What Is a Criminal Defense Attorney in Minnesota Going to Do for Me?

DPS’s most recent Uniform Crime Report detailed that Minnesota police made over 150,000 criminal arrests in 2019. If you’re asking what is a criminal defense attorney in Minnesota going to do for me, the answer could be a lot.

If you’ve been charged or convicted of a crime, you need a Minneapolis criminal defense attorney. An experienced lawyer can fight for the best outcome whether you’re accused of a drug crime, an assault, or some other criminal offense.

Why else should you hire a lawyer for your criminal case? We’re telling you everything you need to know about criminal defense attorneys in this guide, so keep reading.

Types of Criminal Defense Attorneys

When you’re charged with a crime, the best criminal lawyer will represent you throughout the phases of your trial. If you’re convicted, a lawyer can also help you get the charge off your record.

Anyone charged with a criminal offense in Minnesota is entitled to legal defense. But the type of defense attorney you work with depends on what you can afford. Here are the three types of criminal defenders you can work with.

Panel Lawyers

Panel lawyers are private attorneys offering representation to defendants who can’t afford private counsel. Courts appoint panel attorneys in states that don’t have a public defender system. Minnesota isn’t one of those states.

Public Defenders

In Minnesota, public defenders are court-appointed lawyers. Like panel attorneys, public defenders represent indigent criminal defendants.

Private Lawyers

Criminal defendants who can afford legal representation hire private defense attorneys. Private lawyers charge clients on a per-hour basis or by a fixed fee. Some lawyers make representation affordable by offering pro-bono representation or payment plans.

Many private attorneys start off as public defenders or prosecutors. That means they, too, have experience as court-appointed attorneys.

The benefit of hiring private attorneys is that they often have more experience because they’ve practiced for longer. Experienced lawyers leverage this experience to negotiate favorable plea deals. Plus, you can choose the private defender who’s best for your unique case.

Still, studies show that outcomes for criminal cases are similar for private lawyers and court-appointed public defendants.

Who Needs a Criminal Defense Attorney?

By now, you may be wondering: do I need a criminal defense lawyer? If a Minnesota court charged you with a crime, you need an attorney. You should also consider legal representation to get a conviction off your record.

Self-Representation in Minnesota Criminal Cases

In Minnesota, pro se representation is legal. That means you can represent yourself in a criminal case. However, we never advise self-representation for criminal defendants.

You have a lot to lose in a criminal defense case. Criminal charges in Minnesota can earn you between $1,000 and $3,000 in fines. Worse, you could end up serving at least 90 days in jail or up to a lifetime in prison.

A Minnesota court may not even accept self-representation if your charges are particularly severe. Your education level and language skills, legal knowledge of the proceedings, and the charge’s seriousness are other factors courts consider before allowing a defendant to represent himself or herself.

Types of Cases Defense Attorneys Handle

A criminal defense attorney doesn’t handle just any case. These legal experts have the experience and skills to defend criminal cases.

But what exactly counts as a criminal case in Minnesota? Here are seven of the most common criminal charges a lawyer can defend you against.


A DWI or DUI charge is one of the most common reasons for hiring a defense lawyer. After all, DUI convictions often come with consequences like forfeiting your license, paying fines, or even prison time. A lawyer can help you avoid the worst of these penalties.

DUI lawyers can also help you get a conviction off your record. This is important because some employers won’t hire applicants with a criminal record. And many car insurance companies force you to purchase a pricier policy because of your DUI.

Drug Crimes

The production, sale, possession, distribution, and trafficking of controlled substances are illegal in Minnesota.

Drug sale convictions can earn you a fine of $10,000 to up to $1 million and prison time of five to thirty years. Possession of drugs can get you up to 158 months in prison, depending on how much you have on you. And trafficking and transport charges can earn you even more significant penalties.

The good news is that a Minneapolis criminal defense attorney can negotiate down your charges, reducing potential penalties. Ensuring you don’t have a drug crime charge is critical, too — drug crime punishments get worse if you have prior convictions on your record.


Minnesota charges assault and battery as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

If the assault doesn’t result in injury, the court will likely treat the case as a misdemeanor. For example, Minnesota considers simple assault a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in the county jail and up to a $1000 fine.

Meanwhile, assault and battery cases involving weapons almost always incur felonies. And an assault felony can automatically earn you over a year in prison.

Hiring an assault lawyer will ensure you get the lowest penalty possible. The police may have already made a report, but your lawyer will gather facts to get the complete picture. The more evidence you have on your side, the greater your chances of lessening your fines and/or jail sentence.

Domestic Violence

There’s a difference between assault and domestic violence cases. Domestic violence charges apply to cases of stalking, abuse, rape, and kidnapping perpetrated by someone the victim is closely related to. This includes spouses, a parent and child, dating partners, or cohabitants.

In Minnesota, courts treat domestic violence charges extremely seriously. Violators could receive a felony charge even it’s a first-time offense. And if you’re charged with three domestic violence misdemeanors within 10 years, it’s almost automatically a felony.

Luckily, an experienced domestic violence lawyer can help. Prosecutors love to seek heftier penalties for domestic violence cases compared to regular assault. Your lawyer can get you the best possible outcome in this kind of situation.


Theft charges range from small robberies to grand larceny. Many first-time offense theft cases only incur misdemeanors. But penalties grow more serious the more theft charges on your record, when you use a weapon during the robbery, and as the total value of the stolen goods increases.

And theft cases don’t only incur criminal penalties (e.g., jail time and fines). They also lead to civil penalties. For example, many courts force defendants to compensate plaintiffs for the items stolen.

An attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor or the judge to reduce your charges. If it’s a minor, first-time offense, you could potentially get the case dismissed altogether. A defense attorney can also help you expunge prior theft convictions from your record.

Weapons Crimes

Possessing a firearm without a license is illegal in Minnesota. It’s also illegal to own and/or operate an unregistered firearm. And there are dozens of additional weapons-related laws you must adhere to or else risk a criminal charge.

Punishments for weapons crimes in Minnesota vary depending on the exact charge. As an example, merely possessing a firearm without a license could earn you a gross misdemeanor charge. And gross misdemeanors are punishable by up to $1000 fines and 90 days in jail.

Having a prior record can increase the punishment for weapons charges even further. Choosing the best criminal defense attorney in Minnesota can reduce your charges and wipe away prior convictions from your record.

Sex Crimes

The state of Minnesota classifies five levels of sex crimes. The most severe convictions can bring about up to 30 years in prison and a $40,000 fine. But repeat or particularly violent offenders are eligible for lifetime sentences in prison without the possibility of parole.

Sex crime convictions also mean you’ll have to register as a sex offender and notify your community about your sex offender status. Again, an experienced attorney is your best bet for avoiding these embarrassing consequences and getting the lowest conviction level possible.

The Benefits of Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Hiring a private defender isn’t cheap. But the benefits far outweigh the cost of criminal defense attorneys. We’ve already mentioned how a lawyer can reduce your fines and sentence times or get prior criminal convictions wiped off your record. What you may not know are all the other things an attorney can do for your criminal case.

Negotiate Deals

Attorneys are expert negotiators. They can help fight for lower bail amounts, reduced charges, and fewer days in jail.

Experienced defense lawyers can also negotiate plea deals, which are becoming increasingly common in criminal cases. At the same time, having an attorney who already knows the details of your charge would be an invaluable asset should your case go to trial.

Offer Advice

Attorneys have the skills to understand the prosecutor’s case and know the evidence against you. This means you’ll have a clearer picture of the potential sentencing options and what outcome you can most likely expect.

Your lawyer can further advise you about plea deals and their consequences. If there’s no way out of a conviction, a legal expert can also help you understand how it will impact your criminal record.

Provide Support

The legal system is complicated, time-consuming, and challenging to navigate. And the odds are even more stacked against you when you receive a criminal charge. That’s why you need a legal expert to fight for your rights.

A criminal defense lawyer knows all the stages you’ll have to go through and can give you a reality check about what to expect.

Call the Best Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney

A Minneapolis criminal defense attorney works with people like you who’ve been charged or convicted of crimes. Your attorney can help negotiate a deal to prevent your case from going to trial, offer you advice about which deals to take, and so much more.

Were you charged with or convicted of a criminal offense in Minnesota and need legal representation? Call Carlson and Jones today to schedule a consultation with our expert criminal lawyer.


How Your Jail Release in Minnesota Helps and Impacts Your Case

After more than fifty years, it appears that public support for America’s war on drugs is faltering. A growing number of Wright County jurors see illicit drugs as a health and safety issue, as opposed to a criminal law issue. So, outcomes for a Buffalo MN drug crime lawyer in these cases are changing, particularly in simple possession matters.

Court and Government Response to Drug Crimes in the U.S.

Nevertheless, prosecutors are still very aggressive in this area, especially regarding possession cases. In the 1980s, when the War on Drugs was just heating up, drug arrests were evenly split between possession and distribution matters. Today, simple possession cases make up over 80 percent of all drug arrests. 

Apropos of nothing, the law enforcement climate changed in the early 80s mostly because of Len Bias’ death. According to many, this basketball phenom was as good as Michael Jordan, or maybe better. If you see this kid’s highlight reel, it’s hard to disagree with either assertion. A few hours after the Boston Celtics chose Bias in the first round, he did a line of cocaine at a party, laid down, and died. 

In response, Congress passed a number of laws which, in retrospect, were overly strict. These laws included the controversial mandatory minimum sentencing requirement. A trace amount of cocaine meant a long prison sentence, regardless of the facts. Several decades later, President Barack Obama issued over 1,700 pardons, most of them for harsh drug crime sentences from the late 20th century.

The aforementioned environmental changes (public health v. public safety) give Buffalo, MN drug crime lawyers an even better opportunity to successfully resolve drug possession cases in Wright County. While every matter is different, most follow the same general outline.

Get Out of Jail (Almost) Free in Buffalo MN

A new day is also dawning in terms of jail release, which is always the first priority in a criminal case. The changed political and social climate is a good sign, but pretrial detention creates multiple serious problems for Buffalo, MN drug crime lawyers and their clients. 

Economic Impact of Drug Charges in Buffalo MN

Even a few days behind bars could have an unbelievable economic impact on a Minnesota family. Most people lose their jobs and/or businesses in these situations. Without any way to provide for their families, these individuals often become increasingly desperate. 

The strain on emotional relationships could be even worse than the strain on professional relationships. 

Emotion Impact of Drug Charges in Buffalo MN

Furthermore, incarceration can cause brain injury, which is colloquially known as the “jailhouse blues.” Incarceration triggers the fight-or-flight instinct. People who are behind bars have neither option. So, their stress hormone levels go through the roof. Continued exposure to such hormones alters brain chemistry. Many people know someone who was not the same person when s/he got out of jail as s/he was before. That’s because, from a brain biology standpoint, the person is different.

Perhaps most importantly, many jurors assume if the defendant is in jail, the defendant must have done something wrong. At that point, the drug possession case becomes a criminal law violation which merits punishment, as far as the jury is concerned. In other words, especially in these cases, pretrial detention transforms the presumption of innocence into a presumption of guilt.

Release on Your Own Recognizance in Buffalo MN

OR (Own Recognizance) release is often an option in nonviolent cases, such as drug possession. Essentially, the defendant promises to appear at trial, and the sheriff releases the defendant. This form of pretrial release has gained significant traction in recent years, as critics have harped on the cash bail system. These critics note that most inmates in county jails are unsentenced. They are simply waiting for trial because they cannot afford bail.

That commonly-cited statistic might be misleading. Many of the incarcerated people have already made bail and are just waiting on their paperwork to clear. Indeed, a number of these individuals probably voluntarily surrendered and are booking in and booking out. They might never make it past the waiting room. Furthermore, a pure OR release program gives judges no discretion in this area. Semi-violent offenders, like stalkers, are right back out on the street, regardless of the facts.

So, complete bail reform, which several states have tried, is pretty much a bust. In New York, the pure OR system lasted less than a year.

Nevertheless, OR is a good option in many cases. The procedure varies slightly in different jurisdictions. Generally, a review board considers the charged offense and the defendant’s criminal record, then gives a thumbs up or thumbs down.

Although there is no formal hearing, a Buffalo, MN drug crime lawyer can usually advocate for defendants before review boards, at least informally. This advocacy could be the difference between OR release and a money-based release option.

Traditional Jail Release Options

Cash bail, or a bail bond, is still available in Wright County. Typically, and forgive us if we sound like a broken record, the sheriff sets a presumptive bail amount based on the defendant’s criminal history, if any, and the severity of the offense. The presumptive amount is usually around $700 for most misdemeanors and $1,500 for most felonies. The exact amount varies significantly, mostly according to the facts of the case.

Bail Per Charge in Buffalo MN

Also, bail is usually per charge as opposed to per arrest. So, if Dexter faces three felony charges, his bail will probably be a minimum of $4,500. Due to the facts of the case, it will probably be a lot higher than that. Indeed, the sheriff might not even set a presumptive amount in such cases. More on that below.

Cash Bail in Buffalo MN

Financially, cash bail is like a rental property security deposit. If the defendant fulfills all bail conditions, the county refunds most of the cash bail money. In addition to appearing at trial, some other common pretrial release conditions include reporting to a bail bond agent, remaining in the county, and avoiding any further legal trouble.

The cash bail system has been around for thousands of years. Most people value their money above all else. The prospect of losing it is usually sufficient to convince people to toe the line, at least temporarily. The obvious problem with this system is that, for many people, $4,500 might as well be $45 million.

Bail “Bond” in Buffalo MN

So, a bail bond is usually available. Essentially, a bond is an insurance policy. If your car is damaged, your auto insurance company assumes the financial risk. Similarly, if a defendant fails to meet all bond conditions and the judge revokes it, the bail bond company assumes the financial risk. Most bail bonds companies charge about a 15 percent premium to issue these insurance policies.

Bail Revocation in Buffalo MN

Speaking of bail revocation, if the judge revokes your bond, a Buffalo, MN drug crime lawyer can help you turn yourself in, as outlined above. Usually, a lawyer has all the ducks in a row, including a new bond. This alternative is much better than having a warrant pop up during a random traffic stop.

In serious cases, such as drug trafficking or felony drug possession cases, cash bail or a bail bond might not be an immediate option. Either the sheriff doesn’t set an amount or the amount is so high that the defendant cannot possibly pay it. A Buffalo, MN drug crime lawyer can set or reduce bail at the arraignment, which usually happens about three days after the arrest.

Initial determinations are usually limited to criminal record and nature of the offense. At the arraignment, the judge considers a number of other factors, such as the defendant’s:

  • Links to the community,
  • Ability to skip bail,
  • Threat to individual witnesses or victims,
  • Ability to pay, and
  • Willingness to abide by conditions.

Attorneys usually settle these matters out of court. For example, the prosecutor might agree to reduce the bail amount if the defendant agrees to electronic monitoring.

Procedural Defenses for Drug Crimes in Buffalo MN

Jail release gives a defense attorney a head start. Pretrial release does more than eliminate the presumption of guilt. Release also allows defendants and Buffalo, MN drug crime lawyers to work together as partners. However, there is still a long race to run.

To seal the deal, the case must usually involve a legal defense. A defense gives the jury the legal opportunity to acquit a defendant. So, the better the defense, the riskier trial becomes. That risk increases a Wright County prosecutor’s willingness to deal.

What the 4th Amendment Means

Many drug possession cases involve a procedural defense. Under the Fourth Amendment, officers either need a search warrant or probable cause before they can seize evidence of a crime, including contraband substances. If a Buffalo, MN drug crime lawyer excludes the evidence, the state’s case normally collapses like a house of cards. An officer’s testimony that the defendant had drugs is insufficient.

Search Warrants in Buffalo MN

Most drug trafficking cases involve search warrants. Typically, several agencies work together on these arrests, which culminate with a search warrant. Frequently, officers depend, at least in large part, on a confidential informant’s testimony. CIs receive money or leniency in exchange for such testimony. Therefore, a Buffalo, MN drug crime lawyer can often successfully challenge drug trafficking search warrants. Many people will say nearly anything for love or money.

Probable Cause Exception

But most drug possession cases don’t involve search warrants. Events happen too quickly. Therefore, the prosecutor must rely on the probable cause exception. Over the years, courts have created a few specific doctrines, such as:

  • Consent: Owners may allow officers to search their property, such as a house or a wallet. Consent is an affirmative, voluntary act. There’s a big difference between assent and consent. Furthermore, if officers threatened to get a warrant if the defendant didn’t agree to the search, that consent is arguably involuntary.
  • Plain View: This exception frequently comes up in vehicle possession cases. If officers see contraband in plain view, like a bottle of prescription painkillers, they may seize it without a warrant. This right is only available if the officer was lawfully in that place at that time. So, reasonable suspicion for the stop, or lack thereof, could be an issue.
  • Stop and Frisk: The reasonable suspicion rule also applies in these stops. Reasonable suspicion means specific, articulable facts which point to criminal activity. In this case, that criminal activity must be illegal weapon possession. During this pat-down, officers can seize any other contraband they see, or rather feel, in plain view, or rather plain touch.

Other Constitutional rights sometimes come into play. Cell phones are a good example. The Supreme Court has ruled that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in all content past the home screen. If officers want to read your text messages or take other such actions, they must either get a warrant or obtain owner consent.

Stingray Devices in Buffalo MN

Incidentally, some Minnesota law enforcement agencies have Stingray devices. These sophisticated gadgets, which are also known as IMSI catchers or cell site simulators, send false signals which trick cell phones into connecting with a fake tower, allowing police to track the owner’s movements. Some Stingrays can read your text messages, call records, Internet search history, and even tap into your phone calls.

Needless to say, these devices are quite controversial, so law enforcement agencies keep their mouths shut about the specifics of the gadgets they own.

Substantive Drug Possession Defenses

The legal definition of possession offers a defense in many cases. Proximity to the drugs, by itself, is not enough. The state must also prove the following elements:

  • Control: Theoretical possession is not enough. Prosecutors must establish that the defendant exercised control over the drugs. The drugs must not have been in a locked container, like a glove compartment, and must not have been in someone else’s possession, such as a joint passed around at a party.
  • Knowledge: This element must be more than theoretical as well. A defendant must know more than “something illegal” is in a bag. As a matter of fact, the defendant can literally be sitting on a stash of drugs, and not possess the stash for legal purposes.

At trial, the prosecutor must establish all elements of possession, and all the other elements of the offense, beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s the highest standard of proof in Minnesota law.

What is Deferred Disposition in Buffalo MN?

Normally, a Buffalo, MN drug crime lawyer files a pretrial motion in disputed possession matters. If the judge rules favorably, the judge will throw the prosecution out of court.

If the defense is strong enough, many prosecutors offer good deals before that hearing. They do not want to risk losing everything because of an adverse judicial ruling. Deferred disposition is usually available in drug possession cases.

Prosecutorial deferred disposition is like pretrial diversion. If the defendant successfully completes program requirements, the prosecutor dismisses the case. Judicial deferred disposition is like probation. If the defendant successfully completes probation, the judge dismisses the case.

Both these outcomes have significant advantages, but there are significant risks as well. So, before you accept one, review the situation thoroughly with an experienced Buffalo, MN drug crime lawyer.

Connect with a Buffalo MN Drug Crime Lawyer

Most drug possession cases have a relatively happy ending. For a free consultation with an experienced Buffalo, MN drug crime lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. Convenient payment plans are available.



This original article was published July 17, 2019 and updated June 3, 2021.

What Kind of DWI Defense Will a Lawyer Provide in Hutchinson?

In criminal court, McLeod County prosecutors must establish every element beyond a reasonable doubt for DWI defense. Under Minnesota law, a “reasonable doubt” is anything beyond “a fanciful or capricious doubt.” For example, the defendant’s doppelganger might have committed a crime, but that argument is capricious and fanciful. Instead, the doubt must be based on “reason and common sense.”

The “reason and common sense” line, which many states use, does little to adequately explain this rather difficult concept. Indeed, one court remarked that this description is like saying a white horse is a horse than is white.

In many ways, the debate over the precise meaning of this phrase is beside the point. The bottom line is that a Hutchinson DWI lawyer need not “prove” anything. Creating a reasonable doubt is enough. If even one juror has such a doubt, the defendant is not guilty as a matter of law. Furthermore, if the state’s evidence is weak, many prosecutors are willing to reduce charges to something like reckless driving. This offense is also a misdemeanor, but it does not have the same collateral consequences as DWI.

Possible Penalties of DWI in Hutchinson MN

Before we look at some types of DWI defense, let’s examine what is at stake in a DWI prosecution. Precise penalties vary, mostly depending on the defendant’s criminal record and the facts of the case. But the Big Three are always court supervision, aggravated circumstances, and driving privileges.

Typically, court supervision does not mean incarceration, unless the defendant has two or more prior DWIs. Court supervision, or probation, usually lasts around a year. During this time, defendants must comply with numerous conditions. The biggest ones are usually:

  • Reporting Regularly: Generally, probationers must personally report to probation officers at least once a month. These appointments are not like doctors’ appointments. Defendants cannot decide when to meet their probation officers and they cannot cancel if their kids get sick.
  • Avoiding Additional Legal Problems: Violation of this condition prompts most of the motions to revoke probation that Hutchinson DWI lawyers deal with. Anything more serious than a speeding ticket could mean jail time. 
  • Obeying Court Orders: Probation usually involves paying a fine, performing community service, and jumping through other hoops. Usually, only a steadfast and stubborn refusal to comply triggers a motion to revoke probation.

If the judge finds that the allegations in the motion to revoke probation are true, one of several things could happen. The judge could cancel probation and send the defendant to jail. More than likely, however, a motion to revoke usually means a longer period of probation or a few days in jail as a condition of reinstatement.

Aggravating circumstances in a DWI include prior drunk driving convictions, open container of alcohol in the passenger area, a child passenger under 16, and a collision. McLeod County prosecutors are notoriously aggressive in this area. If there is a hint that aggravated DWI charges might hold up in court, prosecutors usually tack on additional charges.

Refusal to provide a chemical sample is another example of an aggravating circumstance. You have the right to refuse to provide a sample, but this right is not free. The refusal is admissible in court. Most jurors assume people refuse because they have something to hide. A good Hutchinson DWI lawyer can blunt that presumption. For example, some people refuse because they are nervous or don’t trust government tests.

Refusal also impacts driving privileges. DWI usually means drivers’ license suspension, or at least drivers’ license limitation. The possibilities in this area are more severe in refusal cases.

The Venue Defense in Hutchinson DWI Cases

In the movies and TV shows, fleeing suspects often say something like “If we cross the state line, the police cannot touch us.” That’s not entirely true, but it is partially accurate, because of the venue rule.

Venue is Legalese for the jurisdiction where the state brings criminal charges. McLeod County prosecutors only have authority over crimes which occur in McLeod County. The boundary lines are not always easy to determine. For example, Cedar Mills is partially in Meeker County and partially in McLeod County. 

Things get really confusing when officers spot DWI suspects in one county and pull them over in another county. Technically, the state could bring charges in either county. But there are territoriality issues. To return to the previous example, the Meeker County Sheriff’s office usually does not want to send its deputies all the way to Hutchinson to testify in someone else’s criminal case.

Venue mistakes often give attorneys the leverage they need to successfully mount a DWI defense. If bureaucrats file charges in the wrong county, the judge must dismiss the case. Prosecutors can refile the charges in another county, but many times, they will agree to a favorable plea bargain rather than go to all that trouble. Furthermore, the delay benefits a Hutchinson DWI lawyer. Over time, memories fade and physical evidence disappears.

Lack of Reasonable Suspicion for the DWI Stop

Venue is a procedural DWI defense, as is lack of reasonable suspicion and lack of probable cause for the arrest. Prosecutors can work around the venue defense, if they are so inclined, but they cannot work around the next two procedural defenses. Lawyers cannot turn back the clock and erase police officer mistakes in these areas.

In 2020 and 2021, there were some high-profile police stops in Minnesota which involved little evidence of wrongdoing. Some people even claimed these stops were pretext detentions. They contend that officers essentially detained these individuals because they didn’t look right.

Legally, such stops almost always hold up in court. Officers only need reasonable suspicion, which is essentially an evidence-based hunch. Furthermore, the stop’s purpose is illegal. Usually, when officers pull over DWI suspects, they care almost nothing about the expired sticker or other infraction which prompted the stop. But the stop is still legal.

Because of this low standard of evidence, it’s very difficult for a Hutchinson DWI lawyer to invalidate a stop. Probable cause for the arrest, however, is a different story.

Preliminary Evidence of Impairment in Hutchinson

Technically, this intermediate step is not a procedural DWI defense. Officers do not need evidence of impairment to go to the next step. Such evidence usually includes:

  • An unwise answer to the dreaded “Have you been drinking” question, or
  • Physical symptoms, such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, slow reflexes, or unsteady balance.

However, this step is important for many jurors. If an officer pulls over a defendant and immediately assumes s/he is probably drunk, some jurors smell something fishy. That’s especially true if the officer had staked out a bar or was actively looking for DWIs as part of a concerted enforcement effort.

Once upon a time, efforts to erode police officer credibility in this way rarely worked and usually backfired. Most people highly esteemed police officers. Cops got free pancakes at Denny’s. Now, officers pay for their own pancakes. So, more jurors are willing to consider an argument that the officer railroaded the defendant. Public confidence in law enforcement officers recently hit an all-time low.

Probable Cause for the Arrest

This area is mandatory. Police must have probable cause to arrest suspects. In most cases, “probable cause” is an even more vague standard than beyond a reasonable doubt. But in the DWI context, the law is more certain.

Officers usually have probable cause to arrest suspects if they perform poorly on the field sobriety tests. In Minnesota, there are four such tests:

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: For the DWI eye test, suspects must track moving objects with their eyes without moving their heads. This test reliably reveals nystagmus, a condition also known as lazy eye. The problem is that intoxication is not the only cause of nystagmus. In fact, it’s not even the leading cause of it.
  • Walk and Turn: Suspects must walk a straight line heel to toe forwards and backwards. This test is very difficult to successfully perform if the suspect is wearing anything other than athletic shoes. Furthermore, it’s much harder to walk an imaginary line than an actual line.
  • One-Leg Stand: People with any mobility impairment whatsoever usually cannot possibly stand on one foot for fifteen or twenty seconds. Additionally, officers usually have suspects perform this test near the end, when they are physically and mentally fatigued.
  • Portable Breathalyzer: This gadget’s specific flaws, or at least some of them, are discussed below. For now, we’ll just say that the portable Breathalyzers police officers carry are even more inaccurate than the bigger ones at the police station.

Officers always swear that the defendant “failed” these tests, even if the failure was a technicality, like taking too many heel-to-toe steps. Since the standard of evidence is so low, most McLeod County judges take officers at their word. The field sobriety test flaws are more important at trial. Jurors decide for themselves, based on the evidence and not based on a police officer’s opinion, whether defendants passed or failed the tests.

However, sometimes this evidence is unavailable. People sometimes assert their Fifth Amendment rights and refuse to perform these tests. Other times, hurried officers skip right to the good part and immediately cuff the defendant.

In these situations, prosecutors must rely on the reasonable suspicion evidence, such as bloodshot eyes, mentioned above. This evidence usually proves consumption. But it does little or nothing to prove intoxication.

Non-Intoxication DWI Defense in Hutchinson, MN

Not all cases involve procedural defenses, but many do. So, a Hutchinson DWI lawyer must pay close attention to the details. This same diligence is necessary with regard to non-intoxication defenses. Frequently, intoxication is the only issue in a DWI trial, but this offense has other elements as well. Prosecutors must prove all elements of the offense, and not just one of them, beyond a reasonable doubt. Some possible non-intoxication DWI defenses include:

  • Public Place: It is not illegal to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated if the vehicle was on private property at the time. Shopping mall parking lots are not public places, even if they have street names and traffic control signals. The space in front of a private dwelling, like the curb next to a driveway, is in a grey area.
  • “Wheeling” the Defendant: This defense often comes up in DWI-collision cases. Generally, when officers arrive on the scene, the defendant has exited the vehicle. Therefore, officers cannot testify that the defendant was driving. To prove this point, prosecutors must call another witness. Such a witness may or may not be available.
  • Operating the Vehicle: On a related note, the defendant must have been operating the vehicle at the time. Legally, a person sitting in a motionless car is usually operating the vehicle, even if the person is asleep or unconscious. That’s assuming the vehicle was driveable at the time.

How does reasonable doubt work in these defenses? Public place arguments are usually all or nothing. But the other two are more subjective. If a vehicle had more than one occupant, it’s very difficult to conclusively prove who was driving the car. Or, if a prosecutor fails to prove the car had gas and was in good working order, the state has arguably not established the “operating” element.

Intoxication Defenses in Hutchinson, MN

Even if these two areas are not issues in a DWI case, intoxication, or lack thereof, is usually a question. Scientifically, alcohol blood tests are much more accurate than breath tests. But in 2016’s Birchfield v. North Dakota, the Supreme Court ruled that officers needed search warrants to perform blood draws. So, officers normally rely on flawed Breathalyzer tests. Some specific issues include:

  • Ketone Levels: Diabetics, smokers, and some other people have elevated ketone levels in their bodies. These particles basically transform sugar into energy. Breathalyzers register ketone particles as ethanol. So, the BAC estimate might be artificially high. In borderline cases, like a .08 or .09, jurors could easily have a reasonable doubt as to the result’s accuracy.
  • Mouth Alcohol: If the defendant burped or vomited prior to the test, ethanol particles from the stomach flood the mouth and skew the test result. Many officers do not watch defendants prior to the test, so there’s no way of knowing if mouth alcohol contributed to the result.
  • Recent Consumption: On a similar note, alcohol does not pass from the stomach to the blood. Instead, it goes from the stomach to the liver and then to the blood. So, if the defendant had anything to drink in the preceding hour, that alcohol has not yet entered the bloodstream.

To drive home these flaws with the jury, many Hutchinson DWI lawyers point out that the modern Breathalyzer is essentially the same gadget as the 1920s Drunk-O-Meter.

Connect with an Experienced Hutchinson DWI Lawyer

Attention to detail is often the key to creating reasonable doubt. For a free consultation with an experienced Hutchinson DWI lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. Home and jail visits are available.



This article was originally published on Feb 21, 2020 and updated on June 01, 2021.

How Much Does a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost in Buffalo, MN?

Have you noticed that when you need something, the price usually goes up? When COVID-19 hit, face mask prices increased 500 percent in some areas. That’s the basic law of supply and demand. When demand goes up, so does the price. Many people assume this law applies to criminal defense attorneys, but they are bound by legal ethics. If you’re wondering how much does a criminal defense lawyer cost, the answer depends on your charges and your income.

Why Criminal Defense Lawyers Must Set Fixed Feed for Certain Services

Fortunately, that’s not the way it works in this area. Legal ethics require attorneys to set fixed fees for certain services. Experience level is usually the biggest factor. So, as an attorney gains experience over the years, the attorney can charge more money. There are some other factors as well, which are outlined below. Admittedly, some of these factors are rather subjective. But one thing is for sure. Lawyers cannot double or triple their fees because you had a brush with the law.

Nevertheless, retaining the services of a good Buffalo criminal lawyer is a significant investment. Before you transmit your credit card information, there are a number of things to consider. Always remember that you have choices in this area. Your criminal case is a very serious matter, but it is not a matter of imminent life and death. People usually have a few days to make a decision.

Free Lawyers in Buffalo, MN

In a significant number of cases, the cost of a Minnesota criminal defense lawyer is nothing, or at least practically nothing. The Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to counsel in criminal cases. Therefore, Wright County provides attorneys to defendants who qualify for such assistance. Exact procedure varies in different counties, and in different courts in the same county. However, the free lawyer choices are always the same: a public defender or a court-appointed lawyer.

The Public Defender’s Office

The public defender’s office usually assigns one lawyer to a misdemeanor court and two to a felony court. Reinforcements are usually available, especially in a serious felony case, like a complex sex crime prosecution. 

Essentially, the public defender’s office is like a private criminal defense law firm. Since the county pays all the firm’s expenses, the clients pay nothing. Frequently, public defenders are underfunded. The Wright County Commissioners are not made of money, and there is only so much funding to go around. Making matters worse, public defenders are usually at the end of the bread line. Voters usually don’t mind paying money for roads, schools, and other things that benefit many people. Paying for someone’s Buffalo, MN criminal defense lawyer is not a major item on voter wish lists.

As a result, there is some truth to the image of the overworked public defender. According to an American Bar Association study, some public defenders juggled up to 400 cases at once. That’s a bit deceptive, mostly because most criminal cases settle out of court, and settle rather quickly. More on that below. Nevertheless, there is some cause for concern.

Private Attorneys for Those Who Cannot Afford a Lawyer

To bypass this issue, many Wright County judges appoint private attorneys for people who cannot afford lawyers. Sometimes, judges screen the attorneys they appoint. That’s especially true in the aforementioned serious felony cases. Indeed, in a capital case, the state imposes additional requirements. But in many misdemeanors, judges appoint any attorney who can find the courthouse door.

Not everyone qualifies for a court-appointed attorney or a public defender. These qualifications vary in different courts. Some judges simply ask defendants if they can afford legal representation. Others require defendants to submit financial affidavits.

What Is the Incarceration Presumption?

There is also an incarceration presumption. Most judges connect bail money with the money to hire a lawyer. They assume that if the defendant cannot afford bail, the defendant cannot afford an attorney either. That’s usually accurate. However, just because a defendant can scrape up bail money, that doesn’t mean s/he can afford an attorney. Furthermore, if the defendant obtained free pretrial release, the incarceration presumption should still apply. But it usually doesn’t, at least in the minds of many judges.

A Court-Appointed Lawyer Is Permanent

Defendants who go with a free lawyer get what they get and they can’t throw a fit. Once a judge assigns a court-appointed lawyer, that assignment is permanent, unless the defendant hires a private Buffalo, MN criminal defense lawyer. Similarly, if a defendant goes to the public defender’s office, the chief public defender has the exclusive right to assign lawyers to individual cases.

Your Right to Counsel of Your Own Choosing

On a related note, the Supreme Court recently ruled that the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel means defendants have the right to counsel of their own choosing. This issue occasionally comes up in some drug crime matters. Prosecutors cannot seize so much cash during a raid that the defendant cannot afford to hire the lawyer s/he wants to hire.

Representing Yourself in Buffalo, MN

Incidentally, you can represent yourself in a court case, including a criminal case. If you’re asking how much does a criminal defense lawyer cost because you don’t think you can afford it, explore your options before making a decision. As a rule of thumb, if the criminal case includes possible jail time, self-representation is one of the biggest mistakes a person can make.

How Do Attorneys Determine Legal Fees?

This question is really two questions. First, as mentioned, attorneys must use certain factors to determine their fees. Second, different attorneys use different fee structures.

Years of experience is usually the biggest factor which determines legal fees. Inexperienced lawyers cannot charge as much as experienced Buffalo, MN criminal lawyers. That doesn’t mean a less experienced lawyer is not as good. It just means these attorneys cannot charge as much. Other factors include:

  • Geographic Area: Attorneys in big cities like Minneapolis usually charge more than attorneys in smaller communities like Buffalo. Rent, payroll, and other expenses are higher in big cities.
  • Client’s Ability to Pay: Attorneys can reduce their fees if the client cannot pay full price. That’s especially true if the client is from a historically underserved or neglected ethnic or socioeconomic group.
  • Complexity of the Matter: Some criminal cases are relatively straightforward and others are not. DUI is a good example. If the defendant submitted a blood sample, the case is pretty black and white. But if the defendant refused to provide any chemical sample, the case is much more complex. The state must rely on shaky circumstantial evidence in these matters. Furthermore, most Buffalo criminal lawyers also charge more for felonies than misdemeanors. Felonies are more complex, and there is more at stake.
  • Amount of Time Involved: Attorneys usually charge less for a criminal plea than a criminal trial, simply because there is not as much time involved. Many criminal attorneys charge stairstep fees, such as X for a negotiated settlement, X+Y for a bench trial, and X+Y+Z for a jury trial. 

Now, let’s talk about fee structure. As mentioned, many criminal defense lawyers charge flat fees. For example, Pam might charge $1,000 for a felony plea, no matter how much time she puts into the case. Other lawyers charge hourly fees. Hourly billing is a bit more common in civil cases.

The law prohibits criminal defense attorneys from charging contingent fees. Therefore, defendants usually have to pay at least some money upfront.

How Do I Know I’m Getting a Good Value for the Cost of a Buffalo Lawyer?

If you face criminal charges in Wright County, when it comes to legal representation, you have almost a dizzying array of choices. 

At first blush, pretty much all Buffalo, MN criminal lawyers seem alike. They all went to law school and all passed the bar exam. But upon closer inspection, there are some important differences.

The Experience of Your Buffalo, MN Lawyer Is Invaluable

As mentioned, years of experience is probably the single most important factor in this entire process. Experience is the best teacher. Furthermore, there are a number of techniques that law students do not learn in class. Finally, each county and court has its own written and unwritten procedural rules. You do not know them all unless you have handled cases in that jurisdiction.

Years of experience could be deceptive. As recently as 1990, non-jury or jury trials resolved about a fifth of the criminal cases in Minnesota. Today, that proportion is less than 5 percent. Therefore, many Buffalo, MN criminal lawyers practice for years, or even decades, and only handle a few criminal trials. 

We all fall into ruts if we are not careful. Sometimes, these attorneys fall into a rut of always, or at least usually, taking the state’s first offer. Prosecutors usually don’t make favorable offers to these lawyers. 

So, be sure and ask about the attorney’s trial experience. For example, ask the attorney about his/her most complicated or memorable trial. Lawyers love telling war stories. If the attorney has to think about this answer because s/he has such limited trial experience, that’s a bad sign.

Accessibility from Your Buffalo Criminal Defense Lawyer

The lawyer’s accessibility, or lack thereof, could be another bad sign. It could also be a very good sign.

Legally, as mentioned above, attorneys cannot assess fees based on supply and demand. So, many lawyers use volume to earn more money. Attorneys are rarely as overworked ast the unfortunate public defenders discussed above. But sometimes, they take more cases than they should.

Commonly, overworked attorneys cannot commit the amount of time they should to an individual case. So, they might miss an important detail. Furthermore, many overworked lawyers assign legal work to less-experienced associates or non-lawyer paralegals. That’s not the caliber of defense the client is paying for. 

It’s probably also best to avoid overly-accessible lawyers. If you want to try a new restaurant and there are no customers in the parking lot, that’s usually a bad sign. By the same token, if an attorney has few clients, there’s usually a reason.

Goldilocks looked long and hard to find a bowl of porridge, chair, and bed that was just right. Criminal defendants should also look for a “just right” lawyer in terms of accessibility. However, don’t look too long. The sooner you partner with a Buffalo, MN criminal lawyer, the sooner the case will be over.

Dedication from a Lawyer that Lives in Buffalo

Many people have family lawyers, especially in smaller communities like Buffalo. The same attorney handles your divorce, prepares your will, settles your car crash claim, and so on. There’s a level of trust in these relationships that’s usually unavailable elsewhere. Trust is important in a criminal defense situation. But a criminal conviction, even for a misdemeanor, could easily ruin your life. So, you need someone who is dedicated to criminal law.

The late Grant Cooper, who represented Robert Kennedy’s assassin in 1969, is a good example. When Cooper agreed to represent Sirhan Sirhan, Cooper was a highly experienced lawyer. But Cooper wasn’t really a criminal defense lawyer. He handled a wide array of cases. For example, former child star Shirey Temple hired Grant Cooper to handle her divorce from B-movie actor John Agar. 

As a result, Cooper might have missed some weaknesses in the state’s evidence. Maybe that’s why Sirhan remains in a California prison to this day.

Incidentally, one of the latest Kennedy conspiracy theories is that Cooper intentionally threw the Sirhan case so the Los Angeles County District Attorney wouldn’t indict him on some unrelated gambling charges. But that’s just speculation.

Consult with a Knowledgeable Criminal Defense Lawyer in Buffalo, MN

Even if you’re asking how much does a criminal defense lawyer cost, you do not want just any lawyer. You want a dedicated Buffalo, MN criminal lawyer to handle your case. Your family lawyer will understand your decision. Besides, you can still invite him/her to your next dinner party.

The cost of a criminal defense lawyer in Buffalo, MN varies in different situations. For a free consultation with an experienced Buffalo, MN criminal lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. Convenient payment plans are available.

Why Is It Important to Hire Criminal Defense Lawyers in Buffalo?

Facing criminal charges can be stressful. Failure in effectively defending criminal allegations isn’t just financially demanding, but may also hurt your reputation.

If you are facing criminal charges in Buffalo, Minnesota, the best thing to do is contact local criminal defense lawyers in Buffalo. This is because even if you’re aware of the basic criminal laws, it may not be enough. You need to have in-depth knowledge of all the applicable laws and statutes if you want to clear your name of the charges.

Whether you’re working with a criminal defense lawyer or a divorce attorney in Buffalo, you should focus on exploring all options, depending on your case. Your attorney will help you understand more about how your rights can be protected.

Experienced criminal defense lawyers in Buffalo are well-versed in navigating the judicial system and the various processes involved in criminal cases. They can, therefore, represent you in the best possible manner and work towards upholding your interests.

Here are a few reasons you should hire criminal defense lawyers in Buffalo.

1. In-Depth Understanding of the Judicial System

Comprehending the legal system can be confusing for the layman. Moreover, every state has its own laws. An experienced criminal defense attorney will help you understand the various nuances of Minnesota criminal law.

For example, according to Buffalo statute of limitations, there is no time limit on prosecuting a criminal case. However, lesser felonies have a five-year statute of limitation, while it is two years for most misdemeanors.

Your criminal defense lawyer will be informed about the workings of the Buffalo court system. They will guide you through the proceedings based on the facts involved in your case.

2. Association with Judges and Prosecutors

An important aspect of fighting criminal charges is to know about the kind of defenses that the court judge usually gets behind. Seasoned criminal defense lawyers in Buffalo will have a good rapport with the judges and prosecutors in the local court. They will be aware of the arguments that work best with them.

Furthermore, your criminal defense attorney will also know about the legal preferences of the judges and/or jury. This knowledge helps them plan and build a smart strategy, and decide on whether to go for a plea bargain or proceed for trial in court.

3. Experience in Similar Cases

Generally, attorneys clear law school and the state bar before they begin to practice. However, many competent lawyers go on to specialize in a certain field of law, which enables them to gain mastery over it. Hence, if you’re dealing with criminal charges, you should seek assistance from a lawyer specialized in criminal law.

This can be highly beneficial as they may have already dealt with cases like yours. Their experience will help them know what works and predict the proceedings of your case. They will then offer effective legal counsel accordingly.

In simple words, criminal defense lawyers in Buffalo will know about the most effective defenses that can enable the best outcome in your case.

4. Protect Your Future

A criminal allegation not only brings penalties and punishments, but it may also adversely impact your professional life. Your employer may choose to terminate you or you may not find employment due to your criminal record.

When you hire a criminal defense attorney, they will fight to get your penalties reduced and charges minimized (or even dismissed). This, in turn, will reduce your sentence, spare you potential imprisonment, and save you from losing your job.
Overall, experienced criminal defense lawyers in Buffalo will help minimize the negative consequences of the criminal accusation/conviction on your future.

5. Lower Monetary Risks

A criminal conviction can have lifelong implications and come with certain monetary risks that can leave you penniless. For instance, you may lose months of income if you’re jailed or have to attend extended court. Your potential earnings may be impacted if you’re stripped of your professional license. You may not be even considered for employment with a criminal record.

However, when you hire a criminal defense attorney, you are spared these risks. Hiring criminal defense lawyers in Buffalo is well worth the money spent as they will help you save a lot of cash in the bigger scheme of things.

6. Advice on Possible Outcomes

A criminal attorney will have a good idea of the possible outcomes of a criminal case. Hence, instead of giving you false promises, they will educate you about the different aspects of your case and keep your expectations realistic.

They will prepare you for the possible outcomes of the case and the penalties you may be subjected to. They will also know if it will be beneficial for you to accept a plea deal from prosecutors or battle the charges in court.


Criminal charges can be difficult to overcome but aren’t impossible to deal with. It is best to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as they will analyze the different aspects of your case and work towards obtaining the best possible outcome. Further, depending on your case facts, your criminal defense attorney will know how to present your case favorably to minimize penalties and prevent imprisonment.

Contact Our Team of Expert Criminal Defense Lawyers in Buffalo for Consultation

When faced with criminal charges, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for a positive outcome. Our team at Carlson & Jones, P.A., will help you with your criminal case’s proceedings and represent you fiercely in court. Call us at (855) 976-2444 or contact us through our online form.

What Do Criminal Defense Lawyers in Minnesota Do?

Criminal charges are not just stressful to deal with, they can also put your future at stake. The consequences of an improperly handled criminal case can turn your life around for the worst. For instance, employers may rethink their decision to hire you with your criminal record. Moreover, the social implications of a criminal conviction are complicated.

Due to these reasons, you should take the criminal charges levied against you seriously. You can begin by seeking the right legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Minnesota. They can help you come up with a defense that may project your argument in a positive light.

Here are a few things your criminal defense lawyer in Minnesota will do for you.

Help Understand the Judicial System

The criminal system in Minnesota is complicated. It can be difficult for the layman to understand the intricate details of the legal system. However, the assistance of an expert criminal defense attorney can be immensely helpful.

They will offer you in-depth insights into the possible consequences of a guilty verdict and/or a plea agreement. Further, your criminal defense lawyer Minnesota will analyze the facts of your case and make an initial offer for a plea deal.

In other words, you won’t have to stress about legal representation in court, missing paperwork, or your lack of legal knowledge. You can rest assured that all the aspects of building a solid defense strategy will be taken care of.

Facilitate Negotiations for Possible Outcomes

Your criminal defense attorney will negotiate for the best possible outcome in your case. They will work towards getting the sentence reduced, penalties minimized, and try to mitigate the impact of your criminal charges based on the facts surrounding your case.

Criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota that have vast experience understand that if the negotiations related to the charges don’t work out, they will have to fight it out in a court trial. They will be ready for it.

Provide Professional Advice

Your criminal defense lawyer in Minnesota will represent your case from the moment they take you on as their client. If you need any legal advice on factors related to the case, you may ask them for guidance.

For example, you may be unaware of how your case proceedings will impact your eligibility to apply for jobs or renew/apply for a driver’s license. You can get a specific answer to your questions from your criminal defense lawyer. Though this may not seem like a big deal right off the bat, you will find instances wherein their advice will simplify complications to a huge extent.

Boost Your Confidence

Getting legal advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney will reinstate your confidence in your legal battle. You can obtain straightforward clarifications about the factors at play in your case.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can explain to you the intricacies of the legal system. With their experience and specialization, they can gauge the proceedings of your case, thereby helping you to plan your future accordingly.
Make sure you work with a lawyer who has experience in handling criminal defense cases. A criminal defense lawyer will be the best person to help you adhere to state-specific statutes applicable to a criminal case. Similarly, you can also consult Minnesota divorce lawyers for advice on aspects like child custody to ensure that your rights as a parent are protected.

Provide Access to Important Resources/Evidence

Resolving criminal cases involves gathering evidence and statements from witnesses. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will know exactly how to evaluate the crime scene and find witnesses that the prosecution is more likely to call to the stand.

Further, they will try to find evidence that can be used to make the opposing witness’s testimony less credible. Your criminal defense attorney will also find witnesses of their own that help proves your innocence in the case.

Access to important resources will go a long way in protecting your and rights and representing your case positively.

Minimize Exposure to Risk

Hiring a criminal lawyer may seem costly right now. However, being unrepresented may expose you to the risk of certain disastrous outcomes like the following:

  • Falling prey to false/incorrect charges
  • Being subjected to imprisonment despite being innocent
  • Disqualification from holding/obtaining a driver’s license
  • Termination of employment due to your criminal record
  • Getting disadvantaged when applying for a job due to your criminal record

Hiring a criminal defense attorney will help you overcome these obstacles. Talking to a criminal defense attorney and seeking their legal counsel will help you understand how they will fight for your rights.

Save You from Stress

The judicial system involves several intricate aspects like the Minnesota statute of limitations, the nature of the charges imposed, possible penalties, and criminal procedures that follow them. Furthermore, specific steps are involved in conducting a criminal procedure in Minnesota.

A seasoned criminal defense attorney will be well-versed in these procedures. You can rest assured that your criminal case will be handled in the best manner to protect your rights. This, in turn, will spare you a lot of stress while eliminating the chances of disruption in your personal and professional life.


It can be challenging to face criminal charges without the help of a criminal defense lawyer. When you seek legal help, your criminal defense lawyer will work towards representing your case as favorably as possible, based on the various facts of the case. Moreover, they will take charge of end-to-end case proceedings and save you from the stress of dealing with the legal aspects of the judicial system as well as that of an uncertain future.

Consult an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Minnesota Today!

Carlson & Jones, P.A. is one among the most trusted and reputed law firms in Minnesota. Contact our team of lawyers if you need assistance with building a strong defense in your criminal case. We will work hard to present your case in the best possible manner and protect your rights in court and in society. If you are looking for a criminal defense attorney in Minnesota, call us on (855) 976-2444 or contact us through our online form.

How to Hire the Right Criminal Defense Attorney in Brainerd

Dealing with a criminal charge in Brainerd can be distressing. Considering the legal consequences of a criminal allegation (and a potential conviction), hiring the right criminal defense attorney should be a top priority.

You should, however, note that not all attorneys will be suitable for your case.

Collaborating with an incompetent criminal defense lawyer in Brainerd will only add to your woes. You should choose a Minnesota criminal defense attorneys, who are experienced in handling the various nuances of criminal law.

Here are a few factors you should check for when hiring a criminal defense attorney in Brainerd.

Specialization in Criminal Law

Your Minnesota criminal defense lawyer should be experienced in working in courtroom settings. Only a seasoned criminal lawyer can defend you and protect your rights based on the specific facts of your case.

To check the lawyer’s skills, you should do some due diligence of your own. Go through the prospective lawyer’s website and check their list of practice areas. If you do not find criminal defense law listed therein, keep looking for another attorney.
An attorney practicing criminal law will know the importance of aggressively presenting relevant defenses and protecting your rights in criminal prosecution.

Referrals and Feedback

Ask your friends and relatives to refer criminal defense lawyers in Brainerd known to them. If they suggest a criminal lawyer based on their positive experience, you should consider fixing an appointment with them to take things forward.

If the first consultation concludes satisfactorily, visit the lawyer’s website to get more information on them. Check for client testimonials and browse through online forums or the lawyer’s social media accounts for feedback and reviews.
Though one bad review should not steer you away from the lawyer, think twice before hiring them if you find multiple negative reviews.

You can also check with the state bar council to verify that the lawyer has a clean professional record.

Local Presence

A local criminal defense lawyer will be aware of the procedures followed by Minnesota courts. It can be advantageous if your attorney shares a good rapport with the judges, prosecutors, and court clerks as they will be familiar with their quirks and the local processes. Your attorney will, therefore, know how judges will react to certain defenses. They may use this knowledge to strategize an effective defense for your Brainerd case.

Communication Skills

You will be discussing several case details with your chosen lawyer. These conversations need to be fruitful, and your lawyer should be able to provide you with sound legal counseling.

At the same time, communication involves listening too. Your lawyer should patiently listen to every facet of your case. They should ask clarifying questions and provide convincing answers to your queries.

Healthy and ongoing communication will enable you to gain confidence in your lawyer and stay on the same page throughout the proceedings.

Level of Responsiveness

Responsiveness refers to the average time taken by the prospective lawyer to react to client emails or inquiries. Delayed responses can cost you your case.

You should, therefore, ascertain the lawyer’s availability and their ability to respond quickly. It is also a good idea to inquire about the lawyer’s current caseload. If you find that the lawyer is overloaded and may not be able to give adequate time and attention to your case, you should look for other options.

Analytical Skills

Case-related discussions entail the sharing of a lot of critical details that can turn your case around. You should, therefore, choose a Minnesota criminal defense attorney who can absorb all the information and use it meticulously to strengthen your case.

Every scenario in your case may have more than one reasonable conclusion and numerous precedents that can be applied to the situation.

You should engage a criminal defense lawyer who has strong analytical skills, which help them choose the most suitable approach for your case. Ask the lawyer about the various approaches they follow when dealing with criminal cases. Their answers will give you a good idea of their competency.

Transparency in Fee Structure

Lawyers may structure their fees in different ways. You should discuss the fee amount and any other amount that you will need to pay upfront. Also, it is important to ask about hidden fees, if any. You should clarify all cost-related aspects before finalizing your criminal lawyer in Brainerd.

Ensure that your attorney provides you with a clear estimation of the total cost. This will help you understand the upcoming expenses and honor them accordingly.


When you are accused of a criminal charge, time is of the essence. You should seek legal assistance immediately. It is pivotal to choose the right criminal lawyer to defend your charges. A competent criminal defense lawyer will present your case in the best possible light and fight your allegations based on the facts of the case.

Contact Our Team of Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers in Brainerd

The team of competent criminal defense lawyers at Carlson & Jones, P.A. will work hard to achieve a positive outcome in your matter. We have vast experience in dealing with the various nuances of criminal defense cases. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (855) 976-2444 or contact us through our online form.

What Does a Criminal Defense Attorney in Minnesota Do?

If you have a criminal record, no matter how old, it can make your life difficult for years. For example, most employers run a thorough background check before hiring someone new these days. Many employers may refuse to hire you if they come across your criminal record. Furthermore, a conviction may get you fired from your current job even though have been a model employee.

In other words, facing criminal charges will arguably be the toughest moment in your life. That’s why you need to find trustworthy and experienced criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota quickly. Although their services are somewhat expensive, the criminal defense lawyer’s cost will be nothing compared to the life-changing damage caused by a criminal conviction. Your lawyer will help you in many ways.

Here is what a criminal defense attorney in Minnesota will do for you.

Be Your Legal Representative

Although self-representation is allowed, it is not a good idea, especially when you are facing serious criminal charges. You need someone who understands the law and the judicial system inside-out. That’s where professional criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota come in.

Your lawyer will be your representative in all legal matters pertaining to your case from the moment they accept you as a client. From interviewing witnesses and plea bargaining on your behalf to building a defense strategy and participating in the trial, your lawyer will take care of everything. In other words, you don’t have to stress yourself about missing paperwork, incorrect information, the lack of legal knowledge, and unnecessary delays in court proceedings.

Investigate Your Case in Detail

Although the police have already investigated your case, professional MN criminal defense lawyers will investigate it further. This careful scrutiny will help your attorney build a strong defense and find ways to get you acquitted. It usually involves taking a closer look at the police procedures, interviewing the witnesses and police officers, and getting a complete account of your case to establish a timeline.

Your criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota will also analyze the evidence. Sometimes, your case may require independent testing of evidence, in which case, your lawyer will hire the appropriate experts. They may also bring in private investigators to dig deeper into your case if required. As you can see, this systematic approach requires in-depth legal knowledge and experience, which is why you are better off hiring criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota.

Keep You in the Loop

The conversations between you and your MN criminal defense lawyers are protected by the attorney-client privilege. So, you can share all the information related to your case with trust. Your attorney will also communicate with you and on your behalf, keeping you connected with your family and friends and other people related to your case.

Your lawyer will keep you informed of the latest developments in your case, including what the prosecution is planning to do. As they can talk to you freely, your criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota can help you understand the potential consequences of the latest developments in your case. However, it is necessary to hire a lawyer with strong communication skills. Only they can proactively discuss your case with you as time progresses.

Handle Your Paperwork

You may already know that legal matters often involve a mountain of paperwork. Although this isn’t the most glamorous part of our judicial system, it is a crucial one. Your MN criminal defense lawyers will make sure to create and review every piece of paperwork related to your case. They will also file motions and other paperwork.

Depending on the complexity of your case, your attorney may spend weeks or even months reading and reviewing the paperwork submitted by the prosecution. They will also make sure your own paperwork is flawless and legally binding. Paperwork is critical because it makes sure your case can proceed as quickly as possible and without any unpleasant surprises.

Help You Make Informed Decision

Perhaps the biggest advantage of hiring skilled criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota is expert legal advice. Successful lawyers often spend years practicing law and have considerable courtroom experience as well. As they have handled cases like yours before, criminal attorneys will know how to defend your case.

Lawyers also know the local judicial system very well. So, they understand exactly what to do and when to do it. All this knowledge and experience will translate into sound legal advice. That, in turn, will help you make well-informed decisions at every crucial stage in your case.


As you may already know, facing criminal charges would probably be the toughest time in your life. That’s why hiring an experienced, trustworthy, and skilled criminal defense lawyer is necessary. Your lawyer will fight for your rights and provide you with sound and timely legal advice. Hopefully, knowing what a criminal defense attorney does for their clients will encourage you to hire a lawyer right away.

Talk to Reputed Criminal Defense Lawyers in Minnesota Today

Carlson & Jones, P.A. is one the most trusted and reputed criminal defense law firm in Minnesota. Our team of experienced and skilled lawyers will leave no stone unturned in protecting your rights. If you are looking for a criminal defense attorney in Minnesota, call us on (855) 976-2444 or contact us through our online form to discuss your case.

How to Find a Suitable Criminal Defense Lawyer in Brainerd

If you’re facing criminal charges in Brainerd, you probably know you’re in big trouble. 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.

1. 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.

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.

2. Responsiveness

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 reverts to your emails promptly, they will likely be equally enthusiastic in defending you.

3. Specialization and Experience

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.

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.

4. Transparency in 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.

5. Referrals

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.

6. Location

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 preferring an attorney who has experience in dealing with local authorities and legal processes.

7. Support Team

More often than not, a lawyer is as good as the team backing them.

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.


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

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.

How Criminal Defense Lawyers in Minnesota Help Their Clients

Whether it is a simple DWI or a felony, getting slapped with criminal charges can have grave consequences. Unfortunately, criminal law is anything but simple. Without the right legal advice, you can end up making mistakes that put your job, reputation, family life, and finances at risk. You, therefore, need to navigate the legal waters wisely.

So, instead of thinking about how much a criminal defense lawyer costs, you need to think about safeguarding your future. Experienced criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota can help you every step of the way when fighting the charges.

Here is how a criminal defense attorney can help you.

1. Complete Case Analysis

The first step in defending the criminal charges is to understand and analyze your case thoroughly. Experienced criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota know criminal law inside-out and can provide you with a thorough analysis of your case. They can also help you understand the consequences you will face, should the charges against you be proved.

Thanks to their experience and legal knowledge, your attorney can help you prepare the best possible defense based on their thorough analysis. Depending on your case, the criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota can get your penalties reduced or even get your charges dropped.

If, on the other hand, taking a plea deal seems like the best option, your lawyer can help you get the best possible deal. Most importantly, the attorney can offer an objective analysis of your case. When you put emotions aside, it becomes easier to make the right choice.

2. Provide Legal Resources

Fighting off criminal charges requires a thorough independent investigation of your case. You will need to talk to witnesses, interview police officers about the process followed during your arrest, and when placing the charges, and investigate the case further with the help of experts.

The more information your Minnesota criminal defense lawyers can collect, the easier it is for you to win your case. Most criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota have the legal resources required to investigate your case thoroughly, including investigators, private detectives, and expert witnesses.

While expert witnesses like doctors can help counter the forensic evidence presented by the prosecution, investigators and private detectives can find out facts that can strengthen your defense. If you are self-representing, however, you will not have these crucial resources at your disposal.

3. Negotiate a Plea Deal for You

Plea deals are a critical part of most criminal cases as they can help negotiate a reduced sentence or even get the charges dropped. However, if you are self-representing, you are less likely to know the advantage of negotiations. The prosecution may also take undue advantage of your lack of knowledge, tricking you into accepting a plea deal that serves their purpose, not yours.

However, seasoned criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota will negotiate on your behalf. As they have done this before, criminal defense attorneys often know the tricks the prosecution can use during the negotiations. They will put you in the best possible position during the plea bargain.

4. Prepare and File Motions

The legal language and the tremendous paperwork involved in a criminal case can seem alien to the average Joe. The process also requires a lot of research and excellent penmanship. Leading criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota are accustomed to preparing and filing the paperwork for criminal cases.

Your lawyer can create and file different types of motions, including a motion to modify bail, motion to dismiss, and motion to suppress, among others. They will also make sure to file the paperwork on time. If you fail to file a motion on time, it could threaten the outcome of your case.

5. Select the Jury

Chances are, your case will not go trial unless you are charged with a felony where a plea deal won’t work. However, if your case does go to trial, the first step is jury selection. As the jury will be deciding your fate, it is critical to select a jury that will offer an unbiased verdict.

However, you won’t be able to select the right jury without considerable courtroom experience. That’s where expert criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota can help. They are well aware of the jury selection process. Your attorney can remove the jury that seems biased or prejudiced before the trial begins.

The lawyer will also defend you during the trial. They will cross-check the evidence and witnesses offered by the prosecution. They will also put expert witnesses on the stand to help strengthen your case. Given how critical it is to have an excellent defense in the courtroom, you shouldn’t think only about the criminal defense lawyer’s cost. Focus on the value an experienced attorney can bring to your defense.


Navigating the complex legal system, especially when you are defending criminal charges, is easier said than done. You need the best possible legal help you can get. Hopefully, after learning about the benefits of hiring an experienced and professional criminal defense attorney, you will be able to make an informed decision. Make sure to hire an attorney that provides the required legal support and has a proven track record of handling criminal cases similar to yours.

Talk to Veteran Criminal Defense Lawyers in Minnesota

If you or your loved one is facing criminal charges in Minnesota, Carlson & Jones, P.A. can help you. Our experienced lawyers will work tirelessly to avoid or minimize a potential sentence. We offer convenient payment plans. You can reach us at (855) 976-2444 or schedule a free consultation through our website.

Call For A Free Consultation (877) 344-1555Free Consultation

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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