How Minnesota Divorce Lawyers Deal With the 2019 Alimony Change

Statistically, it is very difficult for divorced women to rebuild wealth. Therefore, spousal maintenance is an important part of most Minnesota divorces. Beginning on January 1, 2019, alimony will be a lot different.

One change went into effect in August 2016. The new alimony reform law actually affected spousal support modifications, which means that the law is just now coming into play. The Cohabitation Alimony Reform Bill makes it easier to modify alimony based on future cohabitation. There was a concern among many Minnesota Divorce Lawyers that ex-spouses lived with their partners but did not get married so as to not affect their alimony.

The new law does not outlaw this practice, but it does give obligor spouses a fighting chance. Instead of simply looking at the exchange of vows, judges may consider several factors, such as the length of cohabitation and the economic benefit which the ex-spouse receives from this arrangement.

The other big change was part of the December 2017 tax reform package. Currently, alimony payments are tax-deductible and alimony receipts are taxable income. Effective January 1, 2019, both these things go away. The obligor can no longer deduct alimony payments, and the obligee does not have to report the payments to the IRS or MDR.

For tax purposes, spousal support payment will be like child support payments. Neither payments nor receipts have any tax consequences. If alimony reformers had their way, the entire system would change along these lines. Many people decry the subjective nature of alimony in places like Minnesota. In the summer of 2017, there were rumblings that the Legislature would soon consider a comprehensive alimony reform bill. But so far, nothing has materialized.

Do You Qualify for Alimony in MN?

In Minnesota, alimony is also known as spousal maintenance or spousal support. Spousal support can either be court-ordered or drawn up by a divorce lawyer. But what exactly is alimony?

The concept of alimony came about because the majority of families used to live off of one salary while the other spouse tended to house duties. After divorce, the unemployed spouse would have trouble making ends meet. So, alimony was designed to help provide support until the unemployed spouse found work or got remarried.

Times have changed, but alimony is still a big part of divorce proceedings. Now, the higher-earning spouse must make monthly payments to the lesser-earning spouse. 

Of course, the law is completely genderless. That means the lower-earning spouse can get alimony regardless of their sex.

Today, there are two major requirements for spousal maintenance. The first is that the lower-earning spouse lacks the assets he or she needs to maintain the marital standard of living post-divorce. 

A court might also award alimony if the lower-earning spouse can’t support himself or herself. This also applies when one spouse is the custodial parent and, due to the child’s circumstances, must remain unemployed.

In most Minnesota divorce agreements, the alimony amount depends on how long the marriage lasts. The shorter the marriage, the less spousal support, and vice versa.

 

Spousal Support Termination

Spousal support isn’t always for a lifetime. As we mentioned above, moving in with an adult partner can be grounds for alimony termination. 

To prove the cohabitation is worthy of canceling spousal support, the court must evaluate various factors, including whether there are grounds to think the partners would marry if not for the alimony payments and the impact on the lesser-earning spouse if alimony payments ended.

But that’s not the only way you can lose your spousal maintenance payments.

Even before the new alimony laws, if the lower-earning spouse remarried, that was grounds for termination. Of course, Minnesota also allows spousal maintenance to be terminated if either spouse dies.

 

Can a Minnesota Divorce Attorney Set Up an Alimony Agreement?

Yes! You don’t need a judge to create an alimony agreement, only to enforce one. If you and your spouse can agree on the terms, a divorce lawyer in Minnesota can draw up the agreement, present it to your divorce court judge, and get a court order to enforce it.

Usually, this type of alimony agreement gets drafted as part of the divorce decree. But if you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement, you may still be able to compromise outside of court.

Many couples bring their alimony disputes to a mediator or Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE). Here, an expert in mediation will help you and your spouse come to a compromise. If you still can’t agree on spousal support at this point, the case will go to court, and a judge will determine spousal support at his or her own discretion.

Prenuptial Agreements and Alimony in Minnesota

The best divorce attorney can also help you and your spouse draft a prenuptial agreement, also known as a premarital agreement. Engaged couples often ask their attorneys to include alimony agreements in prenups. 

As long as an attorney drafts the premarital agreement and you and your spouse agree on the terms of alimony, this agreement is enforceable in a Minnesota court. It would have precedence over any other alimony agreement made by you or a judge.

In your prenuptial agreement, you and your spouse can specify who will receive alimony. It should also detail the amount and type of alimony the receiving spouse is eligible for. We’ll talk more about the types of alimony you can get in Minnesota next.

 

What Types of Alimony Can Minnesota Divorce Lawyers Set Up?

As it stands, Minnesota law contains three different kinds of alimony. A Minnesota judge may order any, all, or none of these types.

  • Temporary Maintenance: While the case is pending, many spouses have immediate and unexpected financial needs. These needs include things like attorneys’ fees, property deposits, and household maintenance expenses such as rent and utilities. Temporary maintenance gives spouses the money they need to meet these expenses. Income is basically the only factor. Courts rarely look at the broader picture.
  • Short-Term Maintenance: These payments are appropriate if a spouse needs some additional help after the divorce to become self-sufficient. That could be money to finish a college degree or an additional income stream because the spouse must accept a lower-paying entry level job. Other ex-spouses need money while they wait for a house to sell.
  • Long-Term Maintenance: Reformers hate this third type of alimony. It is subjective and also clearly designed to redistribute income. Although the rule is not set in stone, most Wright County judges do not award long-term alimony unless the spouse can never become self-sufficient, perhaps due to a disability, or the marriage lasted longer than ten years.

Minnesota Divorce Lawyers may usually modify the alimony terms based on changed circumstances. As discussed above, the 2016 alimony reform bill made these motions easier to prove in some situations.

Factors in Determining Amount of Payments

The above categories roughly coincide with the duration of alimony payments. For example, temporary maintenance automatically ends when the judge signs the decree. As for the amount of payments, the judge basically weighs the obligee spouse’s economic need against the obligor spouse’s ability to pay. Some specific factors include:

  • Each Spouse’s Economic Means: In addition to employment and other income streams, the judge may normally take the property settlement into consideration. That includes any award of separate property.
  • Educational Need: Obligor spouses do not need to help pay for self-improvement classes. But they do have a legal obligation to help pay for courses related to economic self-sufficiency. That status is in everyone’s best interest.
  • Standard of Living During the Marriage: This factor looms large in long-term maintenance awards. According to the law, the divorce should not be an unfair financial burden for either spouse. Some financial pain is inevitable. But, it should be evenly spread between the parties to the greatest extent possible.

Fault in the breakup of the marriage is not relevant with regard to alimony. But Minnesota Divorce Lawyers may be able to introduce such evidence in the property division phase, through a back door called the dissipation (waste) rule. If Wife spent $10,000 on a gift for a boyfriend, Husband may be entitled to reimbursement for the community share.

Can Minnesota Divorce Attorneys Modify Your Alimony Agreement?

When the alimony is initially awarded, you and your spouse can request a no modification agreement. This is what’s known as a Karon Waiver. This waiver is named after a 1989 case where a former spouse sought an increase in alimony after agreeing to waive her right to modification during the divorce proceedings.

Karon Waivers specify that either one or both spouses will forfeit the right to request an alimony modification down the road. But barring one of these agreements, the best Minnesota divorce lawyer could ask for an alimony modification in certain situations.

The most common reason for a request to modify alimony is if the receiving spouse experiences a change of circumstances. For example, say the receiving spouse’s income decreases or, alternatively, his or her expenses increase. In this case, the receiving spouse could request a modification to increase alimony payments. 

The paying spouse can also request an alimony modification. As we’ve mentioned, this usually only occurs if the receiving spouse remarries or passes away. Under Minnesota’s new alimony mandates, the paying spouse’s divorce attorney might seek to decrease or eliminate spousal support due to cohabitation.

Learn from a MN Divorce Lawyer How Changes in Alimony Law Might Benefit You

Parts of the alimony law are changing, but other parts are still the same. For a free consultation with experienced Minnesota Divorce Lawyers, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. Convenient payment plans are available.

Original article published June 16, 2018 and updated September 23, 2021.

Can a Car Accident Lawyer in Buffalo, MN Get Around the Graves Amendment?

You’ve probably never asked this question, but it’s a very important one this time of year. The period between October and May is usually the busiest time of year for moving. Summer is extreme in many parts of the country, and summer moving is always more expensive than fall or spring moves.

That interesting fact does not explain why this question is important, but we’re getting there. Many U-Haul, Ryder, and other rented moving trucks are large vehicles that normally require commercial licenses. Yet most business owners rent these monsters to anyone with a valid credit card. These vehicles are difficult enough to drive if the operator concentrates on driving. But many of these individuals have one eye on the road and one eye on their GPS navigation devices.

For years and years, if these drivers caused car crashes, the vehicle owner may have been vicariously liable for damages. These damages could be substantial, as large truck crashes usually cause wrongful death and other catastrophic injuries. The 2005 Graves Amendment purported to change all that. But is it possible for a car accident lawyer in Buffalo, MN to get around the Graves Amendment?

What Is the Graves Amendment?

Before the Graves Amendment, injured persons could file for damages against car rental companies and moving truck rental companies after an accident with a negligent renter. This was known as vicarious liability.

In 2005, the Graves Amendment made it illegal to bring vicarious liability charges in the US. Under this law, any person or company that owns vehicles and leases them out to other parties cannot be held liable for car accidents caused by renters. The Graves Amendment also stipulates that an injured person can’t hold these lessors responsible for accidents that cause property damage while a renter is driving a leased vehicle.

The Graves Amendment is a Federal law, meaning it applies to people in all US states. This includes Minnesotans.

The only time injured persons’ car accident lawyers can bring charges against one of these companies is if the company is negligent. And that negligence has to have had something to do with the accident that caused the injury.

For example, if faulty brakes cause a car renter to crash, the car rental company may also be liable for your injuries. In this case, you can bring charges against the company without violating the Graves Amendment.

Definitions

Per the Graves Amendment, the owner includes the person who is in the trade or business of renting vehicles. The owner could also be an affiliate of the vehicle renting company, including the company’s employees.

There is one exception to the above rule. If the car lease has an initial term of six or more months, the Graves Amendment considers the lessee the owner of the vehicle. But this designation is only for insurance and liability purposes.

Keep in mind that the Graves Amendment doesn’t only apply to owners of rented or leased vehicles. Graves Amendment-related lawsuits have also come up against owners of tractor leasing companies and ridesharing companies.

What About Interstate Accidents?

Often, people rent cars and moving trucks to travel across state lines. The Graves Amendment still applies in these situations. 

In fact, the Graves Amendment has precedence over any contradicting laws in the state where an accident occurs.

 

Why Does All This Matter?

This post has a lot of questions, doesn’t it? Hopefully, it will provide a few answers as well.

A fully-loaded 26’ moving truck weighs at least 22,000 pounds. That’s not much lighter than a semi-truck. SO, when these trucks are involved in collisions, they usually cause extremely serious injuries, like:

  • Serious Burns: That same truck carries sixty gallons of diesel fuel. Diesel burns at a different temperature from gasoline. So, diesel fuel explosions nearly always cause third or fourth-degree burns. These injuries are often fatal.
  • Crushed Bones: A mid-sized moving truck can basically crush most cars. So, the victims’ bones are usually crushed as well. That injury usually means extensive corrective surgery as well as painful physical rehabilitation.
  • Internal Injuries: These same forces cause internal organs to grind against one another. With no protective layers, these organs usually bleed profusely. And, it may be quite some time before doctors find and stop this bleeding.

These injuries often trigger medical bills that are in the tens of thousands of dollars. These wounds usually mean significant pain and suffering as well. A Buffalo, MN car accident lawyer can obtain compensation for all these damages.

Which Party Is Responsible for Damages After a Buffalo, MN Car Wreck?

Minnesota is a no-fault state, requiring all drivers to obtain a minimum personal injury protection (PiP) plan. Your PiP policy will cover up to $20,000 in personal medical care and up to $20,000 in lost wages due to auto accident-related injuries. Once you exhaust those amounts, your only option is to recover damages from the negligent driver’s insurance plan.

Typically, the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) private auto insurance companies will not cover these losses. Such policies only cover losses in a specific vehicle. Furthermore, during the rental transaction, many moving truck renters decline insurance altogether or opt for the cheapest and lowest coverage.

Under Minnesota law, these limited policies must provide $30,000 of liability coverage. If two people are injured in an accident, that coverage increases to $60,000. But what happens if your medical bills, wage losses, and pain and suffering go beyond these amounts?

Under the traditional negligent entrustment theory mentioned above, the company that owned the vehicle would probably be responsible for damages. If that option is unavailable, it could mean that the victim has no recovery source.

Why Did Lawmakers Pass the Graves Amendment?

Tariffs and trade protectionism have been in the news some lately. Additional taxes on imported goods make domestically-produced goods cheaper and therefore more in demand. Basically the same principle applies to the Graves Amendment. But instead of using money to protect the vehicle rental industry, the people who wrote the Graves Amendment used the law.

Shortly before lawmakers passed 49 U.S. Code § 30106, a major vehicle rental company threatened to pull out of several states with victim-friendly vicarious liability laws, like a broad negligent entrustment rule. The Graves Amendment was designed to appease these corporate suits.

Also, more and more states were enforcing vicarious liability. And some of these state laws had no statute of limitations. That means injured parties could bring personal injury cases at any time, no matter how many years had passed since the wreck. 

Similarly, many states used to forego caps on personal injury settlements against vehicle lessors. In one such case, a car rental company had to pay out $21 million to a New Yorker injured by one of its vehicles.

The Graves Amendment doesn’t just protect rental companies, though. Since its passing, the law has also decreased car rental costs for consumers. Some sources say that vicarious liability laws used to tack on $100 million annually to rental costs.

But the provision itself is very short. Furthermore, there are no hearings or other legislative history in support of the Graves Amendment. So, the provision is full of holes that a Buffalo, MN car accident lawyer can exploit.

Can a Car Accident Lawyer in Buffalo, MN Bypass the Graves Amendment?

The Graves Amendment is tough to beat. Yet, research shows that courts in states where vicarious liability used to be the law are more likely to go around this law. Minnesota is one of those states, meaning the best Buffalo car accident attorney can help you beat the Graves Amendment.

Section (a) is the meat of this law. Ironically, the provisions designed to give it teeth are also the provisions that may cripple this law.

(a)(1) contains the trade or business requirement. The Graves Amendment does not define this phrase, so attorneys must look for a definition elsewhere. The Uniform Commercial Code, which is used in legal cases, defines a “merchant” as “a person who deals in goods of the kind or otherwise by his occupation holds himself out as having knowledge or skill.”

Many businesses that rent moving trucks are not vehicle rental companies. They are moving companies which happen to rent a few trucks as well. Arguably, the lessor in a car crash case may not meet this key requirement.

Further, consider the case of a company loaning a rental vehicle to someone whose personal vehicle is in repair. Because money does not exchange hands in these circumstances, the car company isn’t technically in the business of renting. So, the Graves Amendment may not apply here, depending on the terms of the vehicle loan agreement.

(a)(2) contains the not otherwise negligent requirement. In 2005, no vehicle lessors conducted electronic drivers’ license checks. The technological tools were unavailable. Now, some thirteen years later, that’s no longer the case. Indeed, according to many, verifying drivers’ licenses is now the industry standard.

Some states have a set method here. Generally, a suspended drivers’ license makes the operator incompetent as a matter of law. If the operator has a poor driving record, and the vehicle lessor knows about the poor record, there is a presumption of incompetence.

The negligent entrustment rule applies if an owner knowingly entrusts a vehicle to an incompetent driver. So, if the lessor verifies the license, learns about the bad driving record, completes the transaction, and the lessee causes a car crash, the lessor is negligent. If the lessor did not verify the license, the lessor is also negligent.

The state of Minnesota might also consider a car rental company owner negligent for failing to register its vehicles with the state. Failing to maintain minimum requirements for preparation security plans is another potentially negligent act.

A final way Buffalo car accident attorneys get around the Graves Amendment is if you’re injured in a truck wreck. Sometimes, the truck driver may be an independent contractor. That means the contractor rents equipment from another truck driver. 

The layers of ownership in these cases are complex. Still, a Buffalo personal injury lawyer could help you bring a lawsuit against the original truck owner.

Team Up with a Hard-Working Attorney

The protectionist Graves Amendment may not protect the companies it was supposed to protect. For a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer in Buffalo, MN, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We routinely handle cases in Wright County and nearby jurisdictions.

 

Originally published October 20, 2018 and updated September 21, 2021.

How to Beat a Felony Drug Charge in Minnesota?

Conviction for a drug crime can result in extreme consequences. Often, a lot of students and young professionals with a bright future ahead of them get convicted for a felony drug charge. The felony can not only result in imprisonment, but become a lifelong stain in your record that greatly impacts your present and future.

Potential penalties for felony drug charges can be severe. It is, therefore, crucial to fight against any type of felony drug charge of which you have been accused.

Minnesota recently modified its drug laws to introduce a separate sentencing framework for drug-related crimes, rather than going by the standard felony sentencing guidelines.

Working with an experienced Minnesota drug crime attorney can be extremely beneficial as we are aware of the legal amendments as well as the tactics applicable to your unique case. Accordingly, we can prepare a watertight plan of action to defend you.

Felony Drug Charge in Minnesota

Felony drug charges in Minnesota can include possession of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, crack, and other narcotics, including prescription drugs. Simple possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is considered an infraction. But, the possession of over one pound of marijuana or any amount of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) concentrate or hashish is considered a felony.

Most often, when an individual is found with an illegal drug on their person, they are arrested and charged with a felony. However, not everyone caught possessing narcotics gets criminally convicted of a felony drug charge. Each case is different and the penalty and outcomes are determined based on the various circumstantial factors involved.

Major drug crimes usually involve either the possession or the sale of drugs, including possession with intent to sell. Under Minnesota’s controlled substance laws, penalties for drug crimes depend on whether the offense falls under the first, second, third, fourth or fifth degree. 

First-degree drug crimes are the most serious, and hence, attract the most severe penalties. However, even a fifth degree offense is a felony nonetheless and comes with certain consequences. It is important to avoid a conviction whenever possible.

Mentioned below are some of the crimes that fall under each degree category, from the least severe to the most, and the associated penalties:

Fifth Degree

This includes the possession of any amount of Schedule I through IV drugs, except 42.5 grams or less of marijuana. It also includes the sale of or intent to sell marijuana or other Schedule IV drug, except the transfer of small amounts of marijuana without payment. 

Penalties: Fifth degree drug crimes can result in up to five years’ imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines.

Fourth Degree

These offenses include the possession of 10 or more doses of a hallucinogen, as well as possession with intent to sell a Schedule I, II or III controlled substance. It also includes the sale of Schedule I, II or III substances, as well as sale of Schedule IV drugs to minors. 

Penalties: Fourth degree drug crimes can result in up to 15 years’ imprisonment and fines of up to $100,000.

Third Degree

These drug offenses can include the possession of at least three grams of heroin, 10 grams of other narcotics, 10 kilograms of marijuana, and five doses of Schedule I or II narcotics near a school, park, or public housing. It further includes the sale of narcotics, five or more kilograms of marijuana, 10 doses of a hallucinogen, and Schedule I or II substance to a minor.

Penalties: Third degree drug crimes can result in up to 20 years’ imprisonment and up to $250,000 in fines.

Second Degree

These include the possession of at least 25 grams of cocaine or methamphetamines, six grams of heroin, 50 grams of other narcotics, 100 doses of a hallucinogen, and 25 kilograms of marijuana or 100 marijuana plants. It also includes the sale of at least three grams of heroin, 10 grams of any other narcotic, 50 doses of a hallucinogen, 10 kilograms of marijuana, and Schedule I or II narcotics to a minor. 

Penalties: Second degree drug crimes can result in up to 30 years’ imprisonment and up to $500,000 in fines.

First Degree

First degree offenses include the possession of at least 25 grams of heroin, 50 grams of cocaine or methamphetamines, and 50 kilograms of marijuana or 500 marijuana plants. Further, it includes the sale of at least 10 grams of heroin, 17 grams of cocaine or methamphetamines, 50 grams of other narcotics, 25 kilograms of marijuana, and 200 doses of hallucinogens.

Penalties: First degree drug crimes are the most serious and can result in up to 30 years’ imprisonment and up to $1 million in fines. 

Dealing with Felony Drug Charges in Minnesota

Ask any drug crime lawyer in Minnesota, and they will tell you that no two drug cases are the same. No lawyer can guarantee that they will beat your charges without reviewing your case facts. However, the following pointers will help you understand the kind of defenses that can be used to fight the charges against you.  

The Search for Drugs Was Illegal

The first thing that Minnesota drug crime lawyers consider is whether or not the drugs in question were retrieved through a legal search. If the law authorities conducted an illegal search of your home or car, the evidence obtained can be questioned because any evidence procured from an illegal search or seizure is not considered at trial. 

This exclusionary rule states that the police cannot violate any individual’s Constitutional rights. Moreover, the evidence gathered by violating a defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights are also considered null-and-void by the court. 

The Lack of Knowledge of the Existence of the Illegal Drugs

Another effective defense used by drug crime lawyers in Minnesota is the lack of knowledge or awareness of the existence of illegal drugs. 

Typically, when illegal drugs are found in a car, everyone in the vehicle is arrested. However, it is challenging for the police to prove these cases beyond a reasonable doubt. 

For instance, if the police stops a car with three riders and drugs are discovered in one rider’s wallet, it is possible that the other two riders were unaware of its presence. The government needs to prove that the persons knowingly possessed the illegal drug, which can be quite difficult if the accused’s lawyer puts up a strong defense. 

The Lack of or Inadequate Proof

If there is no or inadequate proof that the substance found is, in fact, an illegal drug, the drug crime charges cannot be established. For conviction to occur, the government has to prove that the alleged illegal substance is actually the drug they claim it to be.

The seized drugs are usually sent for testing to a crime laboratory. In some cases, the samples are lost or destroyed, the equipment isn’t calibrated, and so on. In such cases, an astute Minnesota drug crime attorney can question the results of the test and argue that the government failed to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the substance obtained was a narcotic. This can potentially get an accused acquitted of the criminal charge.  

Even if your case cannot be dismissed, the charges may be reduced or penalties can be minimized. Numerous details surrounding each case can have a huge impact on the possible outcome. Consulting a reputed Minnesota drug crime lawyer is a must to determine what course of action is appropriate in your specific case.

Conclusion

A felony drug conviction can have an adverse impact on your life. Apart from facing lasting detrimental consequences, you can end up behind bars or paying exorbitant fines or both. 

At Carlson & Jones P.A., our Minnesota drug crime attorney can help you by protecting your rights and fighting the charges levied, thereby abating or even eliminating the potential penalties you face. With our powerful legal defense on your side, you can look forward to positive outcomes in your case. 

Depend on Our Minnesota Drug Crime Lawyer for Aggressive Representative

For more information, call us for a free consultation at (855) 976-2444 or contact us online. We will be happy to hear your side of the story and help you by doing what we do best!

 

Originally published on July 6, 2020 and updated on September 16, 2021.

Pandering: A Sex Crime That Leads to Heavy Penalties in MN

There are many crimes you can be charged for, but pandering is one that is frowned upon in society. While it’s not prostitution, it’s part of the process and seen negatively.

In Minnesota, pandering is a sex crime. It means hiring or agreeing to hire someone for the purpose of prostitution. This crime can be a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor. Penalties increase further if the prostitute was younger than 18 years old. 

There is good news, though. A Minnesota sex crimes defense attorney can help you get the best outcome and lowest sentencing possible. The best thing to do if you’re accused of this crime is to protect your rights and reputation. Your attorney can help you build a strong case for your defense.

What Is Pandering in Minnesota?

Pandering is the act of procuring a person for prostitution. To be convicted of pandering, actual prostitution does not have to take place and the procurement doesn’t have to take place. The attempt to find someone to become a prostitute or to entice someone into the sex trade is enough to result in a conviction.

Pandering is also when a person encourages, facilitates or promotes prostitution. For instance, if you run a spa and know that certain members of the staff provide sexual services, you could be convicted of pandering.

It’s important to note that pandering targets prostitution intermediaries. Prostitutes can’t receive pandering charges in Minnesota, and neither can a person who solicits a prostitute’s services.

If law enforcement charges you with pandering in Minnesota, a conviction could mean community service. Worse, you may have to pay thousands of dollars in fines and spend up to 25 years in prison. This is why hiring the best sex crimes defense attorney is so critical.

What Kinds of Penalties Do You Face for Pandering in MN?

Depending on where it takes place and which state or states are involved, the penalties vary. For example, you might face time in prison for several years just for encouraging prostitution.

Pandering convictions in Minnesota incur fines, community service, and/or prison time. The exact sentence varies depending on whether the crime occurred in a public place and the age of the person procured. 

First Degree Penalties

In general, Minnesota charges pandering as a first degree sex crime if the person was under 18 years old. 

If the person was 18 years or older, the procurer must pay at least $500 in fines or perform court-ordered community service. A second offense committed within two years of the original crime is a gross misdemeanor. Violators can earn up to a $1500 fine and/or 20 hours of community service.

The penalties for pandering increase if the hiring or attempt to hire takes place in a public location. If the prostitute is 18 years or older, the minimum fine is $1500. Panderers also have to complete community service hours for committing the crime in a public place. 

If the public place is a park or a school zone, a court can add 3 years to the maximum prison sentence.

Second Degree Penalties

Second degree sex charges apply to pandering offenses committed against adults aged 18 years or older.

Pandering crimes committed against minors incur even heftier penalties, whether the crime takes place in a public place or not. If the prostitute is between 16 and 18 years of age, the panderer can get up to five years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine, or both. Pandering minors aged 13 to 16 years old can incur up to 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. 

Hiring or attempting to hire a minor under the age of 13 can get you slapped with 20 years in prison, up to a $40,000 fine, or both. You’ll also have to register as a sex offender in the state of Minnesota. Registering as a sex offender means you can only live in certain places, and your sex offender status will be publicly available to whoever wants to see it.

The penalty for pandering can increase to a maximum of 25 years in prison and/or up-to a $60,000 fine if:

  • It’s the second first degree sex charge within 10 years
  • The person hired suffered physical harm during the crime
  • The person hired was kept in debt bondage or forced labor conditions for more than 180 days

If you find yourself charged with one of these pandering offenses, there is good news. A Minnesota sex crime criminal defense attorney can reduce or even eliminate your charges.

Can You Defend Yourself Against Pandering Charges?

Yes. To charge you with pandering, a Minnesota court usually must prove that you directly received compensation for the prostitute’s services. However, it’s not pandering if your received compensation for a prostitute’s services but didn’t know that income was earned through prostitution.

For example, in the situation where the spa has sex workers, if the owner did not know that employees were taking it upon themselves to prostitute themselves, the owner would not be guilty of pandering. Not knowing that it is happening or being unaware that money is being made because of prostitution is a defense. To receive a pandering charge, the owner must have specifically hired the sex workers with the intent that they offer sex for money.

A court may use the fact that you accepted money from a prostitute as evidence of pandering. Minors and adults over the age of 55 are exempt from pandering charges in cases like these. Minnesota allows this defense to protect the children and elderly relatives of prostitutes who may rely on the prostitute’s income. 

You may also use several other defenses, like insanity, entrapment or involuntary intoxication, depending on your situation. Your attorney can help you decide the best option for your situation.

Which Pandering Defenses Can Minnesota Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys Not Use?

Before you hire an attorney, it’s important to know which defenses don’t work in pandering cases. 

It’s not a defense that the person hired or attempted to be hired didn’t end up engaging in the act of prostitution. This is so that courts can enforce charges against panderers who hire undercover police officers, and the officer doesn’t actually engage in the act of prostitution.

Even if these situations do apply to you, experienced Minnesota criminal defense lawyers know the tricks to lessen your charges.

Need a Sex Crime Criminal Defense Attorney in Minnesota?

Pandering is a sex crimes and a major criminal offense in Minnesota. If you’ve been charged with pandering, you need an experienced defense lawyer to argue your case. Call Carlson & Jones today for a free consultation with the best criminal defense attorney in Minnesota.

 

Originally published on February 19th, 2018 and updated on September 14, 2021

Can Assault With a Deadly Weapon Charges Be Dropped in MN?

Assault charges can be the result of different kinds of circumstances. They may stem from exaggerated accusations, mutual altercations or arguments due to a misunderstanding. Furthermore, these alterations may involve self-defense or the defense of another person.

To defend charges of assault with a deadly weapon, it is best to seek the recommendation of an experienced assault lawyer in Minnesota. Though dropping assault charges depends purely on the case facts and details, a lawyer will be equipped with comprehensive knowledge about relevant assault laws. He/she will be in a position to defend clients by providing the best possible representation. 

Let us now understand how Minnesota laws apply to charges of assault with deadly weapons.

What Is Assault in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, assault charges apply when you hit another person. But assault can also be making a threat of harm (e.g., raising a fist) or intending to cause harm (e.g., taking a swing and missing).

Simple assault is a misdemeanor in MN. It’s considered simple assault if you harm someone, attempt to inflict harm, or commit an act that intends to cause the fear of harm. In a simple assault, the victim obtains no injuries.

After simple assault, Minnesota uses a first- through fifth-degree classification system. Fourth- and fifth-degree assaults are usually charged as misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors.

Getting a third- through fourth-degree assault charge is almost always a felony. And in Minnesota, a felony automatically means you’re eligible for at least one year in prison.

Using a deadly weapon during an assault can be a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony, depending on the circumstances. But no matter what type of charge you receive, the penalties for assault increase when a deadly weapon is present.

Assault With Deadly Weapons Definitions

It’s important to understand a few assault-related definitions before we talk about types of assault with deadly weapons charges.

Firstly, according to the Minnesota Statutes, deadly or dangerous weapons include:

  • Firearms (whether unloaded or loaded)
  • Flammable liquids
  • Fire used to inflict great bodily harm
  • Any other weapon capable of causing great bodily harm

A “flammable liquid” is any liquid with a flashpoint over 100℉. Flashpoint refers to the temperature at which air can ignite the liquid. In Minnesota, this definition doesn’t include drinkable alcohol, so throwing a drink on someone at a bar isn’t usually considered assault with a deadly weapon.

We mentioned above that fire can be considered a deadly weapon if it leads to “great bodily harm.” But what does that mean? Bodily harm is physical pain, injury, or illness.

So, great bodily harm is an injury with a high probability of death. An assault that causes permanent disfigurement or permanent loss or impairment of any body part also inflicts great bodily harm.

Minnesota law further defines “substantial bodily harm.” Substantial bodily harm is an injury that leads to fracture, a “temporary but substantial” disfigurement, OR a “temporary but substantial” loss or impairment of a body part.

What Are the Types of Assault with Deadly Weapons Charges?

The use of a deadly weapon for assault can be either a misdemeanor or a felony based on the severity and circumstances surrounding the assault.

Misdemeanor Assault with Deadly Weapon Charges in Minnesota

If the offender has used a deadly weapon during an assault, he/she may be levied of misdemeanor charges under the following circumstances:

  • The assault was committed with the intention of causing fear/immediate bodily harm or death 
  • The accused was intentionally inflicted/attempted to inflict bodily harm on another person

A gross misdemeanor charge will apply in the following scenarios:

  • “If the accused violates the provisions of subdivision 1 against the same victim within ten years of a previous qualified domestic violence-related offense conviction or adjudication of delinquency is termed guilty of a gross misdemeanor.”

The penalty for a gross misdemeanor may include a sentence of imprisonment of not more than one year or payment of a fine up to $3000, or both.

  • “If the accused violates the provisions of subdivision 1 within three years of a previous qualified domestic violence-related offense conviction or adjudication of delinquency is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than a year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3000, or both.”

Furthermore, it is important to note that one need not necessarily cause bodily harm to another individual to be charged by assault. Even having a firearm during the act can result in being charged with fifth-degree assault.

Felony Assault with Deadly Weapon Charges in Minnesota

According to the Statutes of Minnesota, felony assault with deadly weapon charges are imposed in the following scenarios:

“Whoever assaults another with a dangerous weapon may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than seven years or to payment of a fine of not more than $14,000, or both.”

If substantial bodily harm occurs, the following penalties apply:

“Whoever assaults another with a dangerous weapon and inflicts substantial bodily harm may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both.”

Domestic Assault With a Deadly Weapon Charges in Minnesota

Committing domestic assault with a deadly weapon in Minnesota is an automatic felony. A judge can also order the court to temporarily or permanently seize your weapon and any other firearms you’re in possession of.

Under Minnesota Statute 609.2242, it’s perfectly legal to prohibit domestic assault felons from possessing firearms for at least three years or up to a lifetime. If you do take possession of a weapon after one of these court orders, it’s a gross misdemeanor.

Using a firearm you aren’t supposed to have in a second domestic assault within ten years is an automatic felony. You can earn up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine for this crime.

If you’ve been charged with assault with a deadly weapon or domestic assault with a deadly weapon, you need the best Minnesota assault attorney by your side to ensure a fair outcome.

What Defenses Can Be Used against Assault with Deadly Weapon Charges?

Depending on the facts of the case, your assault lawyer may use the below-described defenses to get the charges minimized or even dropped. 

  • Self Defense

Self-defense is one of the most common defenses to second-degree assault.

A person can claim self-defense in the following scenarios:

  1. If the victim has initiated the confrontation
  2. If the accused believes that the assault caused bodily harm to him/her
  3. If the accused was not able to escape from the assault to a safe location
  4. If only a negligible amount of force was used to stop the attack
  • Defense of Others

This kind of defense is similar to self-defense. This mechanism is used to defend others from bodily harm that may have been caused due to the assault.

  • Defense of Property

Defense of property can be used only in limited circumstances. For example, if someone has attempted to steal your wallet or harm your movable/immovable assets, the application of reasonable force to defend property can be used.

  • Lack of Evidence

The lack of evidence can be cited in cases wherein the weapon used for committing the assault is not found. Again, if the accused was present at the crime scene circumstantially, the assault charge may be questioned. These are a few ways to find loopholes in the prosecution’s case due to lack of evidence.

  • Mental Incapability

Mental incapability refers to the unstable status of the accused during the assault. It means that the accused did not have the mental stability to make a sound judgment about reacting to the assault. Therefore, the person in question should not be severely punished based on the statutes of law.

  • Intoxication

This defense may be presented if the accused was voluntarily or involuntarily intoxicatedduring the act of assault, i.e. the defendant was not aware of his/her actions because of the intoxication.

Involuntary intoxication can be used as a defense if the defendant proves that he/she was tricked into consuming drugs/alcohol. This could have prevented the defendant from understanding the intent of his/her actions.

However, the jury may accept voluntary intoxication as a defense based on the details of cases. 

  • Alibi

Using an alibi involves proving that the defendant was not present at the scene of the crime, thereby proving that he/she is being falsely related to the assault charge. It may also need to be proven that the defendant was present elsewhere. For example, a third party may claim that the defendant was with them when the assault happened.

How Can a Lawyer Help in Dropping Assault Charges with Deadly Weapons?

The jury may have a wide degree of discretion when imposing a sentence for assault charges with deadly weapons. Several factors are taken into consideration during case evaluation. A few of them are as follows:

  1. The ages of the victim and the defendant
  2. If the defendant already has a criminal record
  3. The strength of the evidence submitted by the prosecution 

An experienced assault lawyer will be able to analyze the intricacies of the case and try to get the charges of an assault to lesser severity or even completely dismissed.

How to Choose the Right Assault Attorney in MN

Assault and domestic assault with a deadly weapon are serious charges in Minnesota. If you want to avoid the maximum sentence, you need the best Minnesota criminal defense attorney to fight for you. 

Here are the top qualities to look for in a good criminal defense lawyer.

Aggression

A lawyer with aggressive tactics won’t rest until you get the best outcome possible. But what does it mean to be aggressive? 

Good assault lawyers are aggressive because they’re proactive and show courage. 

Proactive means figuring out problems and how to solve them before the other side brings them up. Courage is critical for fighting hard cases like yours.

Assault With Deadly Weapon Charge Experience 

Make sure you choose an experienced assault lawyer. And, more specifically, pick a criminal defense lawyer with a proven track record of defending assault with deadly weapons charges. After all, you don’t want an attorney who’s never defended an assault with deadly weapons case.

Your Minnesota assault attorney should know the assault basics off the top of his or her head. Never hire an assault lawyer who needs to research assault laws before offering legal advice.

Familiarity With Local Minnesota Courts

Finally, your assault lawyer shouldn’t just have experience fighting cases like yours. The best assault attorneys will also have experience in the local court where your trial will take place.

Knowing prosecutors, judges, and other staff members can help your legal representative be more proactive.

Plus, close relationships with the local court could mean good news for your case. A good lawyer might be able to strike better deals than an attorney who isn’t familiar with your local Minnesota court.

Conclusion

Assault allegations may result in serious penalties upon conviction. However, an assault lawyer will strive hard to support his/her client to the maximum extent possible and fight for the best representation based on the case facts.

Hopefully, the above-mentioned details will give you a comprehensive view of how assault charges with deadly weapons are presented in court and the possible defenses that may help fight these charges. 

Reach out to Our Assault Lawyers in MN

For any further questions and legal help with assault with a deadly weapon charges, feel free to connect with our experienced assault lawyers at our Buffalo office at (855) 215-6862 or contact us online and get a free consultation.

 

Originally published on July 27th, 2020 and updated on September 9, 2021.

Do Personal Injury Cases Settle After Deposition in Brainerd, MN?

If you or your loved is injured in an accident or due to another’s fault, it can turn your life upside-down. You and your family are faced with mental and physical stress, along with financial difficulties that can accompany medical treatments. Faced with the process, you may be asking, Do personal injury cases settle after deposition in Brainerd, MN?

The good news is that you can file a personal injury lawsuit to hold the guilty party responsible for the injuries and damages they have caused. In a personal injury lawsuit in Minnesota, pain and suffering damages will be paid to the plaintiff as soon as the case is settled. The biggest question, however, every plaintiff tends to ask is, “Do personal injury cases settle after deposition in Brainerd, MN?”

The fact is, a personal injury case can be settled anytime during the legal proceedings. When your case will settle and how much you will get paid will depend on a few case-specific factors. These include how willing the insurance company is to pay you, how concrete your evidence is, and how your experienced personal injury lawyer in Brainerd, MN thinks.  

To answer your questions, let’s see what deposition is and whether your case will settle after or before it happens.

Personal Injury in Brainerd, Minnesota: Explained

In Brainerd, Minnesota, a personal injury case is a civil claim. That means an individual person or company can file a personal injury lawsuit. 

When comparing civil and criminal convictions, it’s important to note that the latter may incur prison time. Losing a civil case doesn’t mean you go to jail.

Personal injury lawsuits involve the injury to one party due to an accident, such as after a car wreck, animal attack, or workplace incident. Defamation lawsuits are also considered personal injury lawsuits.

Personal Injury Case Statute of Limitations in Brainard, Minnesota

All jurisdictions set statutory limits on bringing a personal injury suit. In Minnesota, you have two years from the date you were injured to file suit. If you’re asking do personal injury cases settle after deposition, you first have to file suit. A good personal injury attorney in Brainerd can help you file a lawsuit with your local court.

How Minnesota Fault Laws Affect Personal Injury Cases

Your ability to bring a personal injury case to court further depends on comparative fault. In Minnesota, you can only bring a personal injury lawsuit if you were less than 50% responsible for the accident. And unless the other party is 100% responsible for the accident, your share of fault will factor into the settlement amount you can receive.

Here’s an example of comparative fault in action. Say you slip and fall at the local public pool, which causes you to break your leg. The pool failed to put up “no running” signs, and the lifeguard on duty wasn’t paying attention. 

The court finds the pool to be 90% at fault. But, because it rules that you, an adult, should have known better than to run at a pool, you receive 10% comparative fault. 

In this case, you can bring a lawsuit against the public pool. But the damages you can recover will be 10% less than if you were 0% at fault for slipping and falling.

Another quick note on fault laws in Brainerd: if you were injured in a car wreck, keep in mind that Minnesota is a no-fault state. No-fault states require injured people to get reimbursement from their insurance companies before bringing a case against the other driver. The only exception is if your accident-related medical expenses surpass $4000 and your accident-related disability lasts for 60 days or longer.

Damages a Personal Injury Attorney in Brainerd, MN Can Recover

Damages refer to the compensation Brainerd personal injury lawyers can win for an injured party in a personal injury lawsuit. In Minnesota, damages can be either compensatory or punitive.

Punitive damages are court-ordered payments meant to punish the party that caused the accident. A judge must order these payments, meaning Brainerd personal injury attorneys can only win these damages if the case goes to trial. Punitive damages are usually paid on top of the compensatory damages awarded as a personal injury settlement or during a trial.

Compensatory damages are meant to reimburse the injured party for losses incurred due to the accident. These damages can be economic or non-economic. 

Economic compensatory damages repay the injured party’s medical bills, lost wages, and property loss, if applicable. Non-economic compensatory damages repay the injured party’s pain and suffering and/or loss of quality of life due to the accident.

Non-economic damages are much harder to prove than economic damages. This is because it’s hard to put a dollar amount on your pain and suffering. But with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Brainerd, you can win non-economic damages without ever having to go to trial.

What Is a Deposition in Brainerd, MN?

Deposition is a critical stage in the discovery phase of a personal injury case, which usually happens after the case is filed, but before it goes to trial. In a deposition, attorneys from both parties ask questions to the witnesses, including you and the at-fault party, who are under oath. If you’re wondering do personal injury cases settle after deposition in Brainerd, it’s important to understand what a deposition is.

Although depositions are informal hearings, as the deponents (the people being deposed) are under oath, they are required to answer honestly. A court reporter is also present during the deposition to record everything that happens during the proceedings. As you can see, deposition is a critical part of the legal process because it establishes the facts and circumstances of your case.    

To make sure you are not taken advantage of when being deposed, you need to have your own attorney to help you. Make sure to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer in Brainerd, MN, who can help you share your side of the story on-the-record without any undue pressure.

Your attorney can also help you prepare for the deposition through role-play. And of course, they will also depose witnesses and the other party. The fundamental purpose of a deposition is to allow both parties and their lawyers to evaluate the strength of witness testimony, and how it will be perceived by the jury in the actual trial.

What Happens after a Deposition in Brainerd, MN?

Once the deposition is over, the next step is reviewing the transcripts. At this stage, both lawyers will go through the deposition transcripts carefully to determine their strength or weakness. If this research reveals that more witnesses need to be deposed, you or your opponent’s attorney will schedule the said depositions.

In most personal injury lawsuits, the defendant will also request the plaintiff to undergo a defense medical examination, usually after the deposition is completed. As the doctor for this examination will be chosen by the insurance company, the report they write is less likely to be unbiased. That’s why your attorney will also have your own physician to examine and write a more factual report to strengthen your case.  

After the deposition and the medical exam, most personal injury cases will be settled through negotiations. If you’re asking do personal injury cases settle after deposition, yes, most do. If you agree with the offer presented by the opposition, you will get paid for the medical expenses, damages, and lost wages, depending on the circumstances of your case. In a rare event, when all attempts at the negotiations fail, the case will go to trial. 

Why Will a Case Be Settled in Brainerd, MN after the Deposition?

Trials are often lengthy and costly for both parties. As a result, most people are willing to settle the case, if possible. Here are a few reasons why your case will be settled at this stage.

  •  If the defendant realizes that they are less likely to win when the case goes to trial and your demand is reasonable, they will be willing to settle.
  • Sometimes, the opposition may have a strong case. However, your demand is less than the potential expense of going to trial, they are more likely to settle.
  • In some cases, if both parties understand how expensive and time consuming a trial usually is, they may settle even if both have equally compelling evidence and arguments.  

No matter how simple your case is, if you have an experienced personal injury lawyer in Brainerd, MN by your side, your chances of getting maximum compensation will be much better. So, make sure to choose your attorney carefully.

Why Do Personal Injury Cases Go to Trial After Deposition in Brainerd, MN?

The majority of Minnesota personal injury cases never make it to trial. However, there are some cases where you or the defendant might want to bring your case to court.

The most common reason a personal injury case goes to trial is if one or both parties are unhappy with the settlement amount. If the defendant thinks your personal injury attorney is asking for too much, their lawyer may push the case to trial. The same thing is true if your lawyer thinks the defendant’s side is shorting you on damages.

Of course, whether or not you should bring your case to court depends on the evidence. If there’s lots of evidence in your favor, you’ll be more likely to win outside of settlement negotiations and vice versa.

Personal injury lawsuits may go to court if you’re suing an insurance company that doesn’t want to set a precedent. Often, insurance companies fear that large settlements will encourage other customers to file similar suits in the future. In these cases, the insurer hopes a messy court battle will deter future cases like yours.

Finally, some rare personal injury lawsuits go to court for punitive damages. Only a judge can award punitive damages. Your lawyer may want to make an example of or hold a defendant accountable for negligence. In this case, they may want to go to trial to seek punitive damages.

Conclusion

Technically speaking, your personal injury case can settle at any time during the legal proceedings. In fact, most cases are settled out of court through amicable negotiations. Cases are likely to get settled after the deposition when both parties want to avoid a trial. A knowledgeable attorney can review your case in detail to determine possible compensation.

Hire the Most Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Brainerd, MN Today!

If you are injured in an accident and seeking compensation, you need representation. Carlson & Jones, P.A. will fight for you. Carlson & Jones are one of the leading personal injury attorneys in Brainerd, MN. We will leave no stone unturned to get you the compensation you deserve. You can call us at (855) 976-2444 or contact us online through our website to see how we can help with your personal injury cases.

 

Originally published on November 7. 2020 and updated on September 7, 2021

Are Divorce Records Public in Brainerd, Minnesota?

Like most other court records, divorce decrees are also a public record. Anyone can access the information related to your divorce for free or by paying a small fee. However, you can request the court to seal a part or all of your divorce decree in Brainerd and all of Minnesota

Once your divorce is finalized, all the paperwork related to your proceedings will be condensed into a divorce record. It comprises the important details of your case, including divorce settlement, alimony, and custody arrangements, among other things. At this point, like most people, you are less likely to think about what happens to your divorce record.

An experienced divorce lawyer in Brainerd, MN, will make it a point to keep our clients and prospects well-informed. If you are getting a divorce, here’s what you need to know about divorce records.

1. The Minnesota Divorce Rate

More than 267,000 people in Minnesota are divorced.

While the marriage rate in Minnesota is slightly higher than the national average, the opposite is true of divorce. In Minnesota, there are 7.1 divorces per 1000 people. That’s compared to the national average of 7.7 divorces per 1000 people.

According to Minnesota divorce lawyers, the state’s rate of divorce has increased since the coronavirus pandemic. By some estimates, divorce filings have gone up by at least 30%.

Yet, overall, the Minnesota divorce rate is on the decline. Divorces have decreased from 2008’s rate of 9.1 per 1000 people. At the same time, the national divorce rate has actually increased since 2008.

The Minnesota cities with the highest divorce rates include:

  • Brainerd
  • Virginia
  • Zimmerman
  • Fairmont
  • Stewartville
  • Hutchison
  • Isanti
  • Cloquet
  • Sauk Rapids
  • International Falls

Brainerd, MN has the second-highest divorce rate in Minnesota, second only to Virginia, MN. With a population of just over 13,00 people, Brainerd’s divorce rate was 14% in 2020. Approximately 1497 people are divorced in Brainerd. 

What’s Information Is in a Divorce Record?

In Minnesota, a divorce record is also known as a divorce decree. First and foremost, a Brainerd divorce record or decree serves as proof of a dissolution of marriage. Dissolution of marriage is the legal term for divorce in Minnesota. 

The divorce record will also contain all the conditions of marriage dissolution. These will be the conditions decided during uncontested divorce, mediation, or court proceedings. Conditions may include specifics about property and debt division, child support, alimony, and custody agreements.

Sometimes, a divorce record may also contain protective order records. In Minnesota, Orders for Protection (OFPs) typically come about due to domestic violence.

Are Divorce Records Public in Brainerd, MN?

Not just in Brainerd, MN, in many jurisdictions around the world, most court proceedings are public records. So, your divorce record or decree is also a public record. In fact, if you file it, your separation agreement also becomes a public record.

This is part of the Minnesota Data Practices Act. This law ensures that the Minnesota public has the right to access and analyze public records. The law also states that the public has the right to have public records explained to them if the data isn’t easily understandable.

Even before the Data Practices Act, the First Amendment granted public access to records. This is because the First Amendment grants the US public a “right of access” to any record created in court.

In other words, anyone can access your divorce record if they know where and how to find it. The purpose of making most court proceedings a public record is to allow the tax-paying citizens to scrutinize, examine, and copy them, regardless of the purpose. You usually have to pay a small fee to access the court records.

Who Would Want to Access a Brainerd Divorce Record?

Courts often request divorce records during legal proceedings. For example, a Brainerd court might want to see a divorce record if one of the divorced persons is:

  • Getting remarried
  • Making a property dispute
  • Filing for a green card
  • Disputing spousal and/or child support
  • Determining how property distribution in his or her will

Individuals may also want to access divorce records. For example, say you’re dating someone new and want to know about their marriage history. You can look up their divorce records online, in-person, or with the help of a Brainerd divorce lawyer.

Can You Seal Divorce Records in Brainerd, MN?

As you may already know, in almost all cases, the courts will not seal the divorce records automatically. However, with the help of an experienced divorce lawyer in Brainerd, MN, you can apply and convince the court to seal your records. One or both parties have the right to ask the court to seal the records.

Upon your request, the court may seal only a part or your entire divorce record. The final decision usually rests with the judge. The court will, in most cases, consider if making the record public could be harmful or not. If the answer is yes, the court will seal the record.

In Minnesota, requesting a judge to seal part of your divorce record is a “narrowly tailored” request. Making a narrow request is usually more successful than asking to seal the entire divorce record.

Reasons Divorce Records Can Be Sealed in Brainerd, MN?

The court will decide to seal portions or your complete record depending on the circumstances of your case. However, the usual reasons for placing divorce records under seal include the following:

  • If the circumstances of your divorce require to protect the identity of children from the public, the court will seal this portion of your divorce records
  • Sometimes, the court may also seal the records to protect the identity of domestic abuse and child abuse victims
  • In many cases, the court will also seal sensitive information such as bank account numbers and social security numbers, among other things  
  • If one or both parties own a business, the court may seal any sensitive information related to the business

Usually, judges are reluctant to seal the entire divorce records. It is often a better strategy to ask the court to redact a portion of your divorce decree. However, there is no guarantee that the court will make the decision in your favor. You can, of course, consult an experienced divorce lawyer in Brainerd, MN to help you get the best possible outcome.

Where to Find Divorce Records in MN

As mentioned, anyone who knows where to look can find divorce records. In most states, including Minnesota, you can try one of the following options to find the divorce decrees.

However, keep in mind that if the divorce record is sealed, neither you nor a lawyer can access it. 

Your State’s Vital Records Website

If you are comfortable with finding court records online, you can start with a general search on your state’s vital records website. However, not all states will record marriages and /or divorces on the vital records site.

The Minnesota Office of Vital Records does not record marriages or divorces. Instead, the website will guide you to search for the county district court office that granted the divorce. You will need to know the name of the person and the county court where the divorce was granted. If you know the date, the search will be a lot easier.

You can order the copy of records online or you can visit the county court house, write an application, and collect the copies yourself. Make sure to check the website to see the detailed procedure. For example, some counties may not allow walk-in record access requests. In this case, you may have to send the application well in advance.

Third-Party Website Access to Public Records

Some third-party websites allow you to access public records for a small fee. These search engines not only enable searches in Minnesota. You can also find public records from other states.

Whether these sites can grant you access to Brainerd, MN divorce records depends on availability. To find a record, you’ll need to provide the name of the person and the location of the record. These search engines usually allow you to input a location as general as a state to specific city searches.

 

Divorce Attorney in Brainerd, MN

Another option is to contact an experienced divorce lawyer in Brainerd, MN. Lawyers know the court systems well-enough to find the desired divorce records as quickly as possible. Remember, divorce records are important as they can tell you about a person’s actual marital status.

An attorney can also assist you in understanding a divorce record after you access it. Remember: the state of Minnesota grants you the right to have any public record explained to you if you don’t understand it.

How to Find the Best Divorce Attorneys in Brainerd, MN

If you want access to someone else’s divorce records, experienced Brainerd divorce lawyers can help. An attorney can also help you understand divorce records. But how do you choose the right lawyer?

The best way to ensure your divorce attorney is up to the job is to look for experience. Of course, your chosen lawyer should meet Minnesota’s minimum standards for legal professionals. He or she should be licensed and, furthermore, licensed in the area where he or she practices.

Secondly, you want to make sure your chosen divorce lawyer has experience locating divorce records. During your initial consultation, ask if the attorney to share similar cases he or she has worked on.

Finally, always check an attoney’s online reviews. Check out what others have to say about being a client because this can give you a lot of information about what outcomes to expect from your Brainerd divorce attorney.

Talk to a Seasoned Divorce Lawyer in Brainerd, MN

Whether you want to get your divorce records sealed or find the divorce records of someone you know, hiring an experienced divorce lawyer in Brainerd, MN is the right way to do it. Family lawyers with proven track record, like Carlson & Jones, P.A. can provide you with the right legal advice. Call us today on (855) 976-2444 for a free consultation or contact us online to see how we can help.

 

How to Find a Suitable Criminal Defense Lawyer in Brainerd, MN

If you’re facing criminal charges in Brainerd, you probably know you’re in big trouble. You need to know how to find a suitable criminal defense attorney in Brainerd. MN. Engaging a skilled lawyer to defend your case is of paramount importance.

As the next step, you should start talking to Minnesota criminal defense attorneys immediately. However, in your search for a suitable criminal defense lawyer in Brainerd, don’t make the mistake of hiring the first lawyer you come across.

Engaging an inexperienced or incompetent lawyer can multiply your stress and prove to be devastating to your case outcome. To make the right decision, here are a few qualities you should look for when hiring a criminal defense lawyer in Brainerd.

MN Criminal Defense Attorney Qualifications

This one almost goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: never choose someone to defend you against criminal charges if that person is not a qualified attorney. If you want to know how to find a suitable criminal defense attorney, it is not going with the cheapest, or with only a casual recommendation.

In Minnesota, qualified attorneys hold law degrees (J.D.s). They are certified by the Minnesota Board of Law Examiners. And they hold a state-issued lawyer’s license.

Finally, if you actually want to win your case, the Brainerd defense attorney you choose should have at least a few years of experience fighting criminal charges. The more experience your attorney has, the better the outcome.

Communication Skills

The quality and frequency of interaction between you and your lawyer is crucial. It is imperative that you’re represented by a lawyer who is approachable and available to communicate timely and sound legal advice. One of the integral components of how to find a suitable criminal defense attorney is to find a good communicator.

Your criminal defense lawyer in Brainerd should be a good listener as well as speaker. They should understand your case facts and address your concerns in a way that’s easy for you to comprehend. This, in turn, will help you understand the regional law, your charges, the available plea options, the court process, and the potential legal roadblocks in your case.

Most of all, healthy communication can inspire trust and strengthen your equation with your lawyer, which is a must since you are required to confide in them.

Why Responsiveness of Your Lawyer Makes a Difference

When it comes to defending criminal charges, time is of the essence. Wasting time can cost you your case, which is why you need to contact a trustworthy criminal defense lawyer in Brainerd as soon as you know about your charges.

More importantly, your lawyer should be able to respond quickly and arrange a meeting with you within a day of you contacting them.

If the lawyer you are considering answers your calls or responds to your emails promptly, they will likely be equally enthusiastic in defending you.

Specialization and Experience in Criminal Law and Defense

The lawyer you choose should have specialized in criminal law. To ensure this, visit the prospective attorney’s website and look for Criminal Defense in their list of practice areas. If you don’t see it, they’re probably not the right lawyer for you.

Lawyers who don’t market themselves as criminal defense lawyers are most likely civil attorneys. These legal experts only handle civil cases for their clients, the majority of which are corporate companies.

You need a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer in Brainerd, who is actively involved in defending criminal cases. They should also have considerable courtroom experience. Only an experienced lawyer will be up-to-date on the various facets of this law, and know about the most effective and relevant defenses.

Furthermore, the best attorney for your case is a lawyer who has specific experience with the type of crime(s) you’re being charged with. For example, don’t hire a Brainerd drug crime lawyer to defend you against a wire fraud charge. You’ll have a better chance of reducing or even eliminating your charges with a specialized attorney.

At the same time, it’s a red flag if your Brainerd criminal defense lawyer of choice makes promises about certain outcomes. In Minnesota, a lawyer can be disbarred for making promises like this. After all, there’s never a guarantee in criminal cases since evidence and circumstances are always changing. Knowing about the claims lawyers cannot make is an important part of how to find a suitable criminal defense attorney in Brainerd, MN.

Transparency in MN Criminal Defense Lawyer Fees

Good lawyers are busy individuals, and the last thing they want to deal with is confusion in their fees/bills. In keeping with this, the lawyer you’re considering should have a simple and transparent fee structure, which should give you a clear idea of the total cost of your defense. Ask them what their services include, and gauge their answer to determine if they are capable of mounting a robust defense.

At the same time, never choose a Brainerd criminal defense attorney on the basis of price alone. The old adage “you get what you pay for” applies to lawyers, too. Often, an affordable lawyer has little to no experience or has a poor track record of winning cases. This is definitely not the direction you want to go if you want to learn how to find a suitable criminal defense attorney.

Criminal Defense Referrals in MN

It is always a good idea of ask your friends or family for referrals of a good criminal defense lawyer in Brainerd. If they do recommend a lawyer based on their own positive experience, you should make an appointment for a consultation.

After the first consultation, you may want to go a step ahead and do your own research about the lawyer on the internet. Check for testimonials and client feedback on online forums and social networks like Facebook, Yelp, and Google. You can also check with the state bar association to verify that the lawyer has a clean record.

Although one bad review should not deter you from working with your chosen lawyer, multiple poor reviews should serve as a warning to avoid that particular lawyer.

How Location Can Help Your Defense

As far as possible, try to hire an attorney with experience in the local courthouse. Criminal laws vary from state to state, and a law that’s applicable in one state may be invalid in another.

Additionally, local attorneys are familiar with courtroom procedures and personnel. They will also know the police officers and how they perform in court in front of the judge/jury. You can improve your chances of getting a positive case outcome by choosing an attorney who has experience in dealing with local authorities and legal processes.

Your Criminal Defense Support Team in Brainerd, MN

More often than not, a lawyer is as good as the team backing them. Any one on a criminal defense team can tell you that if you’re trying to learn how to find a suitable criminal defense attorney, look to the organization and reputation of their supporting team.

Preparing a case for presenting in court requires considerable effort and support from a capable legal team. Your criminal defense lawyer in Brainerd should have a team consisting of paralegals, administrative staff, and other criminal lawyers to provide them with the required backing.

This is crucial because even if you hire the best criminal defense attorney, and they become indisposed, you will have another skilled member of their team to confidently represent you. Hence, make sure the criminal defense lawyer in Brainerd you choose has a dependable team.

Do be aware of the bait and switch tactic some attorneys use. These lawyers will meet with you for the initial consultation. But, once you’ve signed the retainer agreement, they hand your file off to a more junior associate for the meat of the case.

Online Reviews of Criminal Defense Attorneys in Brainerd, MN

You browse the web for everything from what to have for dinner to the latest breaking news. Why should searching for Brainerd criminal defense attorneys be any different?

Any lawyer worth his or her stuff should have a website. Furthermore, that website should be updated, modern looking, and include the following information:

  • Client reviews
  • Cornerstone cases
  • Contact information
  • Significant accomplishments

Attorney websites aren’t the only thing to look at online, though. Also, pay attention to third-party reviews. Browsing Google and Yelp can provide more nuance. Yet online reviews should be taken with a grain of salt when you’re learning how to find a suitable criminal defense attorney in Brainerd, MN. Some reviewers may leave negative reviews that are less about the quality of work and more about some perceived ill treatment. Also, some positive reviews could be a marketing tactic and not from real people. Pay attention to the grammar of the reviews to see if the language feels natural or not.

Personal Preference in a MN Defense Lawyer

Even if your Brainerd criminal defense lawyer checks all of the above boxes, he or she may still not be right for you. If you don’t feel personally comfortable with your choice, then you’ve picked the wrong attorney.

As a legal client, you’re entitled to a partnership with your lawyer. Your lawyer should always treat you with respect and see you as a person, not just another case. You should always feel comfortable speaking openly with the Brainerd attorney you retain.

If you don’t understand something about your case, the best criminal lawyers will take the time to explain it to you. He or she will show a genuine concern for your personal situation and drive to help.

Additionally, never hire a lawyer who raises red flags or is dishonest with you. If you don’t trust your criminal defense attorney, odds are the judge and/or jury won’t either. How to find a suitable criminal defense attorney means knowing what not to tolerate from a criminal defense attorney in Brainerd, MN.

Aggressive Defense Attorneys in Brainerd, MN

When you’re charged with a criminal offense in Minnesota, you need an aggressive defense attorney if you want a good outcome. This is why you should always consider a private attorney over court-appointed lawyers, who will be looking for the quickest and easiest outcome possible.

However, note that an aggressive personality is different from an aggressive lawyering strategy. A criminal defender with aggressive tactics will fight tirelessly for your rights. These legal professionals tend to be the most sought-after lawyers because they have incredible success rates.

But a criminal defender with an aggressive personality may have the opposite problem. Aggressive lawyers can be off-putting to the judge and, if applicable, members of the jury. These legal professionals may also selfishly make pointless arguments, wasting your time and hard-earned money.

Questions to Ask Your Brainerd Criminal Defense Attorney

How to find a suitable criminal defense attorney in Brainerd can be made much easier by asking the right questions? Here are some critical questions to ask during your initial consultation:

  • Does attorney-client privilege apply to this meeting?
  • If I don’t retain your services, will attorney-client privilege still apply to this meeting?
  • Do you bill by the hour or use a flat fee?
  • Have you handled a similar case? If so, how many? What were the outcomes of those cases?
  • Do you have a specialization? If so, what is it?
  • In which ways do you plan stay in touch with me?
  • How often do you plan to get in touch with me?
  • Can I easily reach you if I have questions or concerns?

Make the Right Moves in Your Criminal Defense

Facing a criminal charge can be extremely stressful. You don’t want to make any wrong moves, which is why you should ensure to get the best help. Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer in Brainerd can prove to be a life-changing decision. Depending on your case facts, only a competent lawyer will be able to help you achieve positive outcomes. Make sure to gauge your options for the qualities mentioned above when making your final decision.

Reach Out to Our Competent Criminal Defense Lawyers in Brainerd

Learning how to find a suitable criminal defense attorney doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Knowing what qualities to look for, which not to, and the right questions will lead you to the right person.

 

Carlson & Jones, P.A. has enormous experience in and solid reputation for providing quality legal counsel and representation in criminal law matters. Our team of skilled criminal defense attorneys will fight tooth and nail to protect your rights and uphold your cause. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (855) 976-2444 or contact us through our online form.

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Buffalo Lawyers

215 East Highway 55, Suite 201
Buffalo, MN 55313

Toll Free: (877) 344-1555
Phone: (612) 800-8057
Fax: 763-682-3330

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Brainerd Lawyers

17025 Commercial Park Rd, Suite 2
Brainerd, MN 56401

Toll Free: (877) 344-1555
Phone: (218) 736-9429
Fax: 763-682-3330

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Hutchinson Lawyers

114 Main Street North
Hutchinson, MN 55350

Toll Free: (877) 344-1555
Phone: (320) 289-4761
Fax: 763-682-3330

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Minnetonka Lawyers

3911 Ridgedale Dr, Suite 404E
Minnetonka, MN 55305

Toll Free: (877) 344-1555
Phone: (952) 260-9640
Fax: 763-682-3330

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