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Minnesota Criminal Defense



Minnesota clients often ask their defense attorneys to explain what they will face once they are formally charged with committing a crime. The answer to that key question starts with a basic understanding of how the criminal justice system works at the state and federal levels in Minnesota.

For the accused, the long-term effects of criminal charges and the resulting convictions, penalties or incarceration may seem overwhelming. Even misdemeanor offenses can have lasting implications on a criminal defendant's livelihood and the ability to secure gainful employment. Other aspects of life, such as relationships, family, custody, visitation, housing, finances and credit can be negatively impacted by a single criminal offense on a defendant's record. Personal freedoms and even life—as in death penalty cases—depend on the outcome of the case. Because criminal charges can have such major impacts, it is necessary to build the strongest defense possible. To that end, it is prudent to consider the early retention of a criminal defense lawyer.

How Can Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorneys Help?

Defense lawyers serve the invaluable function of protecting a defendant’s rights. They ensure that the client obtains a fair, speedy trial under the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights, and provide guidance at each stage in the process so the client can make well-informed decisions and fully contribute to building the strongest possible defense strategy.

What Cases Do Criminal Defense Lawyers Typically Take?

Minnesota criminal defense attorneys represent parties accused of committing both felony and misdemeanor crimes. The cases they typically accept include, but are not limited to:

What Legal Services Do Defense Attorneys Perform?

Criminal defense attorneys perform core legal services for clients in Minnesota, which usually encompass these tasks:

  • Reviewing the prospective client’s criminal case
  • Determining the most appropriate strategy of defense tailored to the client’s case
  • Explaining the criminal charges brought against the defendant
  • Explaining the penalties the defendant may face in easy-to-understand language
  • Negotiating with opposing parties (prosecution and law enforcement personnel) to reduce charges
  • Handling a prospective client’s case in the most advantageous manner with respect to judges, prosecutors and other government representatives

How Often Will a Criminal Client Be Required to Attend Court?

There is no standard answer applicable to all criminal cases. Rather, it depends on the particular charges facing the defendant.

In a petty misdemeanor case, two court appearances are generally required: the arraignment (or formal charging) and the trial, but occasionally, there may be exceptions. For example, in Minnesota, a criminal defense attorney may be able to seek a waiver of appearance so a defendant could avoid making a personal appearance at the arraignment proceeding.

For more serious crimes, the process usually involves another step—a pretrial or omnibus hearing. This hearing comprises the settlement portion of the case and may require one or more additional court appearances. The pretrial stage typically addresses discovery matters, motions, scheduling and the status of settlement negotiations. A large number of cases are ultimately settled at this stage.

Find a Local Minnesota Criminal Lawyer Today

A Minnesota criminal defense lawyer can represent you in court, negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor, explain your legal options and defend you during a criminal trial. Your criminal law attorney’s job is to protect your rights and ensure your access to a fair trial. By examining the circumstances surrounding your case and weighing the strength of the evidence against you, your Minnesota lawyer will apply current law, along with previous legal precedent, to your specific situation and use it to devise a solid legal strategy and build the best possible case for acquittal. Call now to speak with a Minnesota criminal defense attorney at 877-913-7222.