Firm News

DUI DWI: THE MINNESOTA NECESSITY (I HAD NO CHOICE!) DEFENSE

We all know that driving while under the influence of alcohol is a crime. But when, if ever, is it justifiable? Should an impaired driver be permitted to drive to safety to avoid a rape, attempted murder, or assault? According to the Minnesota Attorney General's office, the answer is no, under NO circumstances. Not even if that [...]

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RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE FRAUD 609.822

Prosecution for alleged mortgage fraud cases in Minnesota has exponentially increased since 2007. This is due to several factors including but not limited to the crash of the real estate market and the willingness of the mortgage industry to gloss over sound lending policies while they rushed to fund as many loans as they could. [...]

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TERRORISTIC THREATS: MINNESOTA STATUTE 609.713

You've been charged with terroristic threats? It's a charge you can't live with on your record. The label itself will make it nearly impossible for you to find a job. Here's what terroristic threats means under Minnesota law: The Minnesota terroristic threats statute states that: You threatened, directly or indirectly, to commit any crime of violence with the [...]

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THIRD DEGREE ASSAULT 609.223 IN MN

So, you're being charged with a 3rd degree assault. But what does that really mean? Minnesota Statute 609.223 says: 1) Whoever assaults another, -either by committing an act with the intent to cause fear of immediate bodily harm or death in someone else, or -who intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm upon another, AND 2) who inflicts substantial [...]

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DRIVE BY SHOOTING RULED "VICTIMLESS" CRIME BY MN SUPREME COURT

Unbelievable. Not only has the Minnesota Supreme Court made drive-by shooting a "victimless crime," the Court sentenced a man to 9 years in prison for simply handing a gun to another. And the worst of it: no one was shot. Only minor property damage resulted. Drive-by shooting refers to an incident in which someone fires a gun [...]

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BRADY OBLIGATIONS: MAKE SURE YOUR LAWYER GETS ALL OF THE EVIDENCE!

Due process. These two words are the cornerstone of the American justice system. So what exactly is due process? Simply, due process requires that the laws and legal processes be fair. When the government treats a person unfairly, due process has been violated. Due process takes on many shapes; however, for the purpose of this article it will [...]

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JURY INSTRUCTIONS AND VOLUNTARY INTOXICATION

At the end of a criminal trial, the judge reads a set of instructions to the jury to guide them in their deliberations. These instructions are called "jury instructions" and while many of them are standard, they should be uniquely crafted to fit the particular issues in each criminal case and accurately state the law. Defense [...]

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WHY JUDGES SHOULD LET JURORS TALK TO LAWYERS AFTER VERDICT

Jurors are the ultimate judges of fact, and seldom will a judge overturn a jury's verdict. Although judges can provide useful tips to lawyers after trial in order to help them improve, there is perhaps no better teacher than a juror. Why, then, do some judges insist on insulating jurors from the lawyers after they [...]

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FIFTH AMENDMENT FOUL UP (RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT)

I'm in shock. The Minnesota Supreme Court just put a HUGE dent in a criminal defendant's 5th Amendment rights. Up until now, if an out-of-custody defendant (or their attorney) chose not to participate in a police interview, it couldn't be mentioned at trial. The rationale was that a defendant has a 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, and that their [...]

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2010 MN DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY CRIME REPORT

2010 BCA Crime Report Shows Violent, Property Crime Rates Down Slightly The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension reports biennially to the Governor and Legislature regarding crime rates and the handling of crimes and criminals by law enforcement in Minnesota. It showed that violent crimes and property crimes were down slightly. A good defense lawyer will use [...]

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GANG DATABASES: POTENTIAL FOR ABUSE

Goodbye, GangNet Gang databases are dangerous. In theory, they can be a proper tool of law enforcement. But in practice, they can be abused. Having your name on a gang database is troubling, especially if you're not actually in a gang. Law enforcement and prosecutors know that any alleged association with a gang makes it that [...]

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CHILD PORN: EXAMPLE OF FEDERAL VS STATE SENTENCING

The federal criminal system is generally more punitive than State court. This case is a good example: The feds charged this defendant for producing and possessing several pornographic images of children, and the state simultaneously charged the defendant with the sexual assault of one of the children depicted in the pornographic images. The facts of these cases showed that the defendant, [...]

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BREATH TEST/SOURCE CODE UPDATE JULY 2011

If you were arrested for DWI/DUI in Minnesota sometime between 2007 and 2011 and you took the Intoxilyzer (breath) test, odds are we filed a Source Code challenge for you. Many cases were consolidated statewide to a district court judge. His task was to decide whether the Intoxilyzer results were admissible in evidence. For the [...]

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MIRANDA: SAY "I WANT A LAWYER"

Be clear when you tell them you want to remain silent: State v. Ortega, Jr. Defendant Danny Ortega Jr. was convicted by jury of aiding and abetting first-degree premeditated murder, Minn. Stat. §§ 609.185(a)(1), 609.05, subd. 1 (2010), in the stabbing death of Troy Ulrich after an argument between the two. After arresting Mr. Ortega, police [...]

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IMPLIED CONSENT: WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR DRIVER'S LICENSE AFTER A DWI

Did you know that there are two sides of a DWI in Minnesota (and most other states)? Minnesota law provides that whoever drives on a Minnesota road gives "implied consent" for their blood alcohol level to be tested by the police if they have probable cause to believe that you are over the .08 limit [...]

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SELF DEFENSE: A LIFESAVER

Self defense can be a lifesaver, literally and figuratively. It's one of my favorite defenses in criminal law, and I've successfully used it in dozens of cases. But self defense does have its limits, at least in Minnesota. For now, I'll group self defense into three subgroups: 1) death not the result; 2) death as [...]

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EXPUNGEMENT: HOW YOU MAY SEAL YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD

What Is Expungement, And How Can It Help Me? Expungement is the process of sealing your criminal record. People make mistakes, but should those mistakes brand them for life on their criminal record? Not always. People change, move on, and learn from their mistakes. But unless your criminal record is expunged, employers performing a background check will assume that if [...]

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CAN I USE LETHAL FORCE TO DEFEND MY HOME?

Every State has different laws regarding what amount of force you can use to defend your home. Some States require you to retreat before you use any force. Others do not. Some States limit the amount of force you can use depending on the circumstances. Others do not. In Minnesota, the law permits you to [...]

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HOW TO REMOVE A B CARD RESTRICTION

In Minnesota, people with at least three DWI's in their lifetime may have a "B Card" restriction on their driver's license. What that means is that the DMV has placed an alcohol restriction on your driver's license. If you're caught consuming ANY amount of alcohol, whether you're driving or not, you will lose your driving [...]

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