Sunday, August 31, 2014

Minnesota BWI Charges (Explained)

Minnesota law makers have enacted statutes, in recent years, extending the DWI laws to the waterways. Now, if an individual is stopped on a lake or river and suspected of operating a boat in an improper manner, the law enforcement may determine that they have probable cause to believe the person is under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances, then the police can request that the driver of the boat submit to a blood, breath or urine test, as they would in a drunk driving case involving a motor vehicle.  If you have been arrested for bloating while intoxicated, you should seek out the counsel of a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.  

The basis elements that the State must prove to convict someone of boating while intoxicated or BWI:

  • Operation of a boat; and
  • Having a blood-alcohol content as measured within two hours of operating the boat of .08 or higher; and/or 
  • Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  

The same general procedures are that are required to followed as when a DWI arrest is made on the roadways.  

Criminal Consequences

Penalties for BWI are similar to those for operating a car while intoxicated, and the prior offenses for boating and for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated are aggregated together in order to determine how many prior alcohol related offenses the person has. 

BWIs, like DWIs, are enhanceable offenses which means that each offense is treated more seriously than the previous one. There is no mandatory penalty for a typical first time DWI or BWI, unless there are aggravating factors, such as: a prior offenses, children present, etc.  

Differences From Minnesota DWIs

There is some good news regarding boating DWIs as follows:

In Minnesota, open container laws (ie., open bottles) do not apply to boats. Passengers and boat operators can have an open containers containing alcohol. However, boat operators must operate their boats safely and not in a careless manner, or they risk being stopped and cited.


Don't Wait. Call For Experienced BWI Defense

If you have been cited for a BWI, call and experienced Minnesota BWI Attorney.  The Rolloff Law Office can assist you.  Call today for a free initial consultation: (612) 234-1165.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hennepin County Probation Violations (Explained)

So ... your case has been resolved .... and, as part of the settlement, you've been placed on probation.  Things were going good ... and then you slipped --- whether it was a bad UA or maybe a new criminal charge ... now you're facing a probation violation.  Now what?

Believe it or not Minnesota has some fairly generous sentencing conditions and first (heck, even second) time probation offenders can often have most or all of their jail time suspended - without going to prison - under certain conditions.  Yes, Virginia --- there are 2nd and 3rd chances ... but, you have to earn the,  This is where and experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney can be a good resource.  

What Should You Do?

Probation violations can come into being fast (and easily.) So, if there is talk - from your agent - that a violation is coming, you should be prepared to act as jail can happen. If you’re on probation, here are some very concrete steps you can take to avoid probation violations, or empower an attorney to beat a probation violation if one is filed. These steps can mean the difference between freedom and jail.

1. Maintain Your Own Record

One of the biggest problems Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyers face when helping someone with a probation violation is a lack of memory and the absence of a timeline.  So ... you are best served by keeping track of every call, letter and contact you have with your agent.  One thing you might want to consider ... get your agent's email address and communicate that way.  Then, keep those emails.  

2. Don't Disappear 

The easiest way to avoid problems - aside from following the court's orders to a "T" is to (especially is there is an "issue") keep in contact with your agent.Believe it or not, the biggest problem have while on probation ... it is not the occasional "slip," instead ... it is failing to communicate with your minder.  DO that ... and HUGE problems can be avoided.  TIP: The probation officer has no obligation to track you down. You should immediately inform your probation officer IN WRITING of your new address or phone number.

If you have not heard from your probation officer in a while, don’t assume everything is fine. Be proactive. Contact them out of the blue at least once a month if you haven’t heard from them and ask whether there is anything they need from you. Write it down that you contacted them, and what their response is if any. No news is not always good news. If they can’t find you, they can violate your probation for lack of contact.

Do not miss meetings with your probation officer.  You should make meetings with your probation officer an absolute priority, as much as getting to work on time or picking you kids up from school.  Missed meetings can result in a violation.  If you’re in jail, you can’t work, and you can’t parent.  Put your meeting dates into your calendar on your phone and set alarms on it days in advance.  Alternatively, write them down on your wall calendar or in a day planner.

3. Know Your Drugs.

Many medications can result in dirty UAs ... so, especially if this is the result of a valid prescribed drug that you are on ... more than you word, your agent is going to want to see proof.  Tip: Keep information about your medications. 

4. Save a Lawyer's Number on Your Phone

You are not required to admit to your agent that you may have violated your probation.  If you even think you’re going to face a violation, call an experienced lawyer before it’s even filed or brought up at a meeting --- and let that person do the talking for you.  A good lawyer should be able to give at least preliminary advice for free, but you should be prepared and save money up for the possible need to hire one if you face a probation violation. 

Don’t take too many chances, this is your liberty I'm talking about.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call the Rolloff Law Office for a FREE CONSULTATION: (612) 234-1165

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused or charged with a crime, you must understand that you have the right to an attorney.  At anytime, you can ask for a lawyer ... from the accustaion, to when you're being questioned by the police or any time later in the process ... all the way up until trial. 

If you can't afford an lawyer, you can ask the judge for a court-appointed attorney - a public defender. Otherwise, you'll be expected to pay for the services of a criminal defense lawyer yourself.

How to Choose the Right Criminal Defense Lawyer

To find the right Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer - first - look for someone who works your type of case. A lawyer who handles mostly DWI charges, for example, might not be the best person to handle charges of assault or homicide. Another factor to consider is whether the lawyer practices criminal defense in the particular court or county where you'll be tried.

Meet With the Lawyer
Often, the best way to get to know someone is to take their measure - face-to-face.  This is the best way to get answers to your questions. If the case is routine, the lawyer may be able to give you an idea of what could happen --- without looking at the police reports and other documents.  However, *** be warned *** no lawyer should try to give you any guarantees about the outcome of the case.

A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

The law surrounding your defense, when accused of a crime, is complicated --- even if you think it isn't. Plus, the facts of each case are unique --- so, what happened to "some guy you know" may not be what happens to you. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer.

I'm a former prosecutor ... who has worked thousands of cases.  Any questions ... anytime, please feel free to call or text the Rolloff Law Office: (612) 234-1165.