Tuesday, October 22, 2013

MN Defense Attorney - FREE ADVICE

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

1 comment:

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