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.
Facts about Minnesota Drug Crimes
Minnesota, like numerous other states, criminalizes not just the possession of illegal narcotics such as heroin, cocaine, and other banned substances, but also punishes people who sell the chemicals necessary to make them. Here are the five essential things about Drug crime you need to know if you live in the state. Illegal drugs in Minnesota The first thing we need to discuss is what kind of drugs are truly against the law to possess, sell, and [...]
MN Rape Defense Attorney
The defense of a criminal sexual conduct charge in Minnesota requires hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney. When a women fabricates a rape charge, there is usually a good reason for it. The alleged victim may have cheated on her boyfriend or husband and is now worried about her lover posting the news of the affair on Facebook or Snap Chat. If the affair with an old boyfriend is brought to the attention of mutual [...]
MN Internet Sting Defense Attorney
The police are a crafty lot. They will go to great lengths to catch a citizen who had no intention of ever committing a crime. They will use the internet to lure their unsuspecting prey into a trap by using a bait and switch tactic. I represented a doctor in Duluth, Minnesota who was charged with the felony offense of solicitation of a minor for sexual contact or penetration. The police had drafted an escort advertisement and [...]
Tracking Warrants May Lead to Stash House
Let's assume you are a heroin dealer and just made arrangements to sell to a buyer. The arrangements were made using your cell phone. Let's also assume the buyer is a confidential reliable informant (CRI). A controlled buy occurs while you are under surveillance and, after the sale, the CRI delivers the suspected heroin to the police. A field test is positive for heroin. The police are now very interested in locating your suspected stash house. [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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. [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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. [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]