Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Dakota County Shoplifting Lawyer

Shoplifting is often regarded --- by law enforcement and business --- as a petty crime few consequences.  Often ... it's viewed as something that teenagers do - and grow out of.  Generally, most people see this offense as something that can/should be able to be "fixed" by by returning the stolen merchandise to a store and apologizing or just paying for it ... and maybe being ordered, by the authorities, to pay a fine.  

As an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney - and as a former prosecutor - I can (sadly and) confidently assert that this is often not the case.

Shoplifting is Bad (For You)

Under the laws of the State of Minnesota law, shoplifting is considered a Theft --- and this crime is treated seriously - by the government and the judge.  And, not only might someone face jail time ... the more serous impact is felt when they go looking for a job, housing and/or a loan from a bank and this indiscretion shows up on a back-ground check.  

Regardless of why you have been charged with shoplifting, conviction can result in numerous criminal penalties, along with the risk of being sued by the merchant in civil court. In addition to getting a lawyer - ASAP - it’s important to understand shoplifting laws and penalties.

Theft (Explained)

When most of us think about Shoplifting, I sure we conjur up ideas of someone leaving a store without paying for something. While that certainly counts ... there are a number of different actions that someone could potentially engage in that qualify as retail theft. These include:

  • Taking store property without consent;
  • Hiding store property without consent;
  • Lying to obtain goods; and/or
  • Switching price tags to pay less for a product.

Minnesota Shoplifting (Penalties)

Shoplifting charges typically depend on the value of the property taken.  Low value items - under $500, such as a pack of gum, costume jewelry, or a small electronic like a flash drive are generally considered misdemeanors --- where the maximum sentence can be a $1000 fine and 90 days in jail.   More valuable items --- could result in serious charges and penalties can follow. 

Here are a few of the potential penalties you may face:
  • Values between $500 and $1,000: Up to $10,000 in fines and/or five years in prison;
  • Value between $5,000 and $35,000: Up to $20,000 in fines and/or up to 10 years in prison; and
  • Value over $35,000: Up to $100,000 in fines and/or up to 20 years in prison.

Fighting a Shoplifting Charge

A Shoplifting conviction can result in some long-term consequences, including a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life. Because of this, you might find it necessary to get answers from a lawyer.  The Rolloff Law Office has represented 100s of individuals who have made a small mistake like this --- to ensure that your rights are protected, it’s important to have a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer --- with a successful track record --- looking out for your best interests. Contact the Rolloff Law Office - today - and set-up a FREE CONSULTATION: (612) 234-1165

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Minnesota's Expungement Laws (Statutory Expungement)

This is probably a very obvious observation ... but, having a criminal record can severely limit anyone’s ability to get a job or housing or financial assistance. 

As luck would have it, there is a way to “erase” your criminal history. This is called “expunging” or “sealing” your criminal records. The easiest way is called a statutory expungement.  A statutory expungement seals your judicial (court) records and your executive (BCA, police, etc) records.

What Do You Need to do to Get an Expungement?

In order to qualify for a statutory expungement, one of three things must have happened. 

First, the most common is that the case was resolved in your favor. This means that your case ended with a dismissal by the prosecutor or court, a continuance for dismissal (or a continuance without plea), a diversion program, a not guilty verdict, or some similar resolution. In this situation, you are entitled to an expungement and there has to be a very, very good reason not to expunge your records.

Second, certain cases where a juvenile was prosecuted as an adult may qualify. 

Third, certain drug cases qualify when the case was resolved with a stay of adjudication pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 152.18, subdiv. 1. Unlike cases resolved in your favor, in these situations, you have to make some showing to the court that the benefit to you in sealing your records is equal to or greater than the disadvantages to the public and the agencies in sealing your records.

Now What?
To go about sealing your records under this statutory authority, it is wise to have an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney assist you. Navigating the legal language and obligations can be difficult and overwhelming. 

You are required to submit an affidavit, a notice of motion and motion to seal, and a proposed order to seal. In addition, you have to serve every agency that will be affected by the expungement.

The, the hearing, which occurs at least 60 days after filing the documents, can be handled by your attorney. Your attorney will give you a waiver of appearance so you need not attend. At the hearing, the judge will review the reason for the expungement, determine if there have been any objections, and issue an order. 

Once the order is issued, there are sixty (60) more days for the agencies to appeal the order. After that, your records are completely sealed!

Want to start over?  Call The Rolloff Law Office today to set up an appointment for a FREE CONSULTATION to get and Expugement: (612) 234-1165

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Minnesota - Avoid Going to Court!

A comment that I have heard many Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorneys make goes something like this:

 “This would be a great business if it weren't for the clients.”

Now ... while that sounds a little (?) condescending ... I can tell you this --- often, my clients have said the same thing about court - ie., is there any way my case (which requires somone go to court) can be resolved with me ever having to have to go?  The answer is: Yes!


If you have hired a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer there are some MANY cases where you can avoid going to court --- and you can make him/her do all of the work.  

The TRUTH:  In almost all misdemeanors, you can avoid going to the first appearance if you sign a waiver for your lawyer.  Frankly, most of these hearings result in simply getting a new court date. 

It is the practice of The Rolloff Law Office to almost always has you waive your first appearance in misdemeanor cases, we want you to appear at all other court appearances because we need to be able to discuss potential resolutions or setting the case for trial.

If you have been charged with a Gross Misdemeanor or a Felony --- things do become a tad more complicated. 

If you have questions about your obligation ... and/or you don't really feel like going to court - if at all possible - feel free to contact  your attorney whether you can waive your appearance in court. Never go to court and still get the right result.  Interested?  Call The Rolloff Law Office today: (612) 234-1165 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Minnesota No Contact Orders (Explained)

Unfortunately, domestic violence is an all too common occurrence in the State of Minnesota. If you or someone you love suddenly find themselves charged with a crime --- or is in need of an order of protection --- you need to understand what you’re up against.  This is why you should contact a Minnesota Defense Attorney.

What You Need to Know

A very common occurrence --- when someone is charged with domestic violence crime is that the accused is prohibited from having contact with the complaning witness --- this can also include their residence and their family.  In Minnesota --- this can come in the form of a DANCO (Domestic Abuse No Contact Order) and/or OFP (Order for Protection.)

Violate one of these orders and one can find them-self facing even more charges.  Therefore, it is vital that him/her understands what the different kinds of orders require of you.

What These Orders Prevent One From Doing


Once a judge hears the case, she will decide on which type of protective order to make and the stipulations thereof --- including:  
  • A prohibition from going near your own home (if the alleged victim continues to reside there), the alleged victim’s workplace, and possibly your children’s school(s);
  • Removal of custody of your children (or limitations in your rights);
  • Payment of spousal support to your accuser;
  • Restitution for domestic assault, including payment for injuries;
  •  Awarded divorce and termination of spousal rights;
  • Mandatory counseling/therapy; and 
  • Anything the judge deems necessary. 

If You Fail To Follow The Order

Breaking a protective order is punishable by law, and in most cases will earn you criminal charges . If a protective order is issued against you and you don’t understand it, the best thing you can do is talk to a knowledgeable domestic violence lawyer who can explain what you are up against and tell you your options. 

The Rolloff Law Office is a Minneapolis-based criminal and defense firm known for fighting aggressively for its clients and utilizing tactics honed while serving as a prosecutor.  Call to set up a FREE CONSULTATION - today - (612) 234-1165 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer (Explained)

As an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney I answer a lot of questions --- here are a number of common ones: 

The police asked me if I would answer a few of their questions, should I talk to them?

Noooooooooooooo.  in my experience --- I understand that individuals have a desire to seem cooperative and/or question what could happen if they don't "help" the police.  In my experience ---  even if the cops are being courteous and respectful, IMHO - it is smart to remain silent until you have a lawyer present.  The most important thing to remember is that you DO NOT have to answer ANY questions and if you do, you should know that everything you say WILL be used against you in the future.  Therefore, politely decline to answer any questions of law enforcement until you have consulted with a criminal defense attorney.

Do I need an attorney if I’m planning to plead guilty?

Yes.  Remember --- you are only going to get one chane to get your case right.  therefore, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer before making any decisions concerning pleading to any criminal charge.  Contrary to what you may perceive, pleading guilty may not be your best option.  Even if it is, having an attorney to advocate for your rights when negotiating with the prosecution on a fair sentence can increase your chances for a lesser charge and a lighter punishment.


Why should I you to defend me?

I have over a dozen years of experience in criminal court - whether as a prosecutor or defending those accused of DWI, Theft, Assault, Domestic Assault, Drug possession charges, Fraud, Criminal Sexual Conduct charges and a variety of criminal charges.   I have aggressively and successfully worked with thousands of people facing charges of everything from petty traffic offenses to serious Felony charges.  If you want FREE ANSWERS - call today: (612) 234-1165.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

School Bus Stop-Arm Ticket (Hennepin County)

A violation that I - both as a prosecutor and an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney - get tons of questions about concern those little yellow school busses and their stop-signs.

Well, according to Minnesota law, when a school bus is stopped on a street or highway and is displaying an extended stop-signal arm and flashing red lights, an individual approaching the bus, in his/her vehicle, is required to stop within at least 20 feet of said bus.  Then, the driver must not move their vehicle until the school bus stop-signal arm is retracted and the red lights stop flashing. Failure to do so is a crime.

It is also illegal to pass (or attempt to pass) a school bus on the right-hand, passenger-door side of the bus while the school bus is displaying the "pre-warning" flashing amber signals.

What You Need to Know

Anyone who who fails to stop a vehicle while a school bus has its stop-arm extended is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a minimum fine of $300.

However, that same person could be convicted of a Gross Misdemeanor if they fail to stop their motor vehicle and commit either or both of the following:
  • Passing or attempting to pass the school bus in a motor vehicle on the right-hand, passenger-door side of the bus
  • Passing or attempting to pass the school bus in a motor vehicle when a school child is outside of and on the street used by the school bus or on the adjacent sidewalk.

The law is harsh in these settings because the lives of children in danger. Therefore, police and prosecutors take these crimes very seriously. As such, you should, if you ever find yourself charged with illegally passing a school bus, should talk with an experienced Minnesota Traffic Attorney . The Rolloff Law Office can walk you through the steps of your case and plot a course for successful defense.  Call today to set up a FREE CONSULTATION: (612) 234-1165

Monday, December 7, 2015

Should I Hire a Defense Attorney? (Explained)

In the State of Minnesota there are four basic levels of offenses/violations: Petty Misdemeanors, Misdemeanors, Gross Misdemeanors, and felonies.  Here is some information on what those terms mean - in terms of possible consequences.  If you have additional questions, you should contact a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney

A Misdemeanor is the lowest crime you can be charged with in Minnesota.  (A Petty Misdemeanor ... due to the fact that no jail time can be assessed, among other rationale, is technically not a crime.  More information on this can be found here.)   A Felony is the highest level crime you can be charged with.  Unlike other jurisdictions, the State of Minnesota does not have different levels of Misdemeanors and Felonies.  As such, this means is that the terms encompass wide array of offenses.


A “Misdemeanor” refers to any crime that can be punished by up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.  That’s it.  That’s all it means.  If you say that you have been convicted of a misdemeanor, it doesn’t tell me anything, except that you’ve been convicted of a low-level crime.


A “felony” refers to any crime that can be punished by more than a year in prison.  Like saying you’ve been convicted of a “misdemeanor,” telling me you’ve been convicted of a “felony” doesn’t tell me much.

Unfortunately, if you tell most non-lawyers that you’ve been convicted of a felony, they assume the worst.  One of the most unfortunate sets of crimes is the drug offense hierarchy.  The lowest level is a petty misdemeanor; possessing 42.5 grams or less of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor (not even a crime because you can’t serve jail time for it).  Possessing 42.6 grams of marijuana is a felony.  There’s no in-between.  There’s no such thing as a misdemeanor drug offense.  But you may never serve a day of jail time for either offense, and the fine may be the same $300 for each offense.  This is why telling me you’ve been convicted of a felony doesn’t tell me much.  But I’m a lawyer.  There is a huge stigma in the community about felonies.  This is largely based on not knowing things like this.

Similarly, a misdemeanor can be anything from a first-time DWI to theft to assault to certain prostitution offenses.  If you tell me you’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor, I need more information.

You are only going to get one, good chance to earn the right result for your case.  Do yourself a favor - contact the Rolloff Law Office to set up a FREE CONSULTATION before you do anything.  Call today: (612) 234-1165.