Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Minnesota DWI Effects (Explained)

Many of my clients are anxious to know how a DWI conviction will effect them, and for how long. The concern is that it not only limits your ability to drive --- but it also impacts your employment opportunities, effects insurance rates, carries with it a social stigma, gives you a criminal record, and acts as a "prior" for future DWI charges (heaven forbid.)  As a former prosecutor, and (now) as an expreienced Minnesota DWI Attorney, I have worked on thousands of case ... no two are ever the same, but one thing satys the same: A good defense can help clear the path for less problems in the future.

What You Need to Know

In Minnesota a DWI conviction will stay on your record for life ... and over the next 10 years (after such a conviction goes in against you) it can really cause problems.  Example: a second DWI within that 10 year period dramatically increases the penalties (criminal  and civil) you face if convicted again, and a fourth DWI within the 10 year period is a felony, punishable by sending you to prison.  
I have been successful in negotiating with prosecutors to reduce a DWI charge to a Careless Driving or even a non-alcohol related Reckless driving conviction under certain circumstances. (A lot of this depends on the facts of your case ... but, there is a good amount of wiggleroom (and things you can do to be the person worthy of such a result) but when it happens, it reduces the time a conviction may stay on your record ... even affording you a chance to have the matter Expunged.)  I can also help you to be able to help you keep your drivers license, and lessen the impact on your insurance.

If you want to avoid having a DWI on your record for life, call the Rolloff Law Office to schedule an appointment. I will review the facts of the case and see what if any negotiations can be done to reduce your conviction. Call to set up a free consultation: (612) 234-1165

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why Expunge Your Record

Clients frequently ask me about how they can clean up their criminal records. I have assisted clients in expunging their records with much success. The number one reason why clients want to seal/expunge their record is to upgrade their employment. Having a criminal record can make applying for a job difficult. In this competitive economy, perspective employers are performing background checks on applicants more than ever before. Some surveys indicate that more than 70% of employers are performing these background checks, which can cause someone to lose opportunities if they have accumulated a criminal record.  This is why you should talk to an experienced Minnesota Expungement Attorney.  

Expungement is the best way to clean up your record. Once a criminal record has been expunged, a person may become eligible for enhanced employment, student loans, housing assistance, and professional licenses. Cleaning up your record can also remove mention of arrests, dismissals, and other entries in the criminal history database. In short, you get a clean slate.

If you have a criminal record, and would like a clean slate, you should contact the Rolloff Law Office and get more information about when and how to get an Expungement.  Call (612) 234-1165

Monday, January 20, 2014

Finding The Right Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney

One question a lot of defendant's face is: "Should I hire a private lawyer or just go with a public defender?"  Then, they find themselves asking the following: "What's the difference between the two?  What advantage would a private attorney give me over a public defender?"

These are very important questions to ask yourself if you are ever charged with a crime.  Naturally you would want the best representation possible; right?  But, I know you also want to know ... is it worth paying money to an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney when a public defender is free?

Public Defender or Private Lawyer?

To begin with, once the public defender's case load is always very large, and he/she likely has a very limited amount of time to give to each case because of the volume of matter he/she has.  

Public defenders work with the prosecutors to resolve each case as quickly as possible.  Because of the huge demand on their time, it is reasonable to conclude that defendants do not always get the best representation or defense for their cases --- ture?  Having had beena  prosecutor myself, before becoming a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, I have personally observed many defendants get upset and frustrated becasue their public defender has no time to return phone calls, refuse to prepare a suppression  motion, do a preliminary hearing, or take their case to trial, because they don't have the time.

A Private Attorney is somone who is hired by a defendant to represent them in court.  Private attorney's have much smaller case loads, thus they have more time to work on a case, interview witnesses, investigate and meet with the client, even return phone calls.

Hiring a private attorney allows you to shop around, get referrals, research which lawyer has experience in criminal law, and which one is a general attorney, knowing a little bit about a lot of different areas.  Most private attorneys will allow you to come into their office for a free initial consultation.  This way, you can find out how experienced the attorney is, his or her feelings about your case, and the fee you would be charged.

The saying "You get what you pay for" is often very true when hiring an attorney.  The more experience, the better the representation and defense.  If you are charged with a crime, give me a call.  You don't want to chance your future with anyone else.

Have more questions about whether you should hire a lawyer? Please feel free to calI the Rolloff Law Office to set-up a FREE CONSULTATION --- call: (612) 234-1165.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Minnesota Domestic Assault (Explained)

In the State of Minnesota, Domestic Assault can be charged as a Misdemeanor, Gross Misdemeanor or Felony, and can have lasting negative consequences to the accused and his/her family. 
If you, or someone you know is charged with Domestic Assault, you should contact an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer to get answers and help you earn the best possible outcome in your case.

What are the Non-Criminal Consequences of a DOMESTIC ASSAULT Charge or Conviction? 

Domestic Assault No Contact Order (DANCO). Even though a defendant in a criminal case is “presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” it is very common for a DANCO order to be put in place early on in the case by the judge. A DANCO order is aimed at keeping the defendant away from the alleged victim while the case is pending. (The DANCO order will also often continue well after the case has been resolved.)

Often the issuance of a DANCO order creates an extreme hardship for the defendant and his or her family. As part of the DANCO order the judge will place restrictions on the defendant’s ability to return home. Where kids are involved, this can be very challenging for the entire family. But, even where there aren’t kids in the picture, a defendant that cannot return home to retrieve his or her property and other necessities are terribly inconvenienced. Moreover, because a DANCO order compels the defendant to avoid direct and indirect contact and communication with the alleged victim, it is extremely difficult to arrange for the return of the defendant’s property.

While DANCO orders can be lifted in some circumstances, it is not uncommon for the alleged victim of Felony Domestic Assault to remain at the property (even if they don’t own it) while the defendant in the case is forbidden to return to the property (even if they own it). In these situations, lucky defendants find family and friends to stay with while the Felony Domestic Assault case is pending. Unlucky defendants find themselves incurring expensive hotel or motel bills while the DANCO order is in place.

Anger and Chemical Use Assessments. Most judges will order an individual convicted of Felony Domestic Assault to submit to an anger management assessment. In addition, if there was any alcohol or drug use by the defendant in connection with the incident, then the judge will likely also order the defendant to submit to a chemical uses assessment as well. 

After the assessment process is complete, the Judge (or probation) will review the assessment and associated recommendations. The judge then, as part of the Sentencing Order, orders the defendant to comply with all of the assessment’s recommendations. For example, if an anger management assessment recommends that a defendant attend a specific anger management class, then the defendant must attend (and pay for) that specific class. Moreover, if a defendant fails to follow the assessment’s recommendations, then a judge may find that the defendant has violated a term of probation and needs to serve time in jail.

Harm to Employment/Employment Prospects. Under Minnesota law, an employer may be able to fire an employee because of a criminal charge or conviction. In addition, job applications often ask the applicant if he or she has been convicted of a crime. Unfortunately, Felony Domestic Assault is a crime and would have to be disclosed on a job application. Moreover, a conviction for Felony Domestic Assault would most assuredly show up on a criminal background check.

Why you should contact Minnesota Domestic Assault Attorney Jay Rolloff?

I'm a former prosecutor with more than a decades experience in prosecuting/defending people charged with Domestic Assault. To find out how to resolve your case in the most favorable way possible for you, contact The Rolloff Law Office for A FREE CONSULTATION on your  Domestic Assault case. Call (612) 234-1165.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Keeping Your Traffic Record Clean (Explained)

A clean Driver's Record is a valuable thing.  At a minimum, It can make the difference between police officer discretion breaking your way, or against you.  It can also save you money when it comes to motor vehicle insurance.  How can you keep your record clean?  Talk to an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.


In the State of Minnesota, there are many ways to keep a citation off of your driving reocrd.  Here are just a few.

Continuance for Dismissal.  The prosecutor can agree to continue the a ticket (like speeding, running a stop sign, etc.) for some period of time (like 12 months) on various terms and conditions.  Under this kind of agreement, at the end of the predetermined period, if all conditions have been met, the charge is dismissed by the court as agreed.  Here, no guilty plea is offered, no adjudication is made.  So, nothing is certified by court administration to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.  In general, these conditions include: payment of prosecution and court costs (instead of a fine), and no same or similar violations.  There are many local variations on the term used for this outcome, like: Agreement to Suspend Prosecution, Deferred Prosecution, Continuance Without a Plea.

Local or City Ordinance violation citation, instead of state statute.  Police officers have discretion to cite drivers with a violation of a local or city Ordinance instead of a Minnesota State Statute.  If they do, you should be able to pay the fine, and still benefit from it not going on your State of Minnesota Drivers License Record.  This is nice, but usually this is something the police officer can, in his or her discretion, decide to do for you.  It's unusual for prosecutors to do this, though it is no impossible.  

Stay of Adjudication.  Though less desirable than any of the above, a stay of adjudication will prevent the Court Administrator from certifying the traffic violation to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, which means it won't go on the Minnesota Drivers License Record.  A stay of adjudication involves either a guilty plea, or a finding of guilty after a trial, but the judge staying (delaying) adjudication of guilt upon conditions, for some period of time.  If the person does not violate a condition, it never become an adjudicated violation or conviction, and so never gets on the DL record.  Typical conditions include payment of money to the court, and no same or similar violations.  In criminal cases, a judge will be reluctant to give a stay of adjudication without prosecutor approval (or finding an abuse of prosecutor discretion) but in petty misdemeanor traffic cases this may not apply.

You are going to get one chance to get this right.  If you have any questions, feel free to call the Rolloff Law Office.  I'm a former prosecutor - I know how to help you with these sorts of matters. Call today: (612) 234-1165 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

How to Beat a Minnesota Speeding Ticket (Explained)

You just got a ticket ... and you can't have it go on your record, right?  An experienced Minnesota Traffic Ticket Lawyer an help you with that.

Defenses to a Speeding Ticket

There are many potential defenses to a speeding charge. Most people who get speeding tickets have a clean record over the previous five years.  

This is favorable.  

A person with a clean record has a better chance of getting an outcome such as a suspension of prosecution or stay of adjudication --- the kind of result that should keep their driving record clean,  Granted, it will come at a cost ... but it should actually save you money in the long run - see: increased insurance costs. 

The number-one non-lawyer mistake I have observed over my life as a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney is to focus on defenses rather than  the desired outcome.  

Keep your eye on the prize. 

Justice is not perfect in our imperfect world.  The laws are enforced and administered by humans.  If you are wrongly accused of a traffic offense, despite the B.S. of being falsely accused, it may be better to be willing to pay to keep the ticket off of your record - even if you are innocent.  That said, here is some discussion of defenses.

1.  Reasonable and Prudent.  Even if you were over the posted on the highway, was the speed reasonable and prudent? Intent can play a role here as well.  Relevant factors could include road conditions, traffic conditions, incline, mechanical issues, etc.

2.  Passing.

3.  Identity. Can the state prove that your vehicle was the one that was actually speeding?

4.  Excuse defenses.  Example: How about the person driving a heart attack victim, or woman in labor, to the emergency room?

5.  Evidentiary issues.  Can the government offer sufficent foundation or its speed evidence - ie., documents showing that the radar or laser/lidar was in fact working?  

6.  Impossibility.  Can a state trooper in a helicopter (with a stop watch) really assert that a motorcyclist was traveling significantly faster than the maximum top speed for that motorcycle?

I'm a former prosecutor who has participated in hundreds of Traffic Citation trials --- on one side or the other.  (I've even picked up a few tickets myself.)  Let me put my inside knowledge to work for you.  Call The Rolloff Law Office for a FREE CONSULTATION.  (612) 234-1165.