Law offender in orange jumpsuit in question.

When Should I Hire a Criminal Lawyer for my Case in Minneapolis, MN?

Knowing when to hire a criminal lawyer for your case in Minnesota can help protect your constitutional rights and turn the odds in your favor. You should retain a criminal lawyer immediately after learning you are under investigation, get arrested, or are charged with a crime. Seasoned criminal lawyers understand the criminal justice system, can build a winning defense strategy, and aggressively push for a positive outcome of your case.

Law offender in orange jumpsuit in question.

What Is the Role of a Criminal Lawyer in Minneapolis, MN?

What does a criminal defense attorney do? You may ask this question if you are anticipating criminal charges or are already facing the charges. A criminal lawyer provides legal advice and representation to people, groups, and entities under investigation or already charged with crimes. They appear on their client’s behalf in courts at the state and federal level. Criminal attorneys also represent clients in appellate courts if they are unhappy with a lower court’s decision.

Some common roles of a criminal defense lawyer include:

Providing Legal Consultation and Case Review

Criminal lawyers are usually available for legal consultation and case evaluation. They provide a safe and secure space for clients to give their side of the story. These attorneys ask questions, carefully examine charges their clients are facing, review existing evidence and witness statements, and try as much as possible to grasp the case’s unique circumstances. They then discuss with their clients all the available options for handling the situation and advise them on the best steps to take.

Protecting Your Constitutional Rights

A criminal lawyer is a valuable resource in safeguarding your constitutional rights throughout the criminal justice process. These rights include the right to stay silent, retain legal counsel, and have a fair and quick trial.

A competent lawyer will watch out for any violations of your constitutional rights throughout your interaction with the criminal justice system. He or she will then take the necessary steps to deal with any violations.

Performing Independent Investigations and Collecting Evidence

A good criminal lawyer is an excellent investigator. The lawyer does not just rely on the information provided by the defendant and the prosecution’s evidence. Instead, he or she performs independent investigations to obtain additional proof supporting the defendant’s side of the story. Investigations may include going to the crime scene to check for details the investigators may have missed, compiling witness statements, and selecting the right expert witnesses.

Developing an Effective Defense Strategy

Criminal lawyers know that a well-thought-out and effective defense strategy is the key to securing a favorable result for their clients. So, they carefully analyze every case detail and try to find gaps, contradictions, and alternative explanations that may weaken the prosecution’s case. They cite relevant statutes, case studies, and precedents when drafting legal arguments to bolster their clients’ cases.

Negotiating Plea Deals

A plea bargain can be the best way to get a positive result from your criminal case. In fact, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that around 90 to 95% of criminal cases get resolved through plea bargains.

Plea bargains are legally binding agreements between criminal defendants and prosecution. These agreements involve defendants voluntarily entering a guilty or no-contest plea in exchange for lower charges or a less harsh sentence.

A plea deal can be ideal for your situation when the prosecution has compelling evidence against you, or when the penalties of a possible conviction at trial are harsh. A competent defense attorney will analyze the specifics of your case and available evidence before advising you to consider a plea bargain. The attorney will also skillfully negotiate with prosecutors to reach a plea deal that matches your best interests.

Representing You in Court

Your lawyer will aggressively defend you at trial if efforts to get your case dismissed or a favorable plea deal are unfruitful. The lawyer will review the facts and evidence compiled, prepare witnesses, and sharpen the defense strategy before the trial. He or she will also examine the prosecutor’s witness testimonies and try to identify weaknesses.

During the trial, your lawyer will present evidence-backed legal arguments to defend you against the charges you are facing. The lawyer will call your witnesses to stand to testify in your favor. Your lawyer will also cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses and try his or her best to discredit or weaken their testimony.

Jury Selection

Jury selection is a crucial role of a criminal lawyer. This process involves vetting potential jury members to establish a just and unbiased jury. Both the defense and prosecution team will participate in the jury selection process.

A carefully selected jury can pay attention to the defense’s evidence and arguments, improving the odds of a favorable result. As such, your lawyer will take the time to screen each potential jury member during the selection process.

Post-Trial Support

The role of a criminal defense lawyer does not end at trial. Instead, your lawyer will continue working with you even after the court enters a verdict. For instance, the lawyer will handle the appeals process if the verdict is not in your favor. He or she may also provide the support and advice you need to meet the probationary or parole conditions.

Benefits of Having Legal Representation

Do you need a criminal defense lawyer if you think you’re guilty? Effective legal representation can better your chances of securing a favorable result from your criminal case. Some benefits of having effective legal representation include:

In-depth Knowledge of the Criminal Justice System

The criminal justice system is often confusing for someone with limited legal knowledge. Self-representing defendants commonly make costly blunders due to little or no knowledge of criminal and legal processes.

A criminal defense lawyer can help defendants avoid these mistakes. Your lawyer will leverage knowledge and experience in criminal defense law to explain the meaning and implications of your charges. The lawyer will also look for loopholes that may help reduce your charges or get them dropped altogether.

Conversant With Key Players in the Criminal Justice System

Understanding the key players in the criminal justice system is instrumental in securing a win in a criminal case. If you choose self-representation, you will be unaware of the parties you will be facing, what to expect from them, and how to navigate the obstacles you may encounter.

Criminal lawyers are familiar with all the key players in the criminal justice system, including prosecutors and judges. They know their strengths and weaknesses. Criminal defense attorneys leverage this knowledge to craft an effective defense strategy.

Access to Sufficient Resources

Legal representation is not just about presenting evidence and legal arguments before the judge and jury. It involves conducting independent investigations, compiling evidence, deposing or cross-examining witnesses, and post-trial support. All these processes require adequate resources, including support staff, technology, and finances.

Established defense lawyers have access to the resources required to build a robust defense. They have legal assistants and paralegals who help them prepare for trial by performing case research and organizing trial evidence.

They also skillfully use court resources to develop a solid defense on their client’s behalf. For instance, you may be eligible for a court-appointed private investigator even if you retain a lawyer.

Save Time and Money

Your lawyer can handle all the paperwork and legal tasks related to your case. This frees up time you can dedicate to other obligations, including working and spending quality time with your family.

Working with a lawyer can also help you save money in the long term. The lawyer can, for instance, contest criminal restitution successfully.

Your lawyer will explain any court-imposed costs, including court costs and fines. He or she will push for your release on bail or bond so that you can continue working and earning. The lawyer will also push for lower fines if you get convicted.

Types of Criminal Cases in Minnesota

Personal Crime Cases

Personal crimes, also known as crimes against persons, include aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder. Historically marginalized people, such as young, urban, destitute, and non-white individuals, form the vast majority of accused defendants in these cases compared to white, affluent groups.

Property Crime Cases

Property crimes, also called crimes against property, refer to property theft without bodily injury. Burglary, arson, and motor vehicle theft, are common property crime cases. These cases are more rampant among historically marginalized groups than other groups.

Crimes Against Morality Cases

The offenses against morality category constitutes crimes without victims or complainants. As such, they are also known as victimless crimes. They include the use of controlled substances, illegal gambling, and prostitution.

Hate Crime Cases

Hate crime cases cover crimes against individuals or property based on biases of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion.

White-Collar Crime Cases

White-collar crime cases are filed against individuals who use their occupations or social status to earn money or gain a personal or business edge. Common examples of crimes in this category include embezzlement, money laundering, and tax evasion.

How an Attorney Can Help You With Your Case

A seasoned criminal defense attorney has the skills to identify facts, laws, and regulations applicable to your case. The attorney can use his or her investigative skills to uncover the evidence against you and question the prosecution’s witnesses. Doing this can help the attorney devise a solid defense strategy that could compel the prosecution to drop some or all of your charges. It could also help the attorney convince the judge to suppress crucial prosecution evidence obtained in violation of your legal rights.

Your attorney can help you get a plea deal that is in your best interest from the prosecutor. He or she can also negotiate for a sentencing program that can lessen some harsh consequences of a potential conviction. For instance, the judge may put you on probation instead of sentencing you to prison if you are eligible for a traffic education diversion program.

Factors to Consider When Hiring a Criminal Lawyer

Hiring the right criminal lawyer can increase your chances of winning a criminal case or obtaining a desirable outcome. Choosing the best legal counsel for your unique situation from the many lawyers in the market is challenging. Considering the following factors when hiring a criminal lawyer can help you select the right one for your case.

Experience in Criminal Law for Your Type of Case

Criminal law is a specialized practice area. It calls for in-depth legal knowledge, research and investigative skills, negotiation abilities, and aggressive legal defense strategies. The best defense lawyer for your case should have proven experience resolving cases like yours. He or she should be conversant with laws, precedents, and procedures relevant to your case.

Find out if your prospective lawyer offers a free initial consultation. If so, use that offer to gauge the lawyer’s criminal law experience for your type of case. Find out how long the lawyer has practiced in criminal law and the types of cases the lawyer has won.

Ask the lawyer about his or her area of focus in criminal law. Some lawyers have built their practice around specific fields, including but not limited to crimes against persons, driving while impaired (DWI), and white-collar crimes. A lawyer who has handled cases related to yours will have the required knowledge, experience, and skills to craft a winning defense strategy and present it effectively.

Communication Throughout the Legal Process

Clear and honest communication throughout the legal process is essential in nurturing a positive attorney-client relationship and getting a favorable result from your case. So, look for a responsive and attentive lawyer who can break down legal concepts and tactics into simple, easy-to-understand language.

When considering whether to hire a criminal lawyer, use the initial consultations to evaluate prospective representatives’ communication skills. Assess how the lawyer listens to you and responds to your questions.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

One of the questions people facing a criminal charge ask is: How long does a criminal case take? The timeline of your criminal case in Minnesota will depend on the nature and severity of the alleged crime, the speed of the criminal justice system, the duration of the trial, and whether an appeal will be necessary. Delays at any stage of the criminal justice process may impact how long your criminal case will last. Generally, however, misdemeanor cases may resolve within weeks or months, while felony cases may linger in courts for up to a year.
People accused, arrested, or charged with a crime often ask, “How much does a criminal defense lawyer cost in Minneapolis, MN?” It is difficult to accurately determine how much a criminal defense lawyer will cost. The reason is that numerous factors impact the cost of legal representation in criminal matters. These factors include the type and severity of criminal charges, the lawyer’s experience and reputation, required time and effort, and geographical location.
Social media can have legal implications, particularly when it comes to criminal cases. Since its advent, social media has become a powerful tool for communication and self-expression. As of 2023, an estimated 4.9 billion people worldwide use social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to share thoughts, experiences, and moments from their lives. However, in this digital age, social media activity can be used as evidence in criminal cases in Minneapolis and elsewhere.