Posts Categorized Criminal

The Consequences of Domestic Abuse in Minnesota

In Minnesota, domestic abuse is taken very seriously and can result in both criminal charges and civil consequences.  Courts and prosecutors have all experienced a case where a domestic abuser has committed multiple offenses against the same person, and most can tell you a story about an actual domestic abuse case that resulted in homicide.  This makes them often hesitant to make good plea offers and negotiate appropriately, or take evidence of innocence seriously.  The specific penalties can vary depending on the circumstances of the case, the severity of the offense, and the defendant’s prior criminal history. Here are some general consequences: Criminal Penalties: Domestic assault can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in Minnesota, depending on circumstances.  A misdemeanor carries penalties of up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. A felony domestic assault, on the other hand, can lead to more significant penalties, including imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. Restraining Orders: Anyone who claims domestic abuse can seek a restraining order or an order for protection in a separate court proceeding. These orders restrict the accused from contacting or approaching the alleged victim, and may include other provisions to restrict your interaction with them or their home or business.   Our office has LOTS of experience challenging the order for protection.  Domestic abuse is not a hard allegation to manufacture against innocent people, and in an order for protection or harassment restraining order, they don’t need police or a lawyer to instantly restrict you from coming near them, or sometimes even your own home or children if you live with the accuser, or have children with them.  A single paper filed with a court can result in such restrictions in a matter of a few days. Civil Consequences: In addition to criminal penalties, a person accused of domestic abuse in Minnesota may face civil consequences such as loss of child custody or visitation rights, loss of Second Amendment rights, and difficulty in finding employment or housing due to a criminal record. When seeking a lawyer, it’s essential to find an experienced criminal defense attorney who has experience in domestic abuse accusations.  Alex DeMarco has such experience , and a strong understanding of Minnesota’s laws, courtroom procedures, and the ability to effectively advocate for their clients. You should call an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. The Consequences of Domestic Abuse in Minnesota was last modified: June 29th, 2023 by Alex DeMarco

DWI Consequnces in Minnesota

In Minnesota, DWI refers to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both.  In order for DWI to be dismissed, or otherwise disposed of with favorable results, a competent criminal defense lawyer is critical. The consequences of a DWI conviction in Minnesota can be severe and may include the following: Criminal Penalties: The specific penalties for DWI offenses vary depending on factors such as the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC), other drugs found to be present in the body within a period of time from the driving conduct, prior DWI convictions, and any aggravating factors present. Penalties can include fines, probation, mandatory alcohol education or treatment programs, community service, and even incarceration.  Repeat offenses or those involving aggravating factors, like a prior DWI or multiple DWIs, the presence of a minor in the car, an accident associated with the alleged drunk driving, can result in more severe penalties.  Your criminal defense lawyer will know this in detail. Driver’s License Revocation: Upon a DWI arrest and failed test for drugs or alcohol, the driver’s license may be subject to immediate administrative revocation. The length of the revocation period depends on various factors, including the driver’s BAC, prior DWI convictions, and whether or not the driver refused chemical testing. A first-time DWI offense typically results in a 90-day license revocation, but it can be longer for subsequent offenses or refusal to test. Criminal Record: A DWI conviction in Minnesota results in a criminal record, and statutes currently restrict expungement in most cases.  This can have long-lasting consequences. Besides incarceration and fines, a criminal record can affect employment prospects, housing opportunities, educational pursuits, professional licenses, insurance costs, and other aspects of a person’s life.  Be sure to tell your criminal defense attorney what you do for a living and whether you have a commercial driver’s license. Increased Insurance Rates: DWI convictions typically lead to significantly higher insurance premiums, as insurance companies view convicted drunk drivers as high-risk individuals. The increased rates can persist for several years after the conviction.  The increase in insurance premiums resulting from just being charged with DWI can range from $50 to hundreds of dollars per month.   Be sure to tell your criminal defense lawyer if there have been any other increases to your insurance premiums for other reasons. Ignition Interlock OR Limited License (IILL): In some cases, individuals whose licenses are revoked may be eligible for an Ignition Interlock OR limited license, also known as a restricted license.   A restricted license without interlock is typically applicable where the defendant has no prior DWIs, and has blown or otherwise tested for alcohol below a .16.  This license allows individuals to drive under specific circumstances, such as commuting to work, attending treatment programs, or meeting other essential needs.  If it higher than that, or this a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th DWI, the driver will be required to have an ignition interlock.  This is a restricted license, and the restriction is that any… Read more {+}

How much does a criminal defense lawyer cost?

Criminal law in Minnesota is different from other areas of law, and that is important when considering who to hire as your criminal defense lawyer.  When you seek a lawyer for personal injury, or wrongful termination, employment issues, or other lawsuits, the question is most often “do I have a case?”  Your consultation involves a fact exploration to decide if you have a good case to begin litigation.  Attorneys often are paid out of settlement or damage, so their fee is dependent on the outcome When you are charged with a criminal offense,  and consult with a criminal defense lawyer, circumstances are very different.  It means there is already a case, and it has a court file number, and the State has a lawyer, and that means you need one too.  You are facing the most serious consequences a government can impose.  Jail.  Prison.  The collateral consequences of employment, licenses, etc. are also on the line. A good criminal defense lawyer charges flat fees.  That means, you pay them immediately, and they handle the case from the beginning to end, so you are paying in advance for future work.  That doesn’t mean the fee isn’t refundable.  It simply means that you are giving you criminal defense lawyer security to handle the entire case because they have to stick to it.  While this seems perhaps strange or risky, there is a reason behind it.  A criminal defense attorney does not need to determine whether litigation can be started.  It already has, and there is a lot of work to do quickly.  And if you are facing a criminal charge, the outcome is either (1) Conviction, (2) acquittal, (3) dismissal (4) plea to lesser charge.  Negotiating these outcomes, or trying a case to a jury, is time consuming, and requires a criminal defense lawyer with a reputation for jury trials.  The trouble of a jury trial, and the chances of the State to win or lose, really drive the result of a case.  Even if a trial doesn’t happen, aggressive representation, negotiation, and motion practice, and the clear threat of trial,  are all necessary for a criminal defense lawyer to achieve the optimal result.  A common mantra at The Law Office of Alex DeMarco is “a good lawyer prepares to beat a case, prepares for trial, but also prepares to lose.”  A savvy defense lawyer must always be prepared for trial, but must also be prepared for sentencing if they lose.  If a case cannot be won, sentencing itself is also an important phase that can make the difference between sitting in a cage, and staying free. The other reason for flat fees is that a criminal defense attorney cannot charge a fee for a specific outcome, and cannot withdraw from the case without a motion hearing before the court.  This is because criminal law involves constitutional rights, and the very freedom of a person.  So a criminal defense lawyer is very much bound to you until the very end of the… Read more {+}

Virginia Beach Police use forged DNA reports to obtain false confessions

According to a recent story from NPR, the Virginia Beach Police Department categorically lied to defendants to obtain false confessions in serious felony matters. “Investigators from Herring’s office found that the police department was using the forged documents as “supposed evidence” to try to get confessions, cooperation and convictions. The police department would lie and say the suspect’s DNA was connected with the crime and provide that in the document, which had forged letterhead and contact information, according to the investigation.” The sad truth:  Police officers are, within certain limits, allowed to coerce statements from defendants using false information.  False Confessions  are often the result of misstatements or outright lies by the police department.  Police can tell some lies to try to get a suspect to talk, but the Supreme Court in Minnesota in particular as warned that law enforcement agencies that do so regularly are “on thin ice.”  Increasingly, more judges in more jurisdictions are suppressing false confessions, meaning that it cannot be used against a defendant in a jury trial.  I have raised successful challenges to false information resulting in false confessions before.   Over my years of practice I have actually seen lies like this told to defendants, that “we have your DNA” or “your fingerprints are on the weapon” when in fact it wasn’t true.  In Minnesota I suppressed a confession by a juvenile to a criminal sexual conduct case in which the officers misrepresented to the defendant that the accusations “were not very serious” and they just wanted his “side of the story.”    I recently won a murder case in which  Aaron Zirzow of the Minneapolis Police Department Crime Lab was caught lying about their firearm tests and represented falsely that the test fired bullet casing “matched” the casing found at a murder scene.  The test was not even performed the same brand or materials used in the casing found at the scene, and the state strategically arranged microscopic photos and alignments to make it look as though the same marks were left.   However before even obtaining that false evidence, the Minneapolis Police represented to the defendant that his fingerprints and DNA were on the gun, which wasn’t true.  They obtained a sort of partial false confession from my client.  The jury found the defendant NOT GUILTY, despite the State calling over 20 witnesses.  The sole testimony presented by the defense was that of the defendant, and defendant had been accused of shooting someone before. If you’ve been accused of a crime and forced to confess because you thought it would go better for you, or if you’ve been told the forensic evidence in your case is hopeless to overcome, you need to hire a Criminal Defense Attorney, like myself, who practices in Minnesota.  I have the competence to dig into forensic evidence, consult experts, and learn the latest science and challenge the state’s evidence.  If you’ve been accused of a crime in Ramsey County, Hennepin County, Washington County, Dakota County, Rice County or anywhere… Read more {+}

Nicholas Kraus charged with Second Degree Murder

Today the Hennepin County Attorney charged Nicholas Kraus with Second Degree Murder.   He says his attempt was to jump the barricade.  It doesn’t sound like anyone is buying that story.  Click here to read the complaint. Nicholas Kraus charged with Second Degree Murder was last modified: June 16th, 2021 by Alex DeMarco