Every person accused of committing a crime in Minnesota has the right to legal counsel, but the specific attorney you enlist can make a major difference in the outcome of a criminal case. Public defenders work hard to fulfill their legal obligations, but they are also often burdened with multiple cases at once, meaning they may not be able to give your case the individualized attention it deserves.
If you want to give yourself the best possible chance of dismissing your charges, retaining a private Minnesota criminal lawyer may be necessary. A skilled legal professional could help you mount a powerful defense, collect exculpatory evidence on your behalf, and help you avoid the severe penalties associated with your charges.
How State Law Classifies Criminal Offenses
Criminal offenses are defined by the state under Minnesota Statutes §609.02. The offenses have classifications that range in severity, the least serious of which is a petty misdemeanor. Despite the terminology, this type of offense is not considered criminal in nature, and a $300 fine is the maximum sanction for a petty misdemeanor.
Misdemeanors are considered criminal in nature and are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a maximum fine of $1,000. Gross misdemeanors are even more serious, as a conviction could lead to a maximum $3,000 fine and one-year jail sentence. Any offense classified as a felony may result in a prison sentence of at least one year.
Unlike many other states, however, Minnesota does not follow a standardized classification for felony offenses. Instead, each individual statute defining a felony also sets out unique penalties upon conviction, as well as occasional unique statutory deadlines for prosecution. Each charge will carry its own separate repercussions, and a Minnesota criminal attorney could help a defendant come up with legal strategies that are exactly tailored to their situation.
What Could Legal Counsel Do to Help?
A dedicated legal representative could help someone accused of a crime in numerous ways, beyond just ensuring that law enforcement officers and state prosecutors respect their legal rights. As soon as someone is charged with a crime, or even while they are under investigation, an attorney could interact with law enforcement on a private citizen’s behalf, making sure that ill-timed or poorly-worded statements do not inadvertently harm a potential defendant’s case.
Legal counsel can also play an important role in the evidence-gathering process, both in terms of finding evidence to support a defendant’s case and preventing the prosecution from admitting evidence gathered via unlawful means. A knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer in Minnesota could use their extensive research to cast doubt on the prosecution’s case and make a convincing argument to minimize the defendant’s charges. If applicable, they could potentially negotiate with the prosecutors for a favorable plea bargain.
A Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney Could Be Your Legal Advocate
If you have recently been accused of a crime, the next steps you take could have an immense impact on your freedom and future prospects. To preserve your reputation and protect your rights, you should engage legal representation as soon as possible.
A Minnesota criminal lawyer could ensure that you are treated fairly during the legal process and serve as your advocate both in and out of court. Call today to set up a consultation and start planning your defense.