Minnesota Criminal Law Questions & Answers

Q: I owe over 22,000 in restitution, judgments. I'm hoping there might be a way to get this expunged or reduced?

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota on
Answered on Mar 18, 2019
Jonathan Matthew Holson's answer
Sadly, there is not a way to get restitution expunged or reduced unless you challenged the restitution on the front end. Restitution is also not avoidable via bankruptcy.

Q: Our place that we helped out at and stored some things was raided. Dates on warrant are diff from paperwork filed.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota on
Answered on Mar 10, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
Question everything. That's how we identify effective defenses. But don't share details online publicly. Instead call a criminal defense lawyer with significant experience defending drug cases. You are welcome to call me. A stale search warrant can make the search illegal. But we want to get a full picture of each and every fact possible, before settling on the best defense.

Q: I received a summons by regular mail with no signature required.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota on
Answered on Mar 2, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
When a prosecutor charges a person with a crime, they can either request an arrest warrant or send a Summons to appear. When a Summons is sent, if the defendant does not show up in court at the place and time on the Summons, the judge will issue an Arrest Warrant. Then, police will arrest the defendant and book them into jail. The defendant's bail will usually be higher as a result of the "Failure to Appear" on the Summons. That's why it's a good idea to show up as required by the Summons...

Q: can I file or press charges against a 17 year old that rear ended me an left the seen when I reported it

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota on
Answered on Feb 23, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
That description sounds like a hit & run accident. You can make a complaint to the police about it. Then police can investigate for evidence. Police then may refer it to a prosecutor for possible criminal charges. You can talk to police and-or the prosecutor before that to check on the status of the investigation. Regardless of what they do, you can also try to retain a personal injury lawyer for help making a claim for injuries from the accident. I am a criminal defense attorney. You...

Q: Is there any possible way to get a new prosecutor and judge? Is there any way to reopen omnibus or restart a case?

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Civil Rights, Constitutional Law and Legal Malpractice for Minnesota on
Answered on Feb 20, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
Reading that description, it sounds like you may want to replace your lawyer. If you do, your new lawyer may be able to ask for another Contested Omnibus Hearing. That would be an unusual request, and would need to have strong reasons to have a chance. But a new lawyer would have better chance to do it again, or raise similar issues in a different context. The defendant cannot influence who the prosecutor is, but can remove one judge without cause if done soon after learning which judge is...

Q: Felon’s Personal Belongings

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota on
Answered on Feb 20, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
I don't know the answer to that question. I imagine you might: 1. Call his lawyer; 2. Call one of his close family members about it. I suppose much may depend on the volume of "his belongings." A truckload? Or just a wallet and watch? My first though would be someone close to him, willing to store it for free. If he's out on supervised release, he could pick it up with police supervision. Police are generally willing to do that, as long as it doesn't take too long.

Q: If pulled over, and vehicle gets towed spent a weekend in jail and day of court you get released with charges dropped

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota on
Answered on Feb 13, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
Normally the tow yard won't release a vehicle with a police hold. So if there is one, the owner will want to get the police to release the hold. If police are demanding proof of insurance and plates, then of course that may be a good idea. If there is some legitimate reason for the vehicle to be released without those, you could try to persuade the police or government they work for, of that. (For example, it's a track car only.) As for avoiding paying the tow and storage charges, I'm...

Q: What does “PROB CAUSE” mean when referring to the severity of charges?

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota on
Answered on Feb 13, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
That looks like an excerpt from a jail roster. A person held in jail must be there either under a court Order (i.e., an arrest warrant), or a "probable cause hold." The laws give police officer limited authority to check someone into jail with a court order, upon their representation of "probable cause" to believe the person committed a crime. "Probable cause" is a legal term of art that means somewhat different things depending upon context. In this context, it means the police officer...

Q: The snow was on my rear windshield I am unsure as to if the charge is even correct under that statue.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Traffic Tickets for Minnesota on
Answered on Feb 8, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
You could call a Driver Evaluator at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to ask if it would go on your drivers license record (moving violation). If not, then it's mainly just the fine. You could fight it on the grounds that your car does have the ability to clear the rear windshield and it was not covered in snow, except that caused by heavy snowfall. Or, ask for a reduced fine.

Q: I sold a pistol to a pawn shop last month and today the police came saying it was stolen.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota on
Answered on Feb 6, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
A charge is simply an unproven claim. Whether a prosecutor will charge a crime will depend a great deal on whether there is evidence to support the claim. What evidence could there be to support, or destroy the claim. A receipt could be one piece of evidence, among others. I'm sure you'll keep looking for the receipt. If a credit card was used, a duplicate may be available. In the meantime, don't talk to police. Instead consult me or another criminal defense lawyer right away....

Q: Expecting drug possession charge - lawyers i've consulted (& cant afford) advise early action, low-income guy says wait.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota on
Answered on Feb 6, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
My private practice is focused on marijuana and drug cases in Minnesota. I talk to a lot people who've recently been searched or arrested. Usually I recommend waiting to hire me or another defense attorney until charges are filed. Why? In some, albeit small, percentage of these situations, the person never gets charged. Is it ever a good idea to hire a lawyer pre-charge? Yes. When? If the person is experiencing ongoing police harassment or contacts, you'll benefit from pre-charge...

Q: After a district courts verdict of first degree premeditated murder was upheld by MN Supreme Court, what is the next ste

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota on
Answered on Jan 31, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
Consult your appellate lawyer. More appeals may be possible, but there would need to be grounds for appeal depending on the case. Appeal deadlines are short, so consult your lawyer very soon.

Q: Why has there never been restitution for the items taken, along with pain and suffering?

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota on
Answered on Jan 31, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
That would be a question to ask court services, or the probation office.

Q: hi, i was in court today for a first appearance. upon check in with court clerk, i was given a book and release

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and DUI / DWI for Minnesota on
Answered on Jan 30, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
Hard to say without being there, or knowing anything about the specifics. You could have asked a judge to review that request. The judge might have ordered it not necessary. But it sounds like you already did it.

Q: Received a citation in the mail, date of offense is incorrect and no option for court.

2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota on
Answered on Jan 21, 2019
Jonathan Matthew Holson's answer
Depending on the county where this offense occurred, you need to see a hearing officer before a court date will be set. You should contact the telephone number on the citation if you wish to get a court date set. I doubt that a clerical error on the ticket means that the charge will be dismissed. Typically squad cars are equipped with dash cams which should depict what occurred on the date of offense that may back up the officer's factual claims - date error aside. BUt you could try getting...

Q: Riding dirtbike on someone private property, I didn’t know. They use force to make me leave it gets violent, details

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Intellectual Property for Minnesota on
Answered on Jan 18, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
It's difficult to answer detailed hypothetical questions in the absence of context. You might try a phone call instead. It doesn't seem that you are charged with a crime. So it does not look like a criminal law question. If you're charged with a crime, that usually defines the purpose of the question. If you're considering a civil claim, you may want to talk to a civil lawyer.

Q: If I am not told that an interview with a police investigator is being recorded, is it still submissible as evidence?

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota on
Answered on Jan 15, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
The most common reasons confessions and statements to police are suppressed are: (1) involuntary or coerced; (2) no Miranda warning where suspect is in custody and being questioned by police; and (3) no valid waiver of rights. In Minnesota, courts also want police to audio record statements. But in Minnesota, pretty much anyone can lawfully record their own conversation without disclosing the fact that it's being recorded. Recording other people's conversations without notice is illegal...

Q: If you get caught shoplifting at Walmart can they check security cameras from prior visits to see if you were

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota on
Answered on Jan 14, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
I'm not an expert on Walmart security and loss prevention practices. It seems reasonable to assume that they don't keep massive video files of the store for years. Days? Weeks? I don't know. But if they have the video still, that would allow them to use it, right? I'm not sure whether simply video evidence would be enough to charge someone though. To have a solid case, they should have some other, corroborating evidence. In the end, the specific facts of an actual situation would be...

Q: I was caught shoplifting at Walmart. They said I had 50 or 80 dollars worth of items that didn't get scanned.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota on
Answered on Jan 12, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
What will happen will depend upon you, and what you do. Most people facing a first-time criminal theft charge want to keep their record clean. And usually I'm able to help my clients do that. But other people go to court without a lawyer, talk to the prosecutor, plead guilty, and get a criminal record for theft. That can make it hard to get a good paying job or apartment. I'd suggest: get a lawyer and keep a conviction off of your public court record.

Q: wondering about the process of being assigned a court appointed lawyer.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law for Minnesota on
Answered on Jan 3, 2019
Thomas C Gallagher's answer
In Minnesota, the court asks people to fill out a public defender application form with some basic financial and other information - first thing at the First Appearance. That is how it is normally done. It can be done later, too. You could contact the public defenders' office before that, but 99% of the time there is no real reason for doing so. Unless there is an unusual, urgent circumstance, it's best to wait until you get to court.

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