Below is just a sample of some of the more common types of cases I handle. I offer a wide range of criminal defense related services. Whatever difficulties you face, I can help.
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Most people know that that the legal limit in Minnesota is .08. But very few people realize that in addition to this, there are seven other ways to get a DWI in Minnesota. These include driving under the influence of a controlled substance, driving with any amount of certain controlled substances in your system, and test refusal, among others. Minnesota’s DWI laws are complex and intricate – Chapter 169A, the section of Minnesota law addressing driving while impaired, is 43 pages long!
When a person is charged with DWI, at least one and as many as six different legal processes are initiated. These include the criminal charges, but also may include civil processes such as license revocation, vehicle forfeiture, and more. Each of these may require action by the person charged with DWI to preserve their rights, often within strict timelines.
In the most common case, a person charged with DWI will have two separate actions taken against them – the criminal DWI charges as well as a civil driver’s license revocation. These two actions are separate and independent from one another. This means that even if the criminal DWI charge is dismissed, the person will still lose their driver’s license unless they successfully challenge the license revocation in a separate proceeding! To do this, the person must file a lawsuit against the Department of Public Safety seeking reinstatement of their driver’s license.
Criminal penalties for DWI in Minnesota vary greatly depending on the circumstances of the case. If convicted, a person may serve no jail time at all or, in the worst-case scenario, be sent to prison. Probation for non-felony cases can be up to six years, with felony cases being even longer.
While all this may seem intimidating, there are ways to reduce or even avoid the impact a DWI charge can have on your life. I’ve handled thousands of DWI cases in my career, and even helped train police officers on how to handle DWI cases. If you’ve been charged with a DWI, contact me today and let me use that experience to help you move on.
Did you know you can be charged with assault in Minnesota without ever touching or hurting, or even trying to touch or hurt another person? It’s true – under Minnesota law, committing “an act with intent to cause fear of imminent bodily harm or death in another” is an assault. I’ve spoken with many bewildered individuals who found themselves charged with assault even though they never even touched the person they’re alleged to have assaulted.
Assault in Minnesota is broken down into five degrees, from First Degree (the most serious) to Fifth Degree (generally, but not always, the least serious). What degree is charged in each case depends on a number of factors, including whether a weapon was used, the degree of harm caused to the other person, the criminal history of the person charged with assault, and others.
Domestic assault is a special category of assault in Minnesota that is used when the alleged assault occurred between “family or household members.” This includes roommates, relatives, ex-girlfriend/boyfriends, and others. Just as with standard assault cases, domestic assault charges can be filed even if no actual contact occurred.
Assault charges are particularly serious because of the collateral consequences a conviction can cause. People convicted of assault can have trouble in finding a job, housing, or professional licensure. Anything requiring a background check is likely to be made difficult with an assault conviction on your record.
Luckily, there are several defenses that may be brought against an assault charge. These include self-defense, defense of others, lack of intent, or mistaken identity, among others. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help by evaluating your specific case and identifying potential defenses. During my career as a prosecutor, assault was one of the more common types of cases I handled. I can use that experience to help identify the defense that will be most effective based on the circumstances of your case. Contact me today so we can discuss how I can help you.
Property crimes make up the majority of Minnesota’s criminal code. They include offenses such as theft, criminal damage to property, trespass, arson, and more. Because the law covers such a wide range of conduct, each case tends to be unique. For most offenses, the severity of the charges is based on the value of the property taken or damaged. In some cases, it may also depend upon the criminal history of the person accused.
Generally speaking, theft or damage to property with a value under $500 is a misdemeanor. For values between $500 and $1,000, gross misdemeanor charges are typical. In cases involving values over $1,000, felony charges can be brought. But these are just general rules – Minnesota’s theft statute is nearly 3,500 words long! Common penalties include jail time, community service, restitution, and fines.
Most property crimes are unique because they are what are called “specific intent” crimes. This means that in order to be convicted of a property crime, the government must prove that the accused intended to steal or damage the property. Accidentally taking or damaging property is usually not a crime. Proving intent can be a difficult task in many cases, which means that a skillful criminal defense attorney may be able to make an effective defense in these cases. Success depends on the ability of the attorney to evaluate the facts of the case and highlight the evidence that is favorable to the person accused of the crime. If you’d like to get an evaluation of your case, contact me today for a free consultation.
Minnesota law criminalizes a wide variety of sexual offenses, including sexual assault, sexual contact, possession of certain pornographic materials, prostitution, and human trafficking. Each carries different penalties, including potential mandatory minimum jail sentences and predatory offender registration requirements.
Criminal sexual conduct cases are broadly categorized into five degrees, with First Degree being the most serious and Fifth Degree the least. Which degree is charged in each case depends on numerous factors, including the specific conduct that allegedly occurred, the age of the alleged victim, the relationship between the accused and the alleged victim, whether force or injury was used, and more.
Even consensual activity can be a crime under Minnesota law. The age of consent in Minnesota is 16. A person under the age of 16 is legally unable to consent to sexual contact, meaning it is a crime to engage in any sort of sexual conduct with that person even if they consent or even invite the contact. A similar dynamic applies to people in positions of authority. It can be a crime to engage in sexual contact with another person even if the person is an adult and consents to the contact, if one is in a position of authority over that person.
In Minnesota, sex crimes can carry some of the harshest penalties of all offenses. Lengthy incarceration and probation are not only common, but often mandatory for some serious offenses. A conviction for even a relatively low-level sex crime can trigger predatory offender registration. A person subjected to this registration requirement is required to keep the government informed of their address, any vehicles owned, employers, and more for a decade or more. Any changes must be reported promptly, sometimes as soon as 24 hours after the change. Failure to follow these requirements exactly can result in new felony charges that include a mandatory prison sentence.
Sex crime cases are some of the most complex and difficult to navigate and can carry very harsh and life-changing consequences. Having an experienced guide to help you through this process and defend your case vigorously is essential. Contact me here to discuss how I can help you.
One error in judgment can haunt you even years later. A person charged with a criminal offense often tends to focus on the immediate dangers – jail time, fines, probation, etc. But a conviction for even a relatively minor offense can haunt you for years to come. Securing employment, housing, citizenship, and more can be difficult or even impossible due to a criminal conviction from long ago.
Until about a decade ago, there was little a person could do to escape the errors of their youth. Luckily, today that has changed. Minnesota now has a robust expungement law that can give relief to people who are still suffering the consequences of a criminal charge from years ago. Depending on the circumstances, an expungement can be nearly automatic. Sometimes, it can be obtained by persuading the prosecutor to agree to the expungement. In other cases, it requires going to court and convincing the judge that you deserve to have these old records removed.
Obtaining an expungement can be life changing. However, the process takes time and can involve a significant amount of paperwork. A skilled attorney can guide you through the process and potentially speed up the process by securing an agreement from the prosecutor. Contact me to discuss how I can help guide you through the process and get on with the next chapter in your life.
Of the over 8,000 people currently in prison in Minnesota, nearly one in every five is there because of a drug conviction. Drug offenses are the third most common cause of imprisonment, behind only homicide and sex crimes. But unlike those offenses, the root cause of drug crimes is almost always addiction. This means that there is hope for those charged with drug offenses – there are steps that can be taken to convince a judge that prison is inappropriate. Such a sentence is known as a “departure.” Getting a departure is often accomplished via drug treatment programs and a skilled attorney who is familiar with the law and can persuade a judge that a given case deserves compassion.
The severity of a drug offense typically depends upon the type of controlled substance involved, the amount of controlled substance involved, and whether the circumstances suggest the person was engaged in trafficking the drug, and if the person has any prior drug offenses. Other important factors include whether children were involved and the location of the offense – possession of controlled substances in schools, parks, jails, public housing, or drug treatment facilities can be a more serious offense. Because of the many factors involved, drug possession cases can quickly become very complex.
As of August 1, 2023, Minnesota law regarding controlled substances has changed significantly. On that date, Minnesota became the 23rd state to legalize the possession of marijuana for recreational use. There are still limitations on the amount that can be possessed, and it is not yet legal to sell marijuana, but that change is coming. This new law is a significant change and will likely have major ramifications going forward. The new law also includes provisions to expunge old marijuana related convictions, although it’s not clear exactly how this will work.
Drug charges can be overwhelming due to the complexity of this area of the law and the serious consequences a conviction can pose. If you’re charged with a drug offense, contact me today to discuss how I can help with your case.
Minnesota law lists 13 different categories of people who are not allowed to possess firearms. This list includes people who have prior convictions for drug offenses, domestic violence offenses, and violent crimes. But it also includes people who have not been convicted of anything, such as those subject to an active restraining order. Penalties for those convicted of possessing a firearm in violation of this law vary, ranging from a gross misdemeanor to prison. In some cases, at least five years in prison is mandatory under the law. In some instances, the doctrine of “constructive possession” means that you can be charged with possessing a firearm without having ever touched a gun.
Even people who can lawfully possess firearms are subject to restrictions. For instance, people with a valid license to carry are restricted from carrying while under the influence. Violations of this provision are either a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor, and a conviction will result in a revocation of the person’s permit to carry. Minnesota law also prohibits possessing firearms or ammunition within certain public buildings, such as courthouses, or negligently storing firearms in a way that permits access to the firearm by children.
Beyond firearms, Minnesota law also prohibits certain people from possessing explosive or incendiary devices, and it is unlawful for any person to possess brass knuckles, switchblades, or slungshots. It also restricts possession of tear gas or electronic incapacitation devices, commonly known as “stun guns.”
If you’re charged with a weapons offense, a skilled criminal defense attorney can help guide you through the process and mitigate the consequences. Contact me today for a free consultation to see how I can help.
Harassment or stalking charges in Minnesota can be charged as either a gross misdemeanor or a felony level offense, depending on the circumstances. This statute is particularly complex, in part because the sort of acts that often constitute harassment are also the sorts of acts that are covered by every American’s First Amendment Freedom of Expression. To get around this, Minnesota’s harassment statute creates an intricate, three step process. In Minnesota, the crime of harassment occurs when a person:
AND this conduct does one of the following:
AND the actor does this act with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate the other person.
If all this sounds confusing, that’s because it is. Further complicating matters is that harassment today often occurs via technological means, which introduces a whole extra layer of complexity to the case. The good news is that all this intricacy creates an opportunity for a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to challenge charges of this type. If you’ve been charged with harassment or stalking, contact me for a free consultation to discuss how I can help you with your case.
Most criminal cases in Minnesota result in probation. With a typical probationary sentence, a judge has ordered a person to serve jail time but then “stayed” that time, meaning the individual does not go to jail now but instead has the jail sentence hanging over their head for a period of time. During that time, the person must follow certain conditions. Common conditions are remaining law abiding, not using drugs or alcohol, paying restitution, or completing treatment. If the person successfully completes all these conditions, they are discharged from probation and do not need to serve the jail time that the judge ordered. However, if the person fails to follow the conditions, a probation violation may be filed.
A person facing a probation violation has the right to challenge the violation. They can have a hearing before a judge where the government is required to prove that probation was violated. They can also work to resolve the violation by agreeing to additional probationary conditions or negotiating a reduced jail sanction.
Defending a probation violation is much like defending against any other criminal charge. The ability to effectively challenge the evidence the government produces and to cross examine any witnesses they present is crucial. An experienced criminal defense attorney can be a great help in this process. Contact me here to discuss your case and how I can help you to beat or at least reduce the consequences of a probation violation.