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Minneapolis Criminal Defense Blog

The 3 different aspects of plea negotiation

While almost everyone is familiar with a plea deal, many don't realize that there are actually three aspects of one that can be negotiated. This includes the facts, charge and sentence.

Fact bargaining is one of the most uncommon types of negotiation that takes place. It involves a defendant stipulating, or admitting, that certain aspects of the prosecution's case are accurate. A defendant may concede that some facts that a prosecutor intends to present at trial actually occurred as part of an agreement to ensure that others aren't introduced into evidence.

Judges aren't required to follow federal sentencing guidelines

Federal Sentencing Guidelines are a uniform set of nonbinding rules that all U.S. Attorneys are to use to guide them in making sentencing recommendations in criminal cases. It's ultimately up to the federal judge, however, to use their own discretion to decide how much they want to adhere to them when sentencing a convicted defendant.

These guidelines first started being utilized in the United States federal court system in 1987. The judge presiding over the case Payne v. Tennessee, 501 U.S. 808, 820 (1991), argued that these guidelines provide a "very precise calibration of sentences." They argued that they accomplished this by taking into account a variety of factors including harm and subjective guilt.

Civil asset forfeiture – the basics

Imagine that you are going to buy a car, not from a dealership, but from a private seller. Since there will be no financing involved, you withdraw $30,000 in cash and take it with you to meet the seller.

On the way there, a Minneapolis police officer stops you for a minor traffic violation. In the course of the traffic stop, the officer notices some of the cash protruding from a bag and begins to question you about the reason you are carrying so much money. Unfortunately, the office does not believe your story about purchasing a car and seizes the cash.

Man pleads guilty to wire fraud conspiracy charges in Minneapolis

A 27-year-old California man entered a guilty plea on conspiracy to commit wire fraud charges in a federal courtroom in Minneapolis on Oct. 25. Prior to his plea, he stood accused of having convinced multiple individuals in the Twin Cities area to buy Target gift guards for him as a part of a tax scheme.

According to the indictment in the case, the man reached out to victims by phone. He'd identify himself as someone working in collections for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). He'd tell them that they owed money and were facing arrest. On his messages, he'd leave a number for them to call him back.

Your Fourth Amendment rights extend to your electronic devices

If the police suspect you of selling or trafficking drugs, you must be especially careful to preserve your rights against unlawful searches and seizure. While those rights cover your person, your home and your car under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, the protections also can extend to the electronic data on your smartphone, computer hard drive and other devices.

To put it simply, if the cops arrive at your doorstep or stop you on the street and ask to search your phone, you have the right to refuse and ask to see the warrant. If they don't have a warrant, they will then need to obtain one before examining your phone. Of course, you should also keep your phone locked to add another layer of security between you and the prying eyes of the law.

Why do courts offer plea bargains?

Typically, a plea bargain means you have to plead guilty. If you do so, you are offered a sentence that is not as harsh as the one you may have received otherwise. You may be able to plead your way into lesser charges.

For example, if facing murder charges, you may be able to take a plea bargain that gives you manslaughter charges. If facing jail time for a drug offense, you may be able to use a plea bargain to get probation and fines without the jail time.

A conviction for domestic assault can affect child custody

Parents who may have been charged with domestic assault may struggle to retain custody of their children if they're convicted of such a crime.

This stems largely from the fact that American Bar Association (ABA) and other studies have shown that oftentimes, abusers who retain custody of their children will use them as pawns to exert some type of influence over their victim. This person often happens to be a child's other parent.

Minneapolis postal worker accused of shooting at Federal Reserve

A 43-year-old Minneapolis U.S. Postal Service worker was charged with several crimes in Hennepin County District Court on Wednesday, Aug. 22. He now faces property damage, attempted bodily harm and reckless discharge of a firearm charges.

Officers with Minneapolis Police Department's Violent Criminal Apprehension Team were led to the man's apartment on Monday, Aug. 20 by piecing together clues in a shooting case. They believe that the U.S. Postal Service employee was the person responsible for shooting from the roof of the city's main post office in the direction of the Federal Reserve Bank across the street on July 21.

Drug court is not always an option for Minneapolis defendants

Minneapolis is home to some 2.5 million people, at least one-half of the entire population of the state of Minnesota. In addition to being a densely populated city, it's also one known for its extreme weather. In the winter, it's snowy and bitterly cold and in the summer, it's sunny and hot. Seasonal changes in weather coupled with everyday pressures of life send many Minnesotans over the edge and to embrace vices like drugs.

While the use of drugs is not unique to our one state, there are some drug trends in Minnesota that have emerged over the past few years.

Harvesting, fishing and hunting in Minnesota are regulated

Hunting, fishing and harvesting are popular activities in Minnesota. Many people think it is their right to do these activities without any restrictions but this isn't the case. You need to find out what licenses, permits and regulations are applicable to your chosen activities.

Failing to comply with hunting and fishing seasons, licensing requirements and other regulations can lead to criminal and civil penalties. Not only do you have to worry about the state's laws, you also need at least a basic understanding of the Lacey Act, which is a federal law that protects wildlife and plants.

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Joseph S. Friedberg Chartered

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Minneapolis, MN 55415

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