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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How Treatment Improves the Outcome in a Criminal Case

  If you have been charged with a drug or alcohol criminal offense in Minnesota, seeking out prompt treatment with the right provider can make the difference between going to prison or jail and staying free. I have represented many clients over 36 years in practice as a Minnesota criminal defense attorney who have been charged with drug and alcohol  offenses. In each case, I have advised them to be proactive in their case and immediately enroll [...]

December 17th, 2020|

Can I Get a DWI Parked in My Driveway?

Yes, this is what is called a physical control case. If you were under the influence of alcohol or tested above the legal limit, and in a position to start the engine and operate the vehicle, you can be charged and convicted of a DWI. It doesn't matter that you never intended to start the car and drive off down th street, it only matters under the law that you had the ability to do so. If you are [...]

November 13th, 2020|

Should I Snitch for the Police?

Snitching for the police has always been dangerous business. Police are very interested in climbing up the drug dealer food chain. They want to know who you bought your  drugs from and who else you may know that sells drugs. They want the big fish, not the small time dealer. Soon after your arrest, an investigator will come  see you at the jail and request an interview. Promises will be made about not charging out your drug [...]

November 13th, 2020|

Use at Trial of Defendant’s Prior Acts of Domestic Abuse

The prosecution is allowed to introduce into evidence at a criminal trial  prior acts of domestic abuse  committed by a defendant against a victim of domestic abuse or against any other family or household members. See https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=634.20. The statute has been interpreted to permit the prosecution to also introduce evidence of prior assaults committed by an accused against  former girlfriends. Evidence of similar conduct is admissible at trial unless the probative value of the evidence is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. The trial judge [...]

November 13th, 2020|

The Right to Refuse Probation in a Minnesota Criminal Case

        Does a defendant  have the right to refuse probation? The answer is yes.   Often times the conditions of probation are more onerous to the defendant then serving out a jail or prison sentence. For example,  in a felony drug case a judge may sentence a defendant to 6 months in jail but decide to stay the execution of the jail sentence and place him on probation for  5 years. The judge has the authority to place conditions on the stayed jail sentence which could [...]

November 13th, 2020|

Self-Defense and the Duty to Retreat in MN

        Was the self-defense claim doomed in the  Clifford case when he failed to retreat  to avoid the conflict with Vander Lee? The  best defense  for Sgt. Clifford  would have been  to simply walk  away and put an end to  the conflict.         Minnesota law  authorizes the use  of a reasonable amount of force to resist  "an offense against the person." See https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=609.06. The defense  has the burden at trial of coming forward with sufficient evidence to make self-defense an issue [...]

November 9th, 2020|

The Law of No-Knock Search Warrants in Minnesota

The police may obtain and execute a no-knock search warrant in Minnesota when they have reason to believe that the evidence inside a home or business may be destroyed if advance warning of the police entry was given to the occupants. A no-knock warrant may also be justified in a situation where the circumstances present a threat of physical violence to the officers. Police are required to make a preliminary showing to a magistrate in a search warrant affidavit of  suporting facts [...]

November 9th, 2020|

Driving Under the Influence or Marijuana in Minnesota

        It's a crime to drive a car in Minnesota when a person is under the influence of a controlled substance. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169A.20. Marijuana is defined in Minnesota as a Schedule I controlled substance. The punishment for a conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana can range from county jail time to imprisonment. Charges can vary  from a 4th Degree misdemeanor DWI to   felony DWI depending on the number of prior DWI convictions or license revocations a person has within [...]

November 9th, 2020|

Minnesota Arrest Warrants

What should you do if you suspect there is an outstanding warrant for your arrest? You may be able to find out if a warrant has been issued for your arrest by searching online in the county where the crime occurred. Many police and sheriff's departments across Minnesota post the names of persons who have active arrest warrants online as a service to the public

November 9th, 2020|

Minnesota Tax Evasion Defense

Any person who willfully attempts to evade or to defeat a tax imposed by law is subject to criminal prosecution. A conviction for tax evasion under federal law is a felony offense and carries a fine of not more than $500,000.00 and imprisonment not to exceed 5 years.   In order for the federal government to obtain a conviction for tax evasion, a prosecutor is  required  to prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) willfulness, (2) existence of [...]

November 9th, 2020|

When Can Police Walk a Narcotics Detection Dog Down the Hallway?

        Police are required to have a "reasonable, articulable suspicion" of drug-related activity before they will be allowed to walk a trained narcotics-detection dog down the hallway  of your apartment building. The Minnesota Constitution protects   against unreasonable searches and seizures by the police. Evidence obtained as the result of an illegal search and seizure will be suppressed by the court and  can not be used against you at  trial. Suppression of the evidence is the price the [...]

November 5th, 2020|

The Best Defense in a MN DWI Case

        If your criminal defense attorney is  able to suppress the use of the blood, breath or urine test results  in your Minnesota DWI case, you will have found the key to winning your case. The use of a chemical test result by the prosecution is critical to a successful DWI prosecution. How does an experienced DWI attorney suppress the chemical test result? The defense lawyer will   file a motion with the court [...]

November 5th, 2020|

When Can I be Charged with Fleeing a Police Officer in a Motor Vehicle?

        It's  a felony offense in Minnesota for a driver to flee or to attempt to flee a police officer who is lawfully discharging his official duties when the driver knows or  reasonably  should know that he is being  pursued by a police officer.  The case normally begins by the officer attempting to execute a stop for  a traffic violation, a cancelled  or revoked driver's license, or for an outstanding warrant. The case usually involves  a driver increasing his speed to well over 100 [...]

November 5th, 2020|

Do I Have a Right to Make a Phone Call from Jail?

        Yes, any person who is newly admitted as an inmate to a jail facility in Minnesota has a right to make either a local or collect long-distance phone call. The right to make a phone call from jail allows you to contact either a family member or a significant other and applies during the admission process. Inmates are also allowed to keep in contact with family members or significant others during their jail confinement. [...]

November 5th, 2020|

When Can Police Conduct a Pat Frisk?

        Before the police can conduct a pat frisk, there must first be a lawful investigative stop. Police are allowed to temporarily detain a person or stop a car when there is reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed. The standard is less than the probable cause required for an arrest but more than a mere whim or idle curiosity. The Fourth Amendment prohibits any unreasonable search and seizure. If the investigative [...]

November 5th, 2020|

Minnesota Robbery Defense Lawyer

        One of the  central issues for the jury to decide in every robbery case  is  the identification of the suspect. The state will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is the person who in fact committed the robbery.  A conviction will not stand if it is based on inaccurate testimony.         A person can be charged with simple robbery in Minnesota when there is a taking of personal property from a victim [...]

November 5th, 2020|

What to Do when the Feds Attempt to Seize and Forfeit Your Cash?

Let's say you are at the Minneapolis airport and happen to be carrying $50,000.00 in cash in your backpack. The cash does not represent proceeds from any criminal activity. Instead, you are a hardworking American citizen who  dutifully saved the cash from the profits made running a small business.  Your plan is fly to California and use the cash to purchase  another small business at a bargain price.  You have  been waiting patiently in line and are about to go through airport security. Drops [...]

November 5th, 2020|

When Can Police Freeze a Suspected Drug House to Get a Search Warrant?

        Officers who conduct a lawful arrest may   freeze a suspected drug house  while obtaining a  search warrant.  Officers must have  probable cause to believe that evidence of criminal activity may be found on the premises. When officers freeze a drug house, all occupants  will be required to stay and will be detained   while other officers  engage in the process of obtaining a search warrant. No police search can occur in the suspected drug house  without a  warrant.         [...]

November 5th, 2020|

When Can You Withdraw a Guilty Plea in MN?

        A defendant in a Minnesota criminal case has no absolute right to withdraw a guilty plea. The  Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure  allow for the withdrawal of a guilty plea in two different situations. In the first,  a judge may grant the request  either before or after sentencing "if the withdrawal is necessary to correct a manifest injustice." A manifest injustice  occurs when a guilty plea is invalid. A guilty plea is considered invalid if it is [...]

November 5th, 2020|

Mpls. Police Use a Drug Dealer’s Cell Phone to Track Him Home

In a recent Minneapolis narcotics investigation,  officers used a cell phone locator tool to track a drug dealer to his residence. A confidential informant provided police officers with information that a suspect known as "Dennis" was dealing large amounts of powdered and crack cocaine in North Minneapolis. The informant supplied officers with the suspect's cell phone number and   a description of the vehicles driven by the drug  dealer. Police Officers arranged a surveillance in order to track the location of [...]

November 5th, 2020|

How to Avoid a Conviction on a Minnesota Theft Offense

        If you are charged with a theft offense in Minnesota, your case may be eligible for a diversion program. A diversion is a treatment program available to theft offenders and is an alternative to a conviction. The program requires you to participate in treatment and abide by other terms and conditions imposed by the judge at the time of sentencing. If you are successful in fulfilling all the conditions of your sentence, the charge [...]

November 5th, 2020|

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|

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