In Crookston, the vast majority of criminal cases are charged under Minnesota state statutes instead of federal ones. A wide range of misdemeanor and felony charges, both violent and nonviolent offenses, are covered under Minnesota criminal statutes. If you or someone in your family has recently been arrested for or charged with any form of a criminal act and you are seeking representation, you need to speak to an expert Crookston criminal defense attorney with experience in the practice area in question.
Prosecutors in Polk County Minnesota tend to be among the most aggressive in the state. While other county attorneys are occasionally easygoing and willing to resolve criminal cases with even inexperienced general practitioners, Polk County prosecutors fight very hard and frequently bring decades of experience to bear. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend your freedom. Bruce Ringstrom Jr. is certified as a Criminal Law Specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association, and has a record of winning cases in Polk County, including getting entire felony charges dismissed.
The Minnesota legal system is a complex one in which numerous challenges can arise. Without legal representation from a criminal attorney, your chances of losing a case (or dealing with extra stress and uncertainty, even if you ultimately win the case from a legal standpoint) are almost certainly higher. A conviction for even a less serious criminal act can have devastating and long-term ramifications, which is why you need an attorney with specific knowledge of the crime you have been charged with.
At Ringstrom Law, we have the knowledge to handle violent and nonviolent criminal charges brought against you. Our experienced criminal attorneys have a track record of winning cases for our clients, getting good outcomes, and dealing with a variety of government agencies concerning criminal cases. We have highlighted some of our main criminal defense practice areas in this article to help you understand your charges and how we can build legal defenses that are more likely to produce a favorable outcome.
Driving While Impaired (DWI)
Drunk or drugged driving in Crookston is known as driving while impaired. These charges may be brought by either the Polk County attorney’s office or a city prosecutor (however, felonies would only be brought by the Polk County attorney’s office). According to Minnesota law (Minn. Stat. 169A.20), it’s a crime for you as a driver to operate an automobile while impaired, including with a BAC (blood-alcohol content) of .08 percent or greater. If a chemical test has been conducted and the test results are beyond the designated limit, the prosecuting team won’t require any other evidence to prove that you were driving while impaired. There are, however, numerous defenses and legal strategies that can mitigate or nullify such evidence.
You might also face enhanced or aggravated penalties if your BAC results were 0.16 or higher at the time of driving. Further, if you are 20 years or younger and have been arrested for drinking and driving, you will be charged in accordance with Minnesota’s zero-tolerance laws, where you will be charged regardless of the amount of alcohol in your blood at the time of driving.
DWI offenses in Minnesota are classified as first, second, third, or fourth degree. One factor that distinguishes the degrees are a defendant’s number of arrests within a ten-year lookback period. If you are charged with the DWI, you will be subject to both criminal court and administrative proceedings. When convicted, you might end up with a driver’s license suspension (which can begin even before conviction), a jail or prison sentence, and hefty fines. There are other enhanced penalties if your impaired driving causes an accident resulting in death, injuries, or property damage.
With the help of a criminal attorney, you can challenge DWI charges, including the chemical test results. Experienced attorneys like those at Ringstrom Law have a better chance of getting your charges lowered, getting you a lighter sentence, or getting your case dismissed entirely.
In Crookston, convictions for criminal sexual misconduct result in penalties like having to register as a predatory offender, incarceration, fines, a conditional release period following incarceration, and less tangible penalties like a damaged reputation. A conviction for any sex offense can ruin your life. Luckily, although the penalties for these crimes are severe, being charged does not mean you will end up with a conviction. With the help of an experienced criminal attorney, you can fight for your rights and freedom.
Some of the commonly charged sex crimes in Minnesota are
- Statutory rape
- Sexting with a teen or minor
- Indecent exposure
- Child pornography
- Child sexual abuse
If you are convicted of a sex crime, chances are high you will be required to register as a predatory offender, which is the broad term in Minnesota for offenses including criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping (Minn. Stat. 243.166). The technicalities of maintaining registration over time can be daunting, leading some people to be criminally charged again simply for failing to register properly.
When you face sex crime charges, whether at the state or federal level, a lot is at stake. Fortunately, with the help of a Crookston criminal defense attorney, you can prevent or reduce the consequences. Ringstrom Law’s attorneys have the resources and skills to mount a vigorous defense and guide you through the process. Remember, the Polk County attorney’s office takes a very aggressive approach to serious felonies.
Like the rest of Minnesota, Crookston in Polk County has numerous theft crimes that vary in the severity of the punishment. Successful defenses for these different offenses also vary, which is why you need an attorney to investigate the specific facts of your case and mount valid, effective defenses.
Per Minnesota law, if you engage in any of the following actions, it would constitute a theft offense:
- Knowingly take, use, transfer, hide, or retain someone else’s property with the intent to deprive them of its benefits or value
- Take or drive someone’s vehicle without their permission
- Rent or lease private property but fail to pay for or return it
- Come across a lost item or property and fail to make reasonable efforts to return it to the owner
- Fraudulently acquire title, custody, or possession of products or services
- File false medical claims
- Tap into someone’s TV cable without their consent
Most theft offenses are categorized according to the value of the property or services taken without the owner’s consent (Minn. Stat. 609.52). In other incidents, classification is based on the type of property. Theft offense categories are as follows:
Property Valued at $500 or Less
If you take property that is not rightfully yours, worth no more than $500, you will be charged with the lowest-tier theft crime, petty theft. A conviction for this offense could still result in jail incarceration for as many as 90 days. Further, the court might impose $1,000 in fines.
Property Valued at $500 to $1,000
When you take property that is not yours and its worth ranges from $500 to $1,000, you will be facing more severe charges. A conviction for this level of theft can lead to jail custody for no more than 12 months and a maximum of $3,000 in court fines.
Property Valued at $1,000 to $5,000
In the event that the worth of the services or property taken without the owner's permission ranges from $1,000 to $5,000, the offense is punishable by a maximum of five years of state imprisonment. The judge could also order you to pay court fines amounting to $10,000. Theft charges whose conviction can result in these consequences include the following circumstances:
- Theft of a schedule III, IV, or V controlled substance
- You are being convicted for the second or subsequent theft of services or property worth between $500 and $1,000
- The property you are accused of stealing is a court or public record
- You illegally obtained the property during a riot or protest
- The property in question is a car
Property Valued at $5,000 or More
When you have been accused of stealing property or services worth at least $5,000 and you are convicted, you will be sentenced to no more than 120 months in prison and court-imposed fines as much as $20,000. Theft offenses that might result in these penalties include
- Theft of a schedule I or II controlled substance
- Theft of trade secrets
- Taking an explosive or incendiary device without authorization
Property or Services Worth $35,000 or more
The highest tier of theft you could be charged with is one that involves property or services worth at least $35,000. Upon sentencing, you can be sent to state prison for no more than 12 years and pay a fine of as much as $100,000. The theft offenses that can result in these consequences include
- Theft of a firearm (of whatever value)
- Theft of property or services worth no less than $35,000 where specific aggravating factors are present like deceit or fraud
It’s worth noting that a sentence for any theft crime can have meaningful consequences for your life, including future employment prospects. It’s important that if you are arrested or charged with a theft crime, you reach out to a criminal attorney for legal guidance and representation.
To fight drug abuse, Minnesota has enacted strict laws regarding the sale and possession of drugs. Drug crimes are classified at five degrees for felonies as well as separate misdemeanor offenses. As with other types of crimes, the penalties for these levels of drug crimes depend on the degree of the crime. If you are charged with a first-degree drug crime (Minn. Stat. 152.021), you will face stricter penalties than being charged with a fifth-degree drug crime (Minn. Stat. 152.025).
Some of the factors that determine the level of offense a Crookston prosecutor in Polk County will charge you with are
- The kind of drugs in question
- The location where the drugs were found
- The amount or weight of drugs in your possession
The penalties for drug-related offenses also vary based on these factors.
When you’re faced with drug-related charges in Crookston, a criminal defense attorney with experience in this practice area can provide the advice and information you need. One common defense to drug crimes is to challenge whatever search was conducted by law enforcement, with a goal of keeping the search results from being used against you in court. At Ringstrom Law, we have extensive experience in litigating drug suppression issues, and have gotten major charges dismissed.
The Polk County attorney’s office prosecutes drug charges more aggressively than perhaps any other county in Minnesota. You need experience and expertise on your side.
In Crookston, the kind of violent crimes it’s possible to be charged with include murder, other types of homicide, assault, stalking, child abuse or neglect, kidnapping, battery, and disorderly conduct. The penalties for these offenses tend to be severe, but a skilled criminal defense attorney will help you create a legal strategy and get the best outcome possible.
Find a Crookston Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
At Ringstrom Law, we are dedicated to helping you fight criminal charges in Crookston, Minnesota, and protecting your future by preventing a conviction or having the charges and penalties reduced. You can call us today at 218-284-0484 for a free consultation.