Rest assured that this blog will not be nearly as boring as the title implies. And, there is nothing boring about criminal charges if you or a loved one happens to be facing them.
All criminal charges are serious. Even misdemeanors have significant direct and collateral consequences. Fortunately, almost all criminal cases are defensible. A St. Paul felony lawyer just needs to know where to look to find them.
In one way or another, all these defenses relate to the burden of proof in a criminal case, which is beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty. And, that proof must be so overwhelming that there are no reasonable questions as to the defendant’s guilt.
Ramsey County prosecutors must have substantial evidence to meet their burden. So, if a St. Paul felony lawyer excludes such evidence, the chances of successfully resolving the matter go through the roof.
Many criminal cases, especially drug crimes and other infractions that require physical evidence, hinge on search warrants and search warrant exceptions.
The Fourth Amendment prohibits all unreasonable searches and seizures. Furthermore, under the exclusionary rule, any illegally obtained evidence is inadmissible in court. If officers did not have a warrant supported by probable cause, seized evidence might still be admissible if:
Other common search warrant exceptions include stop-and-frisk searches, automobile searches, and searches after lawful arrests.
The Miranda rule is another procedural point. When custodial interrogation begins, police officers must give suspects their Miranda rights, which are the right to:
Miranda rights also include admonitions. For example, it’s not enough to tell suspects they have a right to remain silent. Suspects must also know that whatever they say can be used against them.
“Custodial interrogation” is a rather controversial phrase for St. Paul felony lawyers. This phase begins when suspects do not feel free to leave and when officers ask even seemingly benign questions. So, custodial interrogation arguably begins as soon as officers approach vehicles. However, officers almost never Mirandaize suspects at that point. A St. Paul felony lawyer might be able to use the failure to timely Mirandize the defendant and exclude any statements or evidence.
This phrase means a criminal act. As mentioned, prosecutors must prove the defendant committed a criminal act beyond any reasonable doubt. St. Paul felony lawyers need not prove anything. They only need to create doubt.
Significantly, there is a difference between immoral and illegal. Sex crimes are a good example. Many sex acts are immoral, at least in the eyes of some jurors. However, they are not illegal in the eyes of the law.
A criminal state of mind is an element in moat criminal cases. Once again, Ramsey County prosecutors must establish mens rea beyond a reasonable doubt. The state typically uses physical evidence to prove things like:
Regulatory offenses, like DWI, have no mental requirement. People do not need to intentionally, knowingly, or even recklessly drive drunk, at least in most cases. Knowledge might be an element in some drugged driving prosecutions, but that’s the subject of another blog.
Normally, voluntary intoxication is not a mens rea defense. However, some offenses, such as aggravated assault, are specific intent crimes. The defendant must intend both the conduct (hitting the alleged victim) and the result (seriously injuring the alleged victim). As a matter of law, intoxicated people cannot take that second mental step.
All criminal cases have lots of moving parts, and the state has the burden of proof on each one. For a free consultation with an experienced St. Paul felony lawyer, contact Capitol City Law Group, LLC. Go online now, call us at (651) 998-7634, or stop by 287 6th St E, Suite 20, St Paul, MN 55101.