What is a Pre-Trial Diversion Program in Minnesota?

December 30, 2013  |  Adriel B. Villarreal

Hennepin County and Anoka County will sometimes offer a “pre-trial diversion program” to offenders who meet certain requirements. These diversions can take a number of different forms. For example, defendants could be asked to attend counseling or treatment programs. They may be asked to write apology letters or essays. Or they may be asked to do community service. Usually these programs are offered to non-violent, first-time offenders who are being accused of a very specific list of crimes. They are considered to be quite successful at preventing repeat offenses. If you meet the requirements for a pre-trial diversion program your charges will be dropped as soon as you complete the program. This is one way to avoid a criminal record, jail time, and other consequences that come along with being convicted of a crime. You need to speak to a qualified attorney to see if you or the charges you are facing make you eligible for one of these programs. You need to do this before making a plea, since making any plea, including “not guilty,” can render you ineligible for a pre-trial diversion. If you are ineligible for a pre-trial diversion then your attorney can advise you on your next best course of action. It is very important to consult an attorney…

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What Should I Do if I’m Pulled Over and I’ve Been Drinking in Minnesota?

December 27, 2013  |  Adriel B. Villarreal

You’ve had a drink at a party or at the bar, though you don’t think you’re drunk. Still, you get pulled over. What you do or don’t do during the next few seconds will have a huge impact on whether you’re charged with DUI or DWI, and on what the eventual outcome of your case may be. Your goal when you get pulled over should be to provide the police with as little ammunition as possible. Start by having your license and registration ready for the officer when he steps up to your window. If you fumble for them you can give him reasonable cause to suspect that you may be impaired. You want to offer the impression that you are completely under control. If you are concerned that the officer might smell alcohol on you, then be careful how far you lower the window. You are only legally required to lower the window just enough to pass your information through. The officer may ask if you know why he pulled you over. Just say “No, sir.” Be respectful, don’t lie, and don’t offer any additional information. For all you know, your tail light is out or you were speeding. If the officer asks whether you’ve been drinking you aren’t obligated to answer,…

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How Can I Get Bailed Out of Jail in Minnesota?

December 23, 2013  |  Adriel B. Villarreal

In Minnesota, there are three different ways to secure your release from jail. Each becomes available after a bail hearing. One way is for the judge to release you on recognizance. This means that he will release you on your promise to appear in court every time you are summoned, and to comply with any other conditions he may set for your release. This is most likely to happen when the charges are relatively minor, or if you’ve never been charged before. It’s more common for the judge to set a bail amount. If the crime is very serious or if you’re considered a flight risk you can expect that bail amount to be relatively expensive. Once the bail amount is set you can post bail one of two ways. The first way is to pay the amount in cash. If you do this there is a chance you will get all or some of your money back. You will get it all back if: You attend every court date. You comply with all of the conditions of your release. You are found not guilty. You may get some of the money back even if you are declared guilty, so long as you complied with your court dates and met all of the…

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