I recently defended a client who was charged with operating a marijuana grow house. Drug Task Force agents executed a narcotics search warrant at his home and discovered marijuana plants growing on all three levels. On the upper level of the home agents found 251 suspected marijuana starter plants in a walk-in closet. The plants ranged between 1.5 and 5.5 inches tall. On the main level agents discovered 70 suspected marijuana plants that were approximately 9 inches tall. In the basement agents found [...]
I recently defended two clients in Anoka County who were charged with misdemeanor prostitution. The stakes were high as both clients had green cards and a conviction would jeopardize their chances of becoming U.S. citizens. The Coon Rapids Police Department designed an online ad to capture the attention of men interested in paying money for sex. The ad was posted on Back Pages and included the catch phrases "Ring Tia's Bell" and "I'm a freak between the sheets. " The ad even required a promise that anyone [...]
Don't give up. You can still ship out on time with the right criminal defense strategy. The secret here is to study the regulations for your branch of the armed services and determine what crimes will trigger the need for a "waiver" from your commanding officer. You do not want to be convicted of a crime that requires a waiver as you may not qualify for a waiver and your dream of serving your country will come to a screeching [...]
The informant plays a valuable role in a successful Minnesota drug bust. The informant could be a first time citizen informant with no criminal history performing his civic duty. This type of informant is presumed by the courts to be reliable. The informant could be a confidential informant known as a CI who has connections to the criminal underworld. This informant is not presumed to be reliable and is often either paid by the police for his information or has been promised a favorable [...]
I recently represented a client who was charged in Anoka County District Court with 5th Degree Controlled Substance crime. Police officers executed a search warrant at the defendant’s residence eleven days after the warrant was issued by the court. Officers located a felony amount of marijuana in his bedroom. The law in Minnesota regarding the execution and return of search warrants is found in Minn. Stat. §626.15(a) which provides as follows: “Except as provided in paragraph [...]
Let's say that as a part of an ongoing investigation into suspected drug dealing, the police have obtained a search warrant for your computer. The search warrant gives the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension permission to search your computer for "photographs, internet searches, communications including but not limited to emails, videos, stored data, and any and all data on a hard drive." During the course of the search, the investigator discovers evidence of an unrelated crime such [...]
You are now able to petition the court to expunge from your record petty misdemeanor convictions, misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor convictions, and certain felony convictions. The expungement law in Minnesota has been amended to allow for a more complete remedy. Now you can seal from public view not only the courthouse file containing all the dreaded facts regarding your criminal case, but all records maintained by the arresting agency and the BCA! The new statute imposes a mandatory waiting [...]
Sex trafficking is a serious felony offense under Minnesota law and is as: (a) receiving, recruiting, enticing, harboring, providing, or obtaining by any means an individual to aid in the prostitution of the individual; or (2) receiving profit or anything of value, knowing or having reason to know it is derived from an act described in clause (1). First Degree Sex Trafficking crime involves a person who, acting other than as a john or a prostitute, intentionally [...]
Mortgage fraud is a complex white collar crime and can involve obtaining mortgage loan proceeds by perpetrating such crimes as identity theft, forgeries, bank fraud, wire fraud, theft by swindle and racketeering. Oftentimes, fake identity documents are created for a straw buyer who is paid for his role in the scheme. The documents may falsely state his identity, income and liabilities in order to qualify for a mortgage loan. False identity documents are then passed along to [...]
It is possible to reduce the amount of time you will spend in prison. You will need the right set of facts and circumstances to reach this goal. The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines establish the presumptive prison sentence in every serious felony case. The determination of the sentence is based on the severity level of the offense and your criminal history score. In order to avoid a presumptive prison sentence, a Minnesota criminal defense attorney will need to [...]
Depending on how the case is charged out by the prosecution, the defense of consent may be available to criminal defendants charged with rape. Consent is defined under Minnesota law as a person's words or overt actions that indicate a freely given present agreement to perform a particular sexual act. Consent does not exist simply because of a prior or current social relationship between a defendant and the alleged victim. Consent also does not exist where the [...]
Coming soon to a courthouse near you is a way to seal your criminal past. We have all made mistakes and fallen into trouble with the law. Now you have a chance to keep your future employer, landlord, friend, or relative from finding out about a prior conviction. On January 1, 2015, a new expungement law goes into effect in Minnesota. Under certain circumstances, you may qualify to file a petition to seal all records relating to [...]
Police may only enter your home without a warrant if you give them consent to enter or when they have probable cause to believe a crime has been committed and exigent circumstances exist.The Fourth Amendment protects all citizens against unreasonable searches by the government of "persons, houses, papers and effects." The presence of exigent circumstances can justify a warrantless entry of your home only when police are in hot pursuit, or there is danger to human life [...]
In order for a person to be charged with the crime of conspiracy to sell marijuana in Minnesota, the state must be able to establish probable cause to believe that there was (1) an agreement between two or more people to sell marijuana to a third person; and (2) an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. Let's say for example Mr. Jones is a drug dealer who receives a call from Mr. Smith who wants to [...]
If you have been convicted of a crime of violence, Minnesota law prohibits you from shipping, transporting, possessing, or receiving a firearm. This law has a devastating effect on the rights of all Minnesota hunters who have made a mistake at some point in their past but have since become law abiding citizens. A crime of violence includes felony convictions for offenses such as murder, kidnapping, assault, and criminal sexual conduct. A person who violates the statute [...]
It's a crime in Minnesota for a person convicted of a felony to possess a firearm. See Minn. Stat. Sec. 624.713. Before the state can obtain a conviction, it will need to prove the defendant is a person who is ineligible to possess a firearm. An experienced criminal defense attorney will advise his client to stipulate to this fact in order keep the jury from learning about the defendant's negative past. Secondly, the state must prove that [...]
The scope of a police investigation must be limited to the original purpose for the traffic stop. If you were stopped for a burned out tail light or for speeding, the scope of the police investigation must be limited to the original purpose for the stop. The officer can only ask you related questions such as, "How fast were you driving?" or "Did you know your tail light was burned out?" That's it. The scope of the [...]
In order to assert an entrapment defense in a controlled buy case, a defendant must show by a fair preponderance of the evidence that the government induced the commission of the crime. Inducement by the government requires more than merely providing a person with an opportunity to sell drugs. Soliciting a person to commit a crime in not government entrapment. Inducement by the government to commit a crime can be proven by presenting evidence at trial that the government persuaded, badgered, [...]
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 participa...
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 larg...
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 ...
Does your package fit the drug package profile? If so, there may be reasonable, articulable suspicion for the police to conduct a narcotics dog sniff. If the dog alerts to your package, probable cause will be established for the issuance of a search warrant. The United States Constitution and the Minnesota Constitution protect all citizens with the fundamental right to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Minn. Const. art. [...]
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 s...
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 ...
When can I use force to defend myself against a home invasion? Under Minnesota law, you are allowed to use a reasonable amount of force to defend yourself from an assault. The law allows the use force in self-defense during a home invasion when (1) you have not been aggressive toward or provoked the other person; (2) you have an honest belief that you are about to die or suffer great bodily harm; and (3) you must [...]