Understanding the Court Process / What to Expect at the Following Hearings

  • What is an Arraignment / First Appearance

An Arraignment is sometimes called a First Appearance.[1] If you did not have a Bail Hearing, then this is your first appearance in court. At this hearing, you have the option of appearing with a private attorney, applying for a public defender, or representing yourself. Click Here To Read More.

  • What is a Rule 8 Hearing

A Rule 8 Hearing is generally the second court appearance in Felony and Gross Misdemeanor cases. Some counties will not hold a Rule 8 Hearing unless you specifically request one. But if held, the hearing is meant to advise you of your rights for a second time. Click Here To Read More.

  • What is a Pre-Trial Hearing

In Misdemeanor cases, the Pre-Trial Hearing generally takes place after the arraignment (sometimes referred to as the first appearance). At this hearing, the prosecution usually makes a plea offer for you to consider resolving your case. Click Here To Read More.

  • What is an Omnibus Hearing

In Felony and Gross Misdemeanor cases, the Omnibus Hearing is the first time the court will ask you for a plea of guilty or not guilty. Before you do so, a plea offer is generally made for you to consider. Sometimes, these plea negotiations happen on the day of your Omnibus Hearing. Click Here to Read More.

  • What is a Contested Omnibus Hearing

Prior to your Omnibus Hearing, your attorney may file motions asking for a Contested Omnibus Hearing. Some courts may call it a Motion Hearing, Evidentiary Hearing, or Rasmussen Hearing. Regardless of the moniker, the purpose of such a hearing is to challenge issues in your case prior to a trial taking place. Click Here to Read More.

  • What is a Rasmussen Hearing

Rasmussen Hearings are hearings involving a request by the defense to suppress evidence prior to a trial. To get there, your defense attorney will file a motion asking the court for such relief based on an illegal seizure, illegal search, unlawful confession, or unlawful identification. Click Here to Read More.

  • What is a Settlement Conference

A Settlement Conference is an in-court hearing used to see if the prosecution and defense can reach a settlement prior to a trial taking place. By this point, the court has already conducted your first appearance, pre-trial hearing, and possibly contested hearings challenging the admissibility of evidence in your case.  Click Here to Read More.

  • What is a Morrissey Hearing

A Morrissey Hearing is another name for a contested probation violation hearing. When a person is placed on probation and allegedly violates the conditions of their probation, they are entitled to have a hearing where the prosecution has to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the conditions of probation were violated. Click Here to Read More.

  • What is a Court Trial / Bench Trial

A Court Trial, or what is sometimes referred to as a Bench Trial, is a trial in front of a judge. Instead of having a trial by jury, you may choose to have your case decided by a judicial officer. In petty misdemeanor cases and juvenile court matters, you do not have a right to a jury trial and may only have a Court Trial. Click Here to Read More.

  • What is a Jury Trial

A jury trial is the last stage to determine guilt or innocence in a criminal case at the district court level. If all other avenues have been exhausted, such as plea bargaining, pre-trial contested motions, possible pleas to the court, and the defense and prosecution cannot come to an agreement, then you have the right to a trial by jury. Click Here to Read More.

Understanding Bail and Bonds

  • How to get someone out of jail

For most misdemeanor offenses, the person arrested will often be released from custody after a few hours. This includes Fourth Degree Misdemeanor DWI, Misdemeanor Theft, Misdemeanor Drug Possession, Disorderly Conduct, and minor traffic offenses. Click Here to Read More.

  • When will bail get set

If you are trying to figure out when will bail get set for someone, the quickest way to find out is to either call a criminal defense lawyer or call the sheriff’s office where the offense occurred. Most criminal defense attorneys worth their salt will have an idea of when bail may get set or at least be able to find out without too much difficulty. Click Here to Read More.

  • 36 / 48 hour rules

If you are arrested for a criminal offense, you cannot be held in jail forever without seeing a judge. The 36 and 48-hour rules protect against such inhumane scenarios. If someone you know has recently been arrested, understanding these time limitation rules and how each county applies them, will help you understand when that person may see a judge or be released. Click Here to Read More.

Understanding Driver’s License Revocations

  • What is an Implied Consent Hearing

Have you had your driver’s license taken away after being arrested for a DWI? If you had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more, or refused the evidentiary test, then you likely received a Notice and Order of License Revocation stating that your license to drive is being taken away. Click Here to Read More.

  • What is a Notice and Order of License Revocation

Upon a DWI arrest or conviction, you may have received a Notice and Order of License Revocation. This is an order stating that your driver’s license is being taken away for a period of time because of having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more, refusing an evidentiary test, or otherwise being convicted of a DWI at the end of your criminal case. Click Here to Read More.

Understanding License Plate Impoundment

  • What is a Notice and Order of License Plate Impoundment

If you received a Notice and Order of License Plate Impoundment, then it probably means you got a MN DWI with an alcohol concentration of .16 or more or you have a prior DWI within the past ten years. There are other scenarios that trigger license plate impoundment, such as Driving After Cancellation Inimical to Public Safety, but the aforementioned ones are the most common ways to get your license plates taken. Click Here to Read More.

Understanding Vehicle Forfeitures

  • What is a Notice and Intent to Forfeit Vehicle

Was your car taken away because of a DWI, controlled substance case, prostitution charge, fleeing a police officer, or for some other reason? If so, you likely received a Notice of Seizure and Intent to Forfeit Vehicle from the state. Most importantly, you must be aware you have sixty days to challenge your vehicle being taken away. Click Here to Learn More.

Levels of Offenses

  • Petty Misdemeanor

In Minnesota, a petty misdemeanor is not a crime. They are less serious than misdemeanors. There is no possible jail time or probation associated with petty misdemeanors. There is a maximum fine of up to $300 for such an offense. The most common petty misdemeanors are violations of traffic regulations, such as speeding, driving with due care, careless driving, and vehicle equipment violations. Click Here To Read More.

  • Misdemeanor

In Minnesota, a misdemeanor offense is a crime that has a maximum penalty of up to ninety days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Misdemeanors are less serious than a gross misdemeanor, but more severe than a petty misdemeanor. Common misdemeanors include Fourth Degree DWI, Domestic Assault, Disorderly Conduct, Fifth Degree Assault, Theft less than $500, Obstructing Legal Process, Driving After Revocation, Careless Driving, Reckless Driving, Possession of Marijuana in a Motor Vehicle, and many more. Click Here To Read More.

  • Gross Misdemeanor

In Minnesota, a gross misdemeanor offense is a crime in which no more than one year in jail and a $3,000 may be imposed. Gross misdemeanors are more severe than a misdemeanor, but less serious than a felony. Common gross misdemeanors include Second and Third Degree DWI, Driving After Cancellation Inimical to Public Safety, Violating an Order for Protection within ten years of a prior offense, Theft over $500 but less than $1,000, and Criminal Vehicular Operation Bodily Harm, among others. Click Here To Read More.

  • Felony

In Minnesota, a felony offense is a crime in which more than one year of imprisonment may be imposed. When you receive a sentence of more than a year of incarceration it means you are going to a state prison facility and not a local county jail. How much prison time you may receive is governed by the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines. Click Here To Read More.

Understanding The Expungement Process

  • Expungement Waiting Period

If you are eligible under Minnesota’s expungement law to seal your record, then it will generally take at least 4 – 6 months to complete the process. Once you, or your attorney, file and serve your expungement petition and supporting documentation, then the court will not hear your expungement hearing for at least 60 days. Click Here To Read More.

Understanding The Criminal Defense Process

  • DWI and Jail Time

It depends on where your DWI happened, whether you have prior DWIs, what your alcohol concentration was, whether there were kids in the car, if you refused the test, among other circumstances. Click Here To Read More.

  • When Do I have the Right to Talk to a Lawyer During a DWI Arrest?

“Don’t talk to the police without a lawyer.” Generally, the best piece of advice a person can follow when interacting with law enforcement. After all, the Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to counsel and you have the right to not incriminate yourself under the Fifth Amendment. Click Here to Read More.

  • I Got Released From Jail Without Charges, Now What?

A common misunderstanding is that if you get released from jail without charges, then you will never be charged at a later time. While it is certainly possible that you may never face charges later, the more likely answer is that the prosecution did not get charges filed against you in time. Either that, or the officers typically book and release people in situations like yours. Click Here to Read More.

  • How Long Will My DWI Case Last?

From start to finish, the duration of a DWI case varies broadly depending on particular factors. These include: the severity of your DWI charge, the specific facts of your case, the jurisdiction, and how quickly the charges are filed in your case. Click Here to Read More.

  • What is Ineffective Assistance of Counsel?

If you lose your criminal case, an incredibly popular issue on appeal is ineffective assistance of counsel. That is, defendants believe their lawyer did such a poor job that it negatively affected the outcome of their case. To determine whether an attorney was ineffective, appellate courts use a two-part testClick Here to Read More.

  • NHTSA 24 Driving Cues of DWI Detection

Law enforcement personnel across the county receive training on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published material. The NHTSA develops training manuals focused specifically on how to detect whether a driver may be drunk. In one such guide, it lists twenty-four driving cues of DWI detection. Click Here to Read More.

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