Get Results With Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney

We never forget that the most important part in any legal matter is the people involved.


Whether you are charged with DWI, theft or some other crime, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to work on your behalf. The number of criminal lawyers in MN can feel overwhelming. How do you know which lawyer is right for you? How do you decide who you should trust with your case and the consequences of its outcome?

We understand it’s hard to select the best attorney for your situation, so we’ve created nine tips for finding the best defense attorney for your situation.


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Get Results With Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney

We never forget that the most important part in any legal matter is the people involved.


Whether you are charged with DWI, theft or some other crime, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to work on your behalf. The number of criminal lawyers in MN can feel overwhelming. How do you know which lawyer is right for you? How do you decide who you should trust with your case and the consequences of its outcome?

We understand it’s hard to select the best attorney for your situation, so we’ve created nine tips for finding the best defense attorney for your situation.

Birrell Criminal Defense Contact (612) 238-1939 Today

All Experience Is Not the Same

An estate planning lawyer with 10 years of experience is not the same as a criminal lawyer with experience defending people with charges similar to yours. If you are looking for a Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney, make sure he or she specializes in your charges.

Trust Your Feelings

Schedule initial consultations with criminal defense lawyers who appear to meet your criteria. Ask yourself how this prospective lawyer makes you feel. Choose a lawyer who acts as your advisor, taking the time to explain each of your options and then allowing you to decide which option you want to take. If feel wary of your lawyer or he or she pressures you into which decision to make, choose someone else.

Look for Confidence

Avoid arrogant lawyers like the plague. When defending criminal cases, there is always an element of the unknown. No lawyer can guarantee a specific outcome. Your criminal defense lawyers should build a strong case through extreme diligence and preparation. Do not choose a lawyer who fills your head with promises they cannot possibly guarantee.

It Takes a Village

We’ve all heard our mother or grandmother say it takes a village to raise a child. This sentiment rings true for criminal defense as well. It takes a strong legal team to prepare for your court case. You will meet the receptionist when you walk in the door. Before you leave, ask to meet the rest of the administrative staff, paralegals and other lawyers. Everyone should be courteous, respectful and professional.

Check References

The best Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney will have a reputation to match. Ask coworkers, friends or trusted associates which attorney they would recommend working with. Even the best lawyers have a few clients dissatisfied with their work. However, they should also have many more good recommendations than bad.

Does the Fee Check Out?

The more experienced your attorney is, the more he or she is likely to charge. If your lawyer’s fee is much lower or higher than other similarly qualified lawyers, find out why.

Choose a Lawyer with Passion

You do not want a lawyer who is representing you just to do their job. You need a lawyer who loves to practice defense law and protect people like you. Look for a lawyer who listens to your story, takes a genuine interest and wants to fight for you.

Does Your Lawyer Make Sense?

Lawyers may use legal jargon during the preparation of legal documents or in the courtroom. However, a good lawyer will take care to explain your situation and all your options to you clearly in terms you can understand.

Will They Take Time to Explain Your Options?

No decision relevant to your case should be made on a whim. The Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney will explain each of your options from plea bargains to sentencing. Each decision you make comes with enduring effects, and you need clearly and thoroughly explained information to make the best decisions for your circumstances.

Here at Birrell Criminal Defense Attorneys, we have been proudly practicing law in MN for over six decades. If you need an experienced criminal lawyer who wants to work hard to win your case, contact us today for a free consultation.

Fentanyl Charges & Drug Crime Defense Minnesota

According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) synthetic opioid deaths increased by 74 percent from 2016 to 2017. This is largely related to a surge in fentanyl use, as 91% of all fatalities involved fentanyl.

If fentanyl use is up, so are arrests for it. If you or a loved one has been charged, here are a few things you should know.

Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a prescription pain medication normally given to those with a terminal illness such as cancer. It’s most commonly used as a transdermal patch, and is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Patches can be boiled to extract the fentanyl, and may also be smoked or ingested.

Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney

While some prescription fentanyl is misused, the real problem lies with synthetic fentanyl. New fentanyl analogs are constantly being manufactured, many of which also contain quantities of heroin or cocaine.

Carfentanil in particular is especially dangerous. Found in white powder form, it can be up to 10,000 times more potent than morphine and as much as 100 times more potent than fentanyl itself. It’s used in veterinary medicine as an anesthetic for large animals, and is not intended for human consumption. Despite that fact, there has been a surge in carfentanil use over the past few years, resulting in many accidental overdoses.

Penalties for Possession

Section 152.02 of the Minnesota Revised Statutes classifies fentanyl in its various forms as a Schedule I substance. Section 152.025 further spells out the basis for a controlled substance crime in the fifth degree as:

Unlawfully possessing a Schedule I substance

Procuring or attempting to procure a controlled substance through fraud

Upon conviction, a controlled substance crime in the fifth degree charge could bring you up to five years in prison and a fine of as much as $10,000.

Problems with Fentanyl Charges

We’ve already mentioned that some forms of fentanyl are extremely potent. This means some users carry only tiny amounts with them.

So if a passenger in your automobile possessed fentanyl, he or she could leave behind traces of the drug that you might not see, but police would notice if you were to be pulled over. The same thing could happen if visitors to your home pulled out a bag and inadvertently left residue behind.

Legal fentanyl patches are sometimes a problem as well. They may stick to your clothing or other objects without you realizing it. Next thing you know, you are trying to explain why you are in possession of fentanyl when in fact you did not even know you were carrying it.

Fighting Fentanyl Charges

If you’re facing fentanyl charges, the first thing to consider is how the evidence was obtained. Did you consent to a search or did the officer have reasonable cause? Was the fentanyl in plain view, or did law enforcement violate the terms of a search warrant in order to find it?

All these things are important to know, and can affect whether or not there were actually grounds for an arrest. According to the fruits of the poisonous tree doctrine, any evidence that was illegally obtained is considered tainted and may therefore not be used in a court of law.

You may be tempted to proclaim your innocence, particularly if your arrest caught you off guard. Even so, you should remember that the burden of proof rests on the state to prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Read more on

Why Do I Need a MN Criminal Defense Lawyer?

If you are charged with a crime in MN you may be asking yourself if you need a criminal defense lawyer. In reality most people risking jail or prison sentences need to be represented. Here are some reasons you need Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney if you have been charged with a crime.

Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney Links

Going It Alone

Handling your own case is not a good idea and almost never happens. But why would you need a criminal defense lawyer? If you are charged with a crime and considering self-representation you need to understand the difference between experience and knowledge. Understanding the difference is a serious reality check if you are thinking of going it alone.

Book Learning

If you have the time and ability you can find pretty much all the knowledge you need either in book or digital form. Everything from courtroom procedures to the definition of the crime is at your fingertips.

Experience Vs Knowledge

But a criminal lawyer has experience that no book learning can replace. He understands the nuances of the law and has previous cases to fall back on for examples and precedents.

Major Influences

There is a lot that can influence the outcome to a criminal case. The prosecutor can play a big role in influencing what is perceived as a crime even though, on paper, it can look like something quite different.

Community Pressure

In a community values can differ. Judges can be up for re-election and any number of community pressures may be applied to your case. For example, if there has been a recent outbreak of robberies in MN and you are facing those charges the community may want to see some harsher judgements come down.

You Need a Lawyer

Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorneyl is going to understand those nuances and do everything they can to win your case. Going it alone is never a good idea. You need a lawyer.

What Will a Criminal Defense Attorney Do for Me?

Each case is unique. What your defense attorney brings to the table is going to be defined by your case. One of the things they do is negotiate with prosecutors for lesser sentences and charges. Sometimes sentencing programs are in place that can meet your needs and help you stay away from trouble in the future. Criminal defense lawyers can help put that in place.

The Help You Need

Your lawyer will be there for you every step of the way. Helping with your case and the feelings you are dealing with as well. But they are realists. Your lawyer will lay it out and tell you like it is so you can make a wise choice in what option to choose for your defense.

Battling the Legal Jungle

Birrell Criminal Defense Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney understand all the legal undertakings which need to be done on your behalf. We know the law, and we understand what is taking place on the local scene.

Standing with You

Our Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney provide you with information on what’s happening currently, what future possibilities are and what your best options for a good outcome are going to be. We stand with you through the entire process.

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Proven Track Record

Here at Birrell Criminal Defense we have a proven track record and can represent you in various areas related to criminal activity. Call our offices today and set up a time to come in and talk with us. We want the best outcome possible for you. We do everything within our power to make sure you have the Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney you need. Read more on

A Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney Compares the Burdens of Proof

The burden of evidence is not just something that attorneys talk about to pass the time. It may be the most critical component of a criminal case. In fact, in many cases, the burden of proof, along with the amount of evidence, largely dictates whether a Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney will try to settle a case out of court or take it to trial.

To better understand the different burdens of proof and how they apply in certain situations, let’s consider the following example:

Wendy Witness was walking her dog one night when she saw a car strike a pedestrian. Veronica Victim died at the scene. After briefly slowing down, the car sped away. Wendy told Officer Tim that the car was a light-colored sedan, possibly white or grey. She did not get a good look at the occupants, but an adult was driving and there was a car seat in the back.

During his investigation, Officer Tim reviews footage from a red light camera a few blocks away. The footage shows a white sedan with a Minnesota plate 473CXB pass through the intersection headed toward the scene of the crime. Based on this information and Wendy’s recollection, Officer Tim pulls over a white Honda Accord with license plate MN-473CXB. After David Defendant says he owns the car, Officer Tim arrests him.

Subsequently, Hennepin County Child Protective Services files an action to remove David’s minor child from his custody, based on the fact that he recklessly endangered the child.

Civil Trials

Hit-and-runs often have both civil and criminal implications. If Veronica’s next of kin bring a wrongful death suit against David, they must establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. This phrase means “more likely than not.”

Neither the camera nor Wendy got a look at the driver. But it is more likely than not that the owner of a vehicle was driving it at any particular time. True, many people loan their cars to friends or family members. That’s especially true if the vehicle was a family car. However, there is a greater than 50-50 chance that David was driving.

Child Custody Matters

If the state wants to take away a child, the standard of evidence is understandably higher. Here, we are not talking about someone’s money. We are talking about a child’s future. That higher standard is clear and convincing evidence, which means the proof “is highly and substantially more likely to be true than untrue.”

In this hit-and-run, is it “highly and substantially” likely that David’s child was in the car? Clearly not. Wendy saw a car seat, but she could not say if there was a child in the car seat. Even if she did see a child, it’s impossible to determine if it was David’s child. There’s also the driver issue. Neither Wendy nor the camera confirmed that David was behind the wheel.

So, a child custody trial would probably be an epic failure for CPS. There is no hard evidence that a child was in the car, let alone that the child was David’s child.

Criminal Pretrial Matters

Now, let’s shift gears and talk about this hit-and-run from a Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney’s perspective. There are essentially two steps in this inquiry.

First, Officer Tim must have reasonable suspicion for the stop. Reasonable suspicion is specific, articulable facts that point to criminal activity. In some recent cases, the Supreme Court has watered this standard down so much that officers do not need much more than a hunch.

Tim does not have much evidence. But he does have Wendy’s description and the surveillance video. Taken together, they probably constitute reasonable suspicion.

Probable cause, however, might be a different matter. Courts have intentionally refused to define this term, but it is a higher standard than reasonable suspicion. If “probable cause” means something like “probably guilty,” Officer Tim may not have enough evidence.

But before a Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney files a motion to suppress the arrest, it’s best to consider cases like 2015’s United States v. Fuehrer. Officers clocked Fuehrer, who was a suspected drug dealer, traveling 1mph over the speed limit. Since 1mph is within the radar gun’s margin of error, officers knew the infraction would not hold up in court. Nevertheless, they pulled him over and quickly summoned drug-sniffing dogs to the scene, who found narcotics in his car.

The court later ruled that the stop was lawful because officers had probable cause. So, in our case, even if Officer Tim knew that David was probably not guilty, he still had a right to arrest him.

Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney and Criminal Trials

Finally, we come to a criminal trial, where the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt. Generally, this level of evidence means “no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts except that the defendant committed the crime, thereby overcoming the presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty.”

If David took the stand and admitted that he was driving the car, that’s enough for proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Yes, perhaps someone kidnapped David, erased his memory, and implanted a new one in Total Recall fashion. But that’s clearly not a logical explanation.

However, if a Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney advises David not to testify, what evidence does the prosecutor have? There is Wendy’s rather vague description of a light-colored sedan, which could apply to half the cars on the road. Then, there is the surveillance video which proves that someone was driving David’s car near the scene of the crash. Even taken together, that’s not enough to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Finding A Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney For Sex Crimes

Prostitution is a serious offense that occurs often than many people think in Minnesota. As a result of the frequent prostitution offenses that are committed, law enforcement officials regularly conduct prostitution stings to catch people who are selling sex or sexual favors in exchange for money. The prostitution stings are also used to catch the individuals who are responsible for arranging the services and those who are paying for sexual services.

Sometimes the arrests that are made are made for legitimate reasons. However, there are also times when the person who has been arrested was simply caught being in the wrong area at the wrong time. There are many individuals who find themselves in trouble after only having a small conversation with the undercover officer who portrayed an individual wanting to pay for sexual services.

Many individuals have been arrested before they engaged in any form of sexual services and before money was exchanged. Many individuals have also been arrested for offering a sum of money for an act that falls out of the limits of the prostitution statute.

Regardless of why the arrest was made and how legitimate the reason was, it is highly important that you make sure you have the proper representation. You will need a defense lawyer who has the experience and the skills to represent you in a prostitution case. You have a long list of rights, and it is important that you do everything to make sure your rights are protected at all times. You can make sure your rights are protected by calling an experienced defense lawyer who is familiar with the prostitution laws in the state and city.

There are various sexual activities and other activities that fall within the domain of prostitution. What are these activities?

Receiving money in exchange for performing sexual services

Having the intent to perform sexual services by lingering in public areas

Asking an individual for sexual services by offering money

Receiving money that another individual has obtained for the sexual services

Performing sexual services for money in a park

Performing sexual services for money in a school zone

Using an individual for prostitution

If someone is convicted of one or more of the acts above, the penalties that one will face will be very serious. If one is convicted of a prostitution-related crime, there are things that can be done in order to avoid facing the highest fines, punishments, and penalties. Sometimes the case can be completely dismissed or the punishment can be reduced. There are also times when an individual can be acquitted.

Many prostitution offenses can be classified as misdemeanors, but this should not be something that you should just brush away. A misdemeanor can make it difficult for you to find a decent place to live or a job. If someone performs a background check on your record, the offense you committed will be immediately seen. A prostitution conviction can impact your life in a variety of ways. This is why it is so important that you call an attorney as soon as possible.

Prostitution offenses occur often. Prostitution-related charges can be filed against someone who sells sexual services, advertises or markets those services, and a person who pays money for those services. If you are accused of a prostitution offense, we want you to secure the proper representation.

If you want more information about the options that are available to you, please do not hesitate to contact Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney today to request a consultation law firm at (612) 238-1939. We will be happy to discuss your options and your case. Read more on

Contact Details

Birrell Criminal Defense

333 South Seventh Street

Minneapolis, MN 55402

(612) 238-1939


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