All felony convictions carry significant collateral consequences. At a minimum, convicted felons are usually permanently ineligible for many professional licenses and many government financial benefits, including student loans and welfare benefits. Convictions also reduce people to the rank of second-class citizens. These individuals usually cannot vote, serve on a jury, or hold public office. Moreover, even for lawful permanent residents, felony convictions could mean deportation.
Furthermore, probation conditions are usually quite restrictive, particularly in felonies. Conditions usually include reporting once a month, attending self-improvement classes, and performing community service. Additionally, the defendant remains under the thumb of court supervision, which is typically four years in most felony cases.
With the usual exception of immigration consequences, Ramsey County judges are normally not required to inform defendants of these consequences. And, the only way to reduce or eliminate them is for a St. Paul criminal defense attorney to obtain post-conviction relief, as outlined below.
Appeal is the rarest form of post-conviction relief. Pleas resolve as many as 97 percent of felony cases. And, pleas almost always include appeals waivers. Unless there is clear evidence of egregious misconduct (e.g. the defendant’s St. Paul criminal defense attorney threatened to harm the defendant’s family unless she pleaded guilty), it is pretty much impossible to appeal a plea bargain agreement.
Trial verdicts are not much easier to appeal. Generally, the defendant must show there was a critical mistake and that mistake affected the trial’s outcome. Some common arguments include:
Courts have consistently held that the defendant is entitled to a fair trial, but not a perfect trial. So, the burden of proof is quite high.
It might be nearly impossible to overturn a criminal conviction on appeal, but it is usually rather easy to terminate probation early. Early discharge does more than end the aforementioned court supervision. Early discharge also sets the stage for possible expunction, as outlined below.
According to Section 609.37 of the Minnesota Statutes, most defendants are eligible for early discharge, as long as they have no prior felonies. As a practical matter, however, the defendant should have completed at least half the term, paid all fines, and attended all required classes.
If the probation officer approves the request and the defendant meets these informal requirements, many Ramsey County judges sign early termination orders without hearings. If the probation officer does not give a thumbs up or thumbs down, a St. Paul criminal defense attorney must generally present evidence that early discharge would be in everyone’s best interests. If the probation officer disapproves of the request, the early discharge hearing is difficult to win.
Record expungement in Minnesota is more like record sealing in other states. The bad news is that expungement relief is limited in Minnesota. The good news is that it is easier for a St. Paul criminal defense attorney to expunge a record. There are two types of expungement in the Gopher State:
Certain offenses, such as most sex crimes, are not expugnable. Post-conviction relief may be available in sex offense cases, but the rules are different.
An attorney can keep fighting for you even after the judge’s gavel falls. For a free consultation with an experienced St. Paul criminal defense attorney, 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.