Sieben & Cotter: Criminal Defense Attorneys

Criminal Defense, Minneapolis – Saint Paul and MN

If you face criminal charges, you must get the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. We provide criminal defense representation in cases involving violent crimes, criminal sexual conduct, drug crimes, domestic abuse, white collar crimes and similar serious offenses, with excellent case results.

Call 651-455-1555 today to schedule a comprehensive consultation at no charge to you. We will listen to your story carefully and help you determine an appropriate course of action.

Frequently Asked Questions

Generally, police need a search warrant to search your car or home. When it comes to your car police may only need probable cause in order to search. Probable Cause means that the officer must have certain trustworthy facts to believe that a crime has been committed, or evidence will be found inside your vehicle. Minor traffic violations do not always give the officer probable cause to search your vehicle (e.g. speeding, broken tail light, etc..). Do not be tricked or intimidated by the officer. For the most part if he is asking for consent to search your property then he does not have probable cause. You always have the right to say “NO” to the officer’s request to search your home or car. Be calm and courteous to the officer, but say something like “officer I understand that you are doing your job, but I do not consent to the search.” Refusal to consent to a search is not a crime, and is not evidence of a crime. It is your right under the 4th Amendment. If police have probable cause or a search warrant they will not need your consent to search, and most likely will not be asking. Protect your rights and do not consent to unwarranted searches.
You may be charged immediately by citation, or later by Complaint by a city or county attorney’s office. It is important to immediately seek representation if you are, or think you will be, charged with a crime in Minnesota. You must establish a strong defense for your case from the very beginning. A strong defense can help you avoid a conviction or negotiate a lesser penalty. Attorneys Tom Sieben and Patrick Cotter are experienced attorneys who can thoroughly investigate the unique details of your specific case. They will find any and all possible defenses in your case and help you achieve a favorable result.
Questioning by the police can be intimidating, aggressive, and frightening. It is important that you understand your rights so that you can protect yourself. If you are arrested or detained you have constitutional rights, known as Miranda Rights. This means you have the right to speak with an attorney. You have the right to have your attorney present with you before any further questioning can take place. You have the right to remain silent. It is important to remember that your silence cannot be used against you, but anything you do say can and will be. If you are not under arrest, you have another right. You have the right to refuse to answer any questions, walk away, or leave the police station. You will most likely not be told this right, and many people are hesitant to exercise this right because of the uncomfortable situation. Remember to protect yourself and ALWAYS exercise your rights.
There are four levels of offenses in Minnesota. A petty misdemeanor is not a crime, and usually involves some sort of fine but does not include jail time. Felonies, Gross Misdemeanors, and Misdemeanors are crimes, with Felonies carry the most severe penalties, and Misdemeanors carrying the least severe penalties. Category: Petty Misdemeanor Maximum Sanction: Fine of up to $300; Not a crime because incarceration is not an allowable sanction Examples: Most traffic violations Category: Misdemeanor Maximum Sanction: 90 days in jail and/or up to $1,000 fine Examples: Driving without a license; Simple Assault (punching someone); First-time DWI; Theft of property less than $500 Category: Gross Misdemeanor Maximum Sanction: Over one year imprisonment and/or up to maximum fine specified in law; One year in jail and/or up to $3,000 fine Examples: Second DWI in ten years; Theft of property worth between $500-$1000 Category: Felony Maximum Sanction: Maximum imprisonment penalties from 366 days to life imprisonment Examples: Murder; Criminal Sexual Conduct (most); Theft of property more than $1,000
After you are arrested you will first be booked. During the booking process, law enforcement will ask you basic background information (name, date of birth, address, etc.), and fingerprint and photograph you. If you are held in custody after your arrest you will then go in front of a Judge to determine whether or not bail is appropriate. Bail is a sum of money that you will have to provide to the court as collateral in order to ensure your appearance in court. Your next appearance will be the Arraignment. This is where you will be formally charged, and the charges against you are read. You will also likely be read your rights, and asked if you would like to plead “Guilty” or “Not Guilty.” Many people have not retained an attorney at this point. If you have not, your best option is to plead “Not Guilty” and speak to an attorney. The second and third court appearances will be various pre-trial hearings (depending on the charges). At these hearings, your attorney may argue evidentiary issues, or for your charges to be dismissed. If your charges are not dismissed by the court you will proceed to trial. Trials follow the same general timeline: 1.Opening Statements: This is where both sides (prosecution and defense) introduce their case to the judge and/or jury. 2.Presentation of Evidence: The most extensive stage of a criminal trial, the presentation of evidence is where the case is argued. Witnesses are called and evidence presented. This is where the prosecution attempts to prove to the court that you are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt”. 3.Closing Arguments: This stage is the last opportunity for both sides to address the court before a verdict is reached. 4.Jury Instructions: The judge will instruct the jurors on their responsibilities before they retire. 5.Jury Deliberations: The jury will retire to a private area to determine your guilt or innocence. 6.Verdict: Once a verdict is reached, the jury will return to the courtroom. If you are found guilty the judge will schedule a sentencing date. This process can be long, confusing, frustrating, and maybe a little scary. It is very important that you are represented by an experienced attorney that will work hard for a favorable result in your case. If you have been arrested and charged with a crime please contact Sieben & Cotter at (651) 455-1555. We are experienced and reputable attorneys who understand the criminal process in Minnesota.
All persons charged with a crime in Minnesota are entitled to a trial. If the offense is punishable by incarceration (misdemeanor to Felony) then you have a right to a jury trial. If the offense is not punishable by incarceration (petty misdemeanor) you have a right to a court trial. A jury trial will be held in front of a jury of your peers, approximately 6-12 persons (depending on your charge). A court trial, on the other hand, is held in front of the Judge, without the jury. At trial, The State must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest evidentiary standard. If you go to trial, you will have the right to confront your accusers – in other words, you or your attorney will have the right to cross-examine the witnesses that the prosecution calls to testify. Further, you will have the right to subpoena witnesses, and call witnesses to testify on your own behalf. As a defendant, you do not have to testify, and if you do not, the prosecution cannot comment on your failure to do so. Prior to commencement of the trial you will be able to contest the admissibility of evidence obtained against you. Evidence may be suppressed for a variety of reasons such as irrelevancy, if it was obtained in violation of your constitutional rights, or is unduly prejudicial or unreliable.
I keep hearing “burden of proof” and “beyond a reasonable doubt” but what do these terms mean? Burden of proof can define the duty placed upon a party to prove or disprove a disputed fact, or it can define which party bears this burden. In criminal cases, the burden of proof is placed on the prosecution, who must demonstrate that the defendant is guilty before a jury may convict him or her. But in some jurisdictions, the defendant has the burden of establishing the existence of certain facts that give rise to a defense, such as the insanity plea. In civil cases, the plaintiff is normally charged with the burden of proof, but the defendant can be required to establish certain defenses. Commonly in Minnesota courts “beyond a reasonable doubt” is defined as, “such proof as ordinarily prudent men and women would act upon in their most important affairs. A reasonable doubt is doubt based on reason and common sense. It does not mean fanciful or capricious doubt, nor does it mean beyond possibility of all doubt.”
A plea bargain is an agreement in a criminal case between the defendant and the prosecutor where the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concessions by the prosecutor. These agreements are usually negotiated before trial, and in many situations the guilty plea is for a lesser charge than originally brought by the prosecutor.
Yes. The government has unlimited resources to prosecute you in court. Experienced criminal defense attorneys, like Tom Sieben and Patrick Cotter, know the law and how the legal system works. They have experience handling cases and speaking in a courtroom. They know what questions to ask and how to prepare evidence. Hiring an attorney from the very beginning of your case can mean the difference between a conviction and an acquittal.
As with many other aspect in life, a good reputation matters. Lawyers who are well-liked and respected in the legal community are more likely to achieve a more favorable result for their client. Prosecutors and judges are more likely to trust and work with defense attorneys with a good reputation. Attorneys Tom Sieben and Patrick Cotter have been working for years in Minnesota courtrooms. They believe that a good reputation in invaluable in this profession, and they hold themselves to the highest professional standards.
Attorneys Tom Sieben and Patrick Cotter have a combined twenty-four years of criminal trial experience. They understand that every case is unique and know how to put together the right team of professionals to address the specific needs of your case. They adopt a listen-first approach, and pride themselves on crafting an honest and aggressive representation in order to achieve successful results for their clients.

The importance of getting experienced legal counsel

Criminal charges can come with extremely serious, life-long consequences—things you may not even think about. Criminal charges on your record can jeopardize your ability to get a job, secure a loan, get housing or even lose recreational privileges such as hunting. It is crucial that you do everything you can to keep your record clean—we will provide the help you need.

Flat fee—no hidden charges

When we provide a quote for your criminal defense case or trial, it is an all-encompassing flat fee. This means that from the time you sign the retainer to the end of your trial, your fee will never change. This includes filing fees, court fees, investigation time, professional services and any extra hearings.

Contact us today for your free consultation

If you face serious criminal charges, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Tom Sieben, Attorney MN

Tom Sieben — Sieben & Cotter, PLLC

Tom is a third-generation lawyer in the Sieben family and is devoted representing individuals in criminal defense, taking a straightforward and aggressive approach to cases.

Learn more about Tom Sieben

See Tom Sieben’s recent Victories

Patrick Cotter, Criminal Defense Attorney MN

Patrick Cotter — Sieben & Cotter, PLLC

Patrick is a Board-Certified Criminal Law Specialist, and he takes great pride in providing expert personal injury and criminal defense representation for his clients.

Learn more about Patrick Cotter

See Patrick Cotter’s recent Victories

Minnesota State Bar Association Criminal Law Certified Specialist, Patrick Cotter
Best Lawyers Best Law Firms US News 2023
Super Lawyers Top 100
The National Trial Lawyers Criminal Defense Attorney
Call Sieben & Cotter at 651-455-1555 to arrange your free and comprehensive consultation, or send a request for more information.
The Sieben & Cotter Law office is located in South St. Paul, making it convenient to access attorneys in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the Twin Cities metro area. We also serve greater Minnesota and Wisconsin. We know that criminal defense concerns may require more immediate attention, contact Tom Sieben or Patrick Cotter.