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Understanding Minnesota’s Enhanceable Offenses

Minnesota Offense Levels In order to understand how enhanceable offenses operate, you must first understand the levels of criminal offenses in Minnesota.  There are four: PETTY MISDEMEANOR MISDEMEANOR GROSS MISDEMEANOR FELONY Not considered a "crime" Maximum punishment:  $300 Fine Maximum punishment:  $1,000 Fine and/or 90 days jail Maximum Punishment:  $3,000 Fine and/or up to 1 year in jail Maximum punishment:  unlimited fine (dependent on specific crime committed) and/or lifetime imprisonment (at least one year and one day in prison) How do Enhanceable Offenses work? A number of Minnesota's criminal offenses are "enhanceable" – meaning under certain circumstances [...]

2019-09-19T15:26:42+00:00September 19, 2019|Criminal Defense|

Minneapolis Bus Driver Shooting: Shooter Claims Self Defense. What Does That Mean?!?

Backstory: According to Local News Reports Earlier this week a motorist, identified as Kenneth Lily, collided with a school bus as it merged onto the freeway in Minneapolis.  Lily pulled off to the shoulder and the school bus pulled in behind his vehicle.  Lily then exits his vehicle and confronts the bus driver, purportedly to enter into the school bus.  The bus driver denies him entry because there was a student on board.  Lily then moves to the front of the bus and fires five-shots from his 9MM handgun at the bus's front windshield.  The bus driver was [...]

2019-02-08T21:44:22+00:00February 8, 2019|Criminal Defense|

Spreigl Evidence: The Basics

So you're charged with a crime and are gearing up for a jury trial.  Do you have a criminal past? Did you know that the government may be able to use evidence of your criminal past against you?  In Minnesota this is commonly referred to as Spreigl Evidence, found under Minnesota Rule of Evidence 404. What is Spreigl Evidence? In short, Spreigl Evidence is evidence of other crimes or bad acts, other than those related to the current case.  Rule 404 generally states that evidence of a defendant's prior crimes or bad acts cannot be used to suggest that he/she [...]

2018-07-23T17:03:53+00:00July 20, 2018|Criminal Defense, FAQ|

First Degree Murder Charge Results in Not Guilty Verdict

Charges: 1st Degree Murder                                                                                                               Premeditation and Intent Penalty: Life Imprisonment 2nd Degree Murder Intentional Maximum Penalty:  40 years Imprisonment Outcome: Not Guilty of First Degree Murder Hung Jury on Second Degree Murder Background: Our client was facing [...]

2018-05-25T22:18:49+00:00December 18, 2017|Criminal Defense, Tom Sieben|

Deer Hunting Opener Is Right Around the Corner, Are You Prohibited From Possessing A Firearm?

Is your current or past criminal offense affecting your ability to get into the deer stand this year? ***Notice: This article is not intended to be legal advice.  Every criminal case has its own set of unique circumstances. If you have questions about your specific case contact your attorney.  If you do not have an attorney call for a free consultation*** It's that time of year again to unpack your blaze orange and dust off your shotgun or rifle.  Time to get outside and weather the elements in the hopes of harvesting that trophy buck you've been eyeing in [...]

2018-05-25T22:18:49+00:00November 3, 2017|Criminal Defense, Gun Rights|

Sieben & Cotter Criminal Defense: We Get the Job Done!

What level of service can you expect from us as your criminal defense attorneys? First and foremost, WE GET THE JOB DONE!  Practically speaking that could mean winning your case outright (i.e. acquittal or dismissal of charges) or securing the best possible outcome for you.  As a criminal defense law firm our mission is to achieve excellent results through honest and aggressive representation. Winning your Case This is our primary focus at the beginning of each and every case.  We start by gathering all of the government's evidence against you.  Then, we carefully review each piece of evidence — [...]

Patrick Cotter Recertified as Criminal Law Specialist

The Minnesota State Bar Association announces the recertification of Patrick L. Cotter, Sieben & Cotter, PLLC, as a Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA) Certified Criminal Law Specialist.  This Certification program is administered by the MSBA and approved by the State Board of Legal Certification. The certified specialist designation is earned by leading attorneys who have completed a rigorous approval process, including an examination in the area of criminal law, peer review attesting to a reputation for criminal law competence, and documented jury trial and contested hearing experience.  Attorney Patrick Cotter earned his Criminal Law Specialist designation through [...]

2018-05-25T22:18:49+00:00August 11, 2017|Criminal Defense, Patrick Cotter|

What is the “Plain View” Exception and How Does It Apply In Minnesota?

Plain View Exception to the Fourth Amendment: A General Discussion Generally, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 10 of the Minnesota Constitution require police to attain probable cause and a warrant before a search of property or seizure of a person will be deemed reasonable and legal. A search or seizure may still be deemed reasonable and legal if it falls into any of the judicially recognized exceptions to the warrant requirement – plain view; search incident to arrest; consent; stop and frisk; automobile; or emergency. This post will focus on the “Plain View” [...]

2016-12-06T19:58:18+00:00December 6, 2016|Criminal Defense, Federal Crimes Defense|

Minnesota Supreme Court: BB Gun Not a “Firearm”

Can a Felon Possess a BB Gun Under Minnesota Statute § 609.165? On October 19, 2016, the Minnesota Supreme Court addressed the question: "whether an air-powered BB gun is a 'firearm' under the felon-in-possession statute, Minn. Stat. § 609.165 (2014)." The statute makes it a crime for a person with a prior felony conviction to possess a firearm, but it does not define the term "firearm." The Court ultimately determined that a BB gun is not a firearm in regards to the statute. The case was State v. Haywood. State v. Haywood In the case, police searched Haywood's vehicle and found a CO2-powered [...]

2016-11-20T19:57:43+00:00October 31, 2016|Criminal Defense, Gun Rights|

Pre-Conviction DNA Testing—Is it Legal?

Pre-Conviction DNA Testing On October 13th, the Minnesota Supreme Court will review State v. Emerson where the Dakota County district court prevented a sheriff from collecting a DNA sample from a person charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon where the trial resulted in a hung jury and he was not convicted of the crime. The sheriff sought to collect Emerson’s DNA stating that it was mandatory under Minnesota Statute § 299C.105 (2016). It states (in relevant part): Subdivision 1. Required Collection of Biological Specimen for DNA Testing. (a)(1) persons who have appeared in court and have had a judicial [...]

2016-11-20T19:57:43+00:00October 4, 2016|Criminal Defense|

Blood-Draw Search Warrant Requirements

What Evidence Can Authorities Search Your Blood For in the Context of Criminal Vehicular Operation? A recent Minnesota Supreme Court decision, State v. Fawcett, No. A15-0938, (Minn. Aug. 24, 2016), held that probable cause supported the search of Defendant’s blood and the search permitted testing for both alcohol and controlled substances. To fully understand the impact of this decision we must first look at the requirements for a search warrant and then examine how they apply to the facts of this case. Search Warrant Requirements Under the Fourth Amendment, search warrants must be issued by a neutral and detached magistrate [...]

2016-11-20T19:57:43+00:00August 29, 2016|Criminal Defense, DWI, Vehicular Crimes|

Minnesota’s New Drug Sentencing Laws Effective August 1st

Minnesota’s New Drug Sentencing Laws Effective As Of August 1, 2016 After a long battle in the legislature, many sentencing guidelines are being reduced for first and second degree possession offenses, while reserving the more severe punishment for high-level drug dealers, or violent offenders. The following is a brief overview of the changes that took effect on August 1st. To view a complete overview of the proposed changes visit the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission website here. The Severity Level of Most High-Level Drug Offenses Were Lowered First and second degree drug offenses were lowered by one severity level. [...]

2016-11-20T19:57:43+00:00August 5, 2016|Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes|

Top Reasons to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney

Top Reasons to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney We know the law and the legal process A criminal defense attorney has spent years studying the law, and is intimately familiar with the criminal-law landscape. In every criminal case, there are mountains of court documents, deadlines, and precise legal procedures. Sorting through and tracking these are time-consuming and difficult to deal with. For attorneys, all of this is second nature, saving you the time and giving you peace of mind. Protection from the prosecution and their evidence As local criminal defense attorneys, we are familiar with the judges and prosecutors in the area [...]

2016-07-29T18:17:21+00:00July 29, 2016|Criminal Defense, Federal Crimes Defense|

Acquittals, Convictions and Everything In Between

Acquittals, Convictions and Everything In Between: Understand What the Disposition of Your Case Means for You Understanding the outcome of your case is very important because of the lasting impacts that it can have on your life.  Below we will discuss the terminology associated with the various case dispositions, as well as, the consequences that they will have on your criminal record and your life moving forward. The collateral consequences of your case includes your gun rights, sex offender registration, loss of professional licensing and bars to employment, housing, education, and ability to receive public benefits. Conviction: You have been [...]

2016-11-20T19:57:43+00:00July 20, 2016|Criminal Defense, Expungements, Gun Rights|

Is Your Electronic Data Safe From Government View?

Is Your Electronic Data Safe from the View of the Government’s Eyes? In this evolving digital age, vast amounts of personal data are available at your fingertips. This data ranges from text messages, voicemails, photographs, videos, and notes saved on your personal device to emails and posts to social media. Importantly, just because it is “deleted” does not mean that it is permanently erased.  Law enforcement has the capability to recover this information.  Citizens can expect that every text message, social media post, and search of the internet can be recovered and used against you. Just because this information is [...]

2016-11-20T19:57:46+00:00December 1, 2015|Criminal Defense, Electronic Data|

Minneapolis – St. Paul Criminal Defense Attorneys on call 24/7 651-455-1555

As experienced criminal defense and personal injury attorneys, we know how quickly you need protection and an advocate in your corner. We provide our clients with our office and cell phone numbers for 24/7 availability. We also know how important it is for you to have someone who will listen, understand what happened, provide experienced counsel and stand by you. The Sieben & Cotter Law office is located in South St. Paul, in Dakota County, convenient to Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the Twin Cities metro area, also serving greater Minnesota and Wisconsin. Read attorney reviews or contact us 24/7 at 651-455-1555 | Tom Sieben | Patrick Cotter