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Southern Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney

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Providing Skilled Criminal Defense Throughout Southern Minnesota

Criminal charges are not to be taken lightly. A conviction can change your life forever. In many ways, your life as you know it hangs in the balance.

We want you to know that there is a way out! At Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Office, we can defend you against criminal charges, including either obtaining a not guilty verdict, getting the charges dismissed, or minimizing the damage a conviction has on your life.

Because of our vast experience as past prosecuting attorneys, we are able to handle a wide range of criminal matters for our clients, including Minnesota DWI / DUI. We have exceptional experience with all manner of issues surrounding drunk driving charges, including: Field Sobriety Tests/Police Mistakes, Check Points, Breath & Blood Test, License Restoration, CDLs and DUI/DWI/Boating While Impaired.

If you have been questioned by the police for involvement in a crime, or if you have been arrested, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Don’t say anything other than, “I won’t answer your questions, I want to talk to my lawyer.” Anything you say could be used against you.

Misdemeanor vs Felony

Felonies are usually more serious crimes. A felony could result in more than a year in prison if convicted. With a misdemeanor, you face less than a year in jail. Felony convictions also have more serious collateral consequences, such as causing you to lose your gun rights.

Miranda Warnings

You probably know about Miranda warnings from watching Law & Order or another TV show. Police must give these warnings before a custodial interrogation. However, if you are not in custody, then the police do not need to give them, and any statement you make can be admitted into evidence. Police officers sometimes neglect to give full Miranda warnings when required. If this happens, you might be able to suppress any incriminating statements you have made.

Will I Go to Jail if I am Convicted?

Jail is a possibility for many criminal offenses. However, there are many factors in play. For example, someone without a criminal history probably looks like less of a risk, so a judge might not impose a jail or prison sentence. It also matters what crimes you have been convicted of and whether there were aggravating factors. Meet with an attorney for an individualized case review.

Can I Get My Conviction Sealed?

It’s possible. Minnesota law allows certain records to be sealed, which means that an employer or landlord will not find the criminal record when doing a background check. Not all convictions or arrests can be sealed, however.

How Long Do You Have to Appeal a Criminal Conviction in Minnesota?

Courts make errors. A defendant could be convicted of a criminal offense because of a mistake. In Minnesota, a guilty verdict is not necessarily the end of the road. You have the right to appeal a criminal conviction. To do so, you must act quickly: There are very strict deadlines for criminal appeals. In this blog post, our Mankato criminal defense lawyers provide an overview of the key things that you should know about the deadlines for criminal appeals in Minnesota.

Criminal Appeals in Minnesota: Know the Deadlines 

To appeal a criminal conviction in Minnesota, a defendant must act before the relevant deadline expires. Notably, there are different deadlines for appeals for different types of criminal offenses. The  Minnesota Court Rules of Criminal Procedure states the following deadlines to appeal: 

  • Misdemeanor or Petty Misdemeanor: A conviction for a misdemeanor offense or petty misdemeanor offense in Minnesota must be appealed within 30 days
  • Felony or Gross Misdemeanor: A conviction for a felony offense or a gross misdemeanor offense in Minnesota must be appealed within 90 days
  • A Petition for Post Conviction Relief: A denial of a petition for post-conviction relief in Minnesota must be appealed within 60 days. 

The deadline for appeal must be taken seriously in a criminal case. Failure to start the appeals process in time could result in you missing your opportunity to challenge an unfair decision. If you have any questions about the deadline in your case, contact a Minnesota criminal lawyer for help. 

A Criminal Appeal: Not a Retrial, Not a New Trial

Beyond knowing the applicable deadlines, it is also important to understand how the criminal appeals process actually works. A criminal appeal is neither a retrial nor a new trial. Instead, a criminal appeal in Minnesota is an opportunity to raise specific grounds on which the lower court made an error in your case. You must raise specific grounds for appeal. Some examples include: 

  • Legal error;
  • Misapplication of law;
  • Abuse of judicial discretion; 
  • Juror misconduct; 
  • Ineffective assistance of counsel; and
  • Other procedural violations. 

What happens if you bring a successful appeal will depend on the specific facts of your case. The outcome of a successful criminal appeal could be a retrial or a new trial. Though, when warranted, a Minnesota appeals court could provide a defendant with other forms of relief as well. A criminal defense lawyer can help you determine the best course of action in your case. 

Do I Really Need an Attorney to Defend Myself?

No. You could also use the public defender. Minnesota has excellent public defenders. Unfortunately, they are usually overworked and rarely have the time to dedicate themselves fully to their clients’ cases. If you can afford to hire a criminal defense attorney, you should do so. The type of individualized attention an attorney can give your case can reap huge dividends. A criminal defense attorney can:

  • Find errors the police made in gathering evidence and either get it thrown out of court or cast doubt on its value.
  • Identify contradictions made by witnesses and confront them with these conflicting statements, which reduces their credibility.
  • Work with the prosecutor to get charges reduced or dismissed.

Contact a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney Now

If you or a loved one has been arrested, you have no time to spare. Contact Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Office today. We can go to the jail where your loved one is being held and ensure their rights are protected. Please call 507-625-5000.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Criminal Defense

What Happens if I miss my court hearing?

If you fail to appear at a court hearing after being court ordered or summoned to appear, a warrant for your arrest will probably be issued by a judge. When a judge issues a warrant for falling to appear it is often referred to as a bench warrant. It could be a “body only” warrant requiring you to physically appear or a warrant with an amount of bail, meaning you could be released after being arrested on a warrant if you pay that bail.

What are orders for protection (OFP)?

An order for protection may be granted when someone has been a victim or physical abuse or is in immediate fear of being physically harmed. If the person who has the OFP against them violates the conditions of the OFP, that person can be prosecuted criminally. Multiple violations of an OFP can result in harsher consequences and even longer jail sentences.

What if I already have an OFP/HRO Violation on My Record?

This means that if you have previous conviction for violating an OFP you may be charged at a higher crime than a simple misdemeanor. This is one of the reasons why it’s so critical to take these offenses seriously and see what kind of rights you have.

What is considered child pornography?

Child pornography cases usually bring to mind the worst in people, but often any naked pictures of minors engaged in a sexual type act can be charged as a child pornography.

State vs. Federal Child Pornography Crimes

There are two different sets of laws in Minnesota regarding child pornography; one is the state statute the other is the federal law. The US attorney for Minnesota has the discretion to file an indictment on child porn charges in MN, which means it is up to them. If the feds don’t file the indictment, then often the county attorney will file state charges.

Is There a Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Child Pornography Charges?

In Minnesota state court, there is no mandatory minimum for child pornography charges. The sentencing grid will come into play, and depending on the level of offense and criminal history, it will determine if there is a presumption of prison/jail. In federal court, there is a 60 month mandatory minimum for possession of anything more than minimal child pornography.

What Constitutes Domestic Assault?

Someone can be changed with domestic assault in Minnesota when a person hits a victim or inflicts fear of harm in a victim. An assault becomes a “domestic assault” when the victim is in a familial or sexual relationship with the perpetrator (e.g. siblings, child, partner, spouse, etc.). An interesting side note is that if a person hits their roommate (even if they do not have a sexual relationship), it can still be classified as a domestic assault.

What are harassment and restraining order (HRO)?

A Harassment and Restraining Order may be granted when someone has threatened to commit acts of violence or when a person has been subjected to repeated unwanted acts in word or gestures. If the person subject to the HRO violates the conditions of the HRO, that person can be prosecuted criminally. Multiple violations of an HRO can result in harsher consequences just like an order for protection.

What is criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota?

Criminal Sexual Conduct in Minnesota is divided into five degrees, with first degree carrying the greatest consequences for a defendant. The degrees are differentiated from each other either because of differences in ages or based on the type of sexual conduct perpetrated, and each carries a different penalty. For example, a 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct charge carries a presumptive 144 months in prison, while a 5th degree Criminal Sexual Conduct charge carries a maximum of 90 days in jail.

Do I Have to Register As a Sex Offender?

That depends on the type of crime you are convicted (and charged) with. Certain crimes such as assault, theft, or DWI do not require a person to register, but a conviction of 4th degree through 1st degree criminal sexual conduct require a person to register as a sexual predator.

How Long Do You Have to Register as Sex Offender?

The Minnesota registration period is for 10 years; however, the judge cannot shorten it.

Don’t wait to contact us | 507.625.5000

Contact us as soon as possible. The sooner you call us and get us on the case, the more time we wil have to prepare your defense. Even if you are not sure you want to hire us, call us and talk with one of our criminal defense attorneys. We offer a complimentary, no-obligation consultation. Talk to us and see what we can do for you.