ROBERT J. SHANE’S DEFENSE BLOG

Mr. Shane has over 30 years experience as a criminal defense attorney and a winning record. He will help you understand your rights.

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Minneapolis Riot Defense Attorney

In Minnesota, any person charged with rioting is facing a  very serious criminal offense. The riot statute divides the offense into three different degrees: first-degree riot, second-degree riot, and third-degree riot. First Degree Riot is the most serious but requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) the suspect is one of three or more persons assembled; (2) the assembly disturbed the public peace by an intentional act or threat of unlawful use of force or violence [...]

June 2nd, 2020|

When are the Police Allowed to Detain a Citizen in MN?

The United States and Minnesota Constitutions protect citizens from unreasonable seizures by the police.  If your liberty is restrained by the police through a show of authority or physical force, consider yourself detained. A seizure occurs when a reasonable person believes that he or she is not free to terminate police questioning or to walk away from the encounter. You may be seized by police when there is a  threatening presence of several officers, they display a [...]

April 16th, 2020|

MN Law: A Downward Departure Lowers a Prison Sentence

In a prison commit case, the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines prescribe a range for the sentence  that "is presumed to be appropriate."  The idea is to maintain uniformity and proportionality in sentencing for all defendants with similar charges and criminal histories. A district court judge in Minnesota may depart downward from the presumptive guideline prison commit sentence upon a showing of "substantial and compelling circumstances." Even if there are grounds to justify a downward durational departure a judge [...]

March 21st, 2020|

Charged with Soliciting Prostitution in a Public Place?

If you have been charged in Minnesota with gross misdemeanor soliciting prostitution in a public place, you may have an excellent defense. The typical fact pattern involves the police setting up a sting operation where they create a fictional "prostitute" with a pretty name like "Brittany." Brittany then posts an online advertisement offering to perform sexual services at a location selected by her. The advertisement includes a phone number where potential customers can contact her by text [...]

March 20th, 2020|

Convicted of Felon in Possession of a BB Gun?

        If you have been convicted in Minnesota for the offense of felon in possession of a firearm for possessing a BB gun, you may be entitled to compensation for any time you served in prison or the county jail. The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that you can not be convicted of the  crime of felon in possession of a firearm if you are a felon and possessed a BB gun. The court [...]

November 3rd, 2019|

What Police Look for when Making a Drugged Driving Arrest and What Can Follow

If you are stopped for a traffic or equipment violation, you may end up with more than a citation.  A police officer who is trained in drug recognition may notice certain symptoms that indicate recent drug use. If you display these symptoms, you could be arrested for driving under the influence of a controlled substance. The symptoms displayed will vary depending on the type of drug consumed.  Cannabis use results in dilated pupils, increased pulse and blood [...]

May 13th, 2019|

Felony DWI Defense

I defended a case recently in Mille Lacs County, Minnesota where my client was charged with a felony DWI offense. This was a 42 month prison commit case upon conviction as he had a prior felony DWI conviction from 13 years ago. The case was weak from a defense standpoint. Our best option was to position the client as a person who was capable of rehabilitation in a probationary setting. Under Minnesota law, you can file a [...]

October 25th, 2018|

The Defense of a Felony Strangulation Charge

The charge of felony strangulation is a serious offense in Minnesota as the crime places the life of the victim at risk. Strangulation is defined as the intentional impeding of breathing by applying pressure to the neck or throat or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=609.2247. The neck is a vulnerable place for applying pressure and unconsciousness can result in as little as 7-14 seconds. There may  be physical evidence of the crime in the form [...]

June 3rd, 2018|

Cell Phone Search Law in MN

Before police are allowed to search your cell phone, they must first obtain a search warrant from a judge based on a probable cause determination. The probable cause requirement means that there must be a fair probability that evidence of a crime will be found in the contents of the cell phone. In other words,  there must be a sufficient "nexus" between the suspected criminal activity and your phone. A judge will review a search warrant affidavit when deciding  whether or [...]

May 13th, 2018|

Pat-Frisk Law in Minnesota

When can police conduct a  pat-down search of your person? Let's assume you were driving your car on a Saturday night in downtown Minneapolis and just made wide turn  with a squad car trailing directly behind you. You happen to be carrying a hard cigarette pack containing a  small baggie of crystal methamphetamine in your right front pocket. You also have a baggie of meth falling out of your  jacket pocket located on your front passenger seat. You slow [...]

December 10th, 2017|

Defense Tips for Suspects in a Criminal Case

CONSENT SEARCHES. You may be asked by a police officer to consent to the search of your person, home, or car. What should you do? Just say no. DO NOT sign a Consent to Search form. The police will make all kinds of dire threats to gain your consent to search, such as: (1) we will get a search warrant if you don't cooperate; (2) you will be  arrested; (3) we will bring in the narcotics detection [...]

November 17th, 2017|

Carrying a Pistol in a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence

What's the law in Minnesota about carrying a pistol in a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance? If you have a permit to carry and the pistol is located on or about your person or clothing, it's a misdemeanor   for a first time offense.   A second or subsequent offense is a gross misdemeanor.  The police are authorized to request a preliminary breath test in order to determine whether or not to [...]

November 17th, 2017|

Marijuana in a Motor Vehicle Law and the Trunk Exception

What is the law in Minnesota regarding marijuana in a motor vehicle? The most important point to remember is that it's a felony for a person to possess more than 42.5 grams of marijuana in a car, on their person or anywhere within their possession or control. If a person  is the owner or driver of a motor vehicle and choses to transport 1.4 grams or less of marijuana inside the car, the offense is   a petty misdemeanor and  not   a crime in Minnesota.   The offense [...]

September 23rd, 2017|

Does a Landlord have Authority to Consent to a Police Search of your Apartment?

It's Saturday night and you are in downtown Minneapolis  with your friends  having a good time. Before leaving your apartment, you smoke some marijuana   and leave behind about 45 grams in a plastic bag  on the kitchen table.  While you are gone, a  pipe bursts in your apartment and water  leaks down through the ceiling of  the apartment below you. A tenant notices the water leak and calls maintenance to fix the problem. Maintenance  enters your apartment while you are gone and  notices the bag of marijuana [...]

July 22nd, 2017|

Predatory Offender Registration Defense

If you are charged with a violation of the Minnesota predatory offender registration law, the consequences of a conviction can be dire. If it's a first time offense, you are facing a mandatory minimum prison commit of not less than a year and a day and not more than five years! If you have a previous conviction for failure to register, you are facing a mandatory minimum prison commit of  not less than two years and not more [...]

July 9th, 2017|

Wrongful Conviction Compensation in Minnesota

If you have served any prison time based on a wrongful conviction and have been exonerated by the court, you may be eligible for compensation. Eligibility can occur in a situation where a court has reversed or vacated a judgment of conviction based on grounds consistent with innocence and the charges are dismissed by a prosecutor. A person may also be entitled to compensation where a conviction was reserved on grounds consistent with innocence and a new trial is ordered,  but the  prosecutor [...]

May 20th, 2017|

Drug Conspiracy Law in MN

Who is a potential coconspirator to a drug sale? Any person  who conspired  with another person to commit a drug sale  where one or more of the coconspirators did some overt act in furtherance of the  of the conspiracy. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=609.175. The courts in Minnesota have determined that everything said, written or done by a single coconspirator in furtherance of a common plan to commit a drug sale  is evidence of a crime admissible against any other coconspirator, even though he [...]

March 4th, 2017|

How to Insure a Low Bail Setting

If a person has been arrested in Minnesota, the goal is to have  bail set  in the lowest  possible amount in order to  expedite release from custody. Why is it so important for a defendant to be released from jail while his  case is pending? The main reason of course is to be able to return to your employment and prevent job loss.  The second reason is to be able to  assist your attorney in the investigation and preparation of your defense. The judge will consider various factors when making a [...]

January 29th, 2017|

When Can Police Search a Visitor’s Personal Belongings during a Search Warrant?

The  Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects our homes  against unreasonable searches and seizures by the police. A home may be search with a valid warrant but this will requires  a showing before a judge of probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and  the home  contains evidence of the crime. Any container inside the home may be searched if there is reason to believe the container may conceal the object of the search, [...]

December 21st, 2016|

When Can the Police Arrest You without a Warrant?

A licensed peace officer may arrest a person in Minnesota without a warrant under the following circumstances: (1) A person who commits a public offense observed by the police officer may be arrested without a warrant. If the offense is a misdemeanor, the law requires that the person be released on a citation unless it appears that an arrest is necessary to prevent bodily harm to the person or to someone else, or if there is a [...]

December 13th, 2016|

Can the Police Search Your Garbage for Contraband?

The police have a valuable tool to find out whether or not you have controlled substances in your home. It's called the garbage search. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that whoever deposits their trash for collection in an area open to public inspection gives up their right to privacy with respect to all of the discarded items. If the police suspect you of selling, possessing, or manufacturing drugs, they will make arrangements to ride along [...]

December 13th, 2016|

What can be done if I have already confessed?

Most people want to tell the truth. It’s in our nature. A confession to the police acknowledges our wrongdoing. When we confess, the weight of the world is lifted off our shoulders. We feel better inside, especially when the confession is given to an authority figure like a police officer. We are taught from childhood to admit to our misdeeds, apologize to the other kid, and say we are sorry. Religion teaches us to confess our sins. [...]

December 13th, 2016|

How To Avoid a DWI Arrest

Stay calm; don't get out of the car. Let the police officer come to you. Locate your license and registration as you will need to have it ready to hand over to the officer. You don't want to be observed fumbling around for these items as the officer will note this fact in his report as a symptom of intoxication. Roll your window down only enough to be able to communicate with the officer and pass over [...]

December 13th, 2016|

Defense Tips for Suspects in a Criminal Case

CONSENT SEARCHES. You may be asked by a police officer to consent to the search of your person, home, or car. What should you do? Just say no. DO NOT sign a Consent to Search form. The police will make all kinds of dire threats to gain your consent to search, such as: (1) we will get a search warrant if you don't cooperate; (2) you will be  arrested; (3) we will bring in the narcotics detection [...]

December 13th, 2016|

Use of the Entrapment Defense in Minnesota

        In Minnesota, the entrapment defense may be used in a criminal case to combat government overreaching and obtain an acquittal. In order to prevail on the defense, a defendant  will need to establish by a "fair preponderance of the evidence" that the government induced him to commit the crime. Inducement occurs when the criminal design is conceived  in the mind of the government. Police will often  pressure,  badger, and lure a defendant  to [...]

December 12th, 2016|

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