A Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney can assist in gathering all the relevant information and witnesses, analyze the police reports for constitutional violations, and help you navigate through the procedures for hearings and a trial.
Should I give a statement to the police?
Everyone wants to be able to tell their side of the story... however, there is a time and a place for that (all too often) - at a trial. Although the police may act sympathetic, they are not on your side and any statement you give can be used against you later. Until that point, only tell your side of the story to your attorney.
What is the difference between petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, and felonies?
A Petty Misdemeanor is generally a traffic offense such as speeding and carries a maximum fine of $300 with no possibility of jail.
A Misdemeanor carries a maximum possible sentence of 90 days in jail, $1000 fine, or both. Charges such as theft, Disorderly Conduct, and first-time DWI offenses are misdemeanors. Jail time is rarely imposed for misdemeanor offenses, but it depends on the facts of the case and the criminal history of the defendant.
A Gross Misdemeanor carries a maximum possible sentence of 1 year in jail, $3000 fine, or both. Charges such as Driving After Cancellation, theft of over $500, and second or third-time DWI offenses are gross misdemeanors. Jail time is commonly imposed for gross misdemeanors and is required by statute in the case of DWI gross misdemeanors.
Felony sentences are prescribed by statute but carry at least 1 year and 1 day of prison time. Charges such as controlled substance crimes, burglary, and fourth-time DWI offenses are felonies. Some amount of jail time is almost always imposed for felonies.
What if I am charged with a felony?
Felony charges are the most serious crimes in Minnesota and carry the largest penalties including a potential prison sentence. These cases are rarely as simple as they may look and an attorney’s assistance is crucial. A felony sentence will also generally carry with it years of probation, intensive supervision requirements as part of that probation, and a requirement that you provide a DNA sample to the State.
The officer never read me my Miranda Rights, am I off the hook?
Probably not, despite the widespread use of the Miranda warnings in pop culture, it is only required in a narrow set of circumstances. If the police want to interrogate you while you are in custody, they must read you the Miranda warnings. That statement is far more legally complicated than it looks – get an attorney to advise you whether a Miranda violation has occurred.
Do to the all too high costs of hiring a lawyer ... a lot of people will ask me --- Shouldn't I just try to handle this case myself?
Probably not --- and I am not saying this because I am a lawyer Consider that, in the courtroom the judge is not on your side and cannot advise you how to proceed with your case. The prosecutor is not on your side, in fact, he or she gets paid to convict you. Therefore, you need someone on your side who can offer informed advice about how to proceed in your case. Surely you would seek the expert help of a doctor when you are sick. A criminal charge is no different – get an expert on your side.
Need more answers - call The Rolloff Law Office: (612) 234-1165
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
A Minnesota Domestic Assault conviction can have serious consequences. Not only would one face the possibility of going to jail - such a conviction could also be used against you in a child custody dispute and/or divorce. It could also cause you to lose your gun and hunting rights. You could also be subjected to costly and intrusive treatment programs. If you or someone you love is facing such charges - you need to put up a fight ... and you should talk to an experienced, aggressive Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.
How an Attorney Can Help
You really need an expert to examine the allegations and identify the best defense strategy for your case. A lawyer can help prove that the accusation against you is false and/or was made up in the heat of an argument, as retaliation, or to gain an upper hand against you in a divorce or other court proceeding. He can also rove you that you acted in self-defense or that you did not have the requisite intent to cause the harm.
Domestic Assault Information
According to Minnesota law, domestic assault is defined as either the intent of causing fear of death or immediate bodily harm upon another, or an attempt to inflict or the actual infliction of bodily harm upon another.
Domestic assault is assault on a family member or household member, including any of these relationships:
Parents and children
Spouses and former spouses
Individuals related by blood
Individuals who are currently living together
Individuals who have lived together in the past
Individuals who have a child in common
A man and a woman, if the woman is pregnant and the man is alleged to be the father
Domestic assault is considered a misdemeanor if it is a first-time offense or if the offender has had no convictions related to domestic violence in the past 10 years.
It is considered a gross misdemeanor if the offender has had one conviction related to domestic violence in the past 10 years.
Domestic assault is considered a felony if the offender has had at least two convictions related to domestic violence in the past 10 years. Penalties include up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine.
Domestic Assault by Strangulation
By definition, strangulation is intentionally obstructing another’s blood circulation or normal breathing by putting pressure on the neck or threat, or by blocking another’s mouth or nose.
Domestic assault of a family or household member by strangulation is considered a felony. Penalties may include up to 3 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
You are presumed innocent. Just because you have been charged with Domestic Assault does not mean that you are guilty. To protect your rights and your future, call the Rolloff Law Office at (612) 234-1165
Thursday, October 10, 2013
I probably don't need to say that --- having a criminal record can severely limit anyone’s ability to get a job or housing or (even) a loan from the bank. Fortunately, there is a way to “erase” your criminal history. This is called “expunging” or “sealing” your criminal records. The easiest way to earn this relief is called a statutory expungement. This seals your judicial (court) records and your executive (BCA, police, etc) records. If you have questions, you should contact a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.
In order to qualify for a statutory expungement, one of three things must have happened. The most common is that the case was resolved in your favor. This means that your case ended with a dismissal by the prosecutor or court, a continuance for dismissal (or a continuance without plea), a diversion program, a not guilty verdict, or some similar resolution. In this situation, you are entitled to an expungement and there has to be a very, very good reason not to expunge your records.
Second, certain cases where a juvenile was prosecuted as an adult may qualify. And third, certain drug cases qualify when the case was resolved with a stay of adjudication pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 152.18, subdiv. 1. Unlike cases resolved in your favor, in these situations, you have to make some showing to the court that the benefit to you in sealing your records is equal to or greater than the disadvantages to the public and the agencies in sealing your records.
To go about sealing your records under this statutory authority, it is wise to have a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney assist you. Navigating the legal terminology can be difficult and overwhelming. You must submit an affidavit, a notice of motion and motion to seal, and a proposed order to seal. In addition, you have to serve every agency that will be affected by the expungement.
The hearing, which occurs at least 60 days after filing the documents, can be handled by your attorney. Your attorney will give you a waiver of appearance so you need not attend. At the hearing, the judge will review the reason for the expungement, determine if there have been any objections, and issue an order. Once the order is issued, there are 60 more days for the agencies to appeal the order. After that, your records are completely sealed!
If you want more information about sealing your record, call the Rolloff Law Office today: (612) 234-1165.