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.
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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, [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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. [...]
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 [...]