Family Law and Criminal Defense Legal Questions

Common questions about criminal defense, family law, and probate.

What should I do if I've been arrested for a crime?

The first thing to know if you’ve been arrested for a crime is that you only need to provide the police with identifying information. Other than that, do not talk to the police. You’re not going to talk your way out of charges, and trying to do so will probably just make your situation worse. Politely decline to answer any additional questions until you have a lawyer. Call a lawyer as soon as possible.

Will a previous criminal conviction affect my current case?

Any previous criminal conviction should not be used to determine your guilt or innocence regarding current charges. However, previous convictions can absolutely affect the severity of the penalties you face if you are convicted.

What is a "wobbler"?

A “wobbler” is a crime that can be either a misdemeanor or a felony depending upon the circumstances surrounding the crime and whether you have a previous criminal record. Factors for wobblers can include whether anyone was injured during the alleged crime, whether a firearm was involved, or if the crime involved drugs. DUI/DWI, assault, drug possession, and theft are all wobblers.

Can I represent myself in court against criminal charges?

Technically, you can represent yourself in court, but you absolutely should not do so. The law is complicated and the consequences of your criminal trial are severe. Don’t risk it. Get a lawyer.

If my spouse and I agree on our divorce, do we really need attorneys?

If you and your spouse think you agree on divorce, you may find the devil is in the details. Retaining an attorney can help smooth over disagreements and fine details to ensure the divorce is amicable.

In the state of Minnesota, you and your spouse can file a joint petition and decree, essentially a single page document for your divorce. Even with this document, retaining an attorney is recommended.

In less than amicable cases, each party retaining a lawyer is key. You’ll know that your interests are being represented. Moreover, legal agreements are complex. A divorce lawyer will help ensure that you understand what you are agreeing to and what the implications are for your life.

How does a court determine child custody?

When it comes to children in family law, courts always have one overwhelming concern: the well-being of the child. To that end, the most important factor in child custody will be each parent’s relationship with the child, as well as their ability to provide for the child’s well-being. It is important to note that courts strive for shared custody whenever possible.

Is spousal support permanent?

No. Most spousal support has a time limit. How long a spousal support agreement lasts depends upon a number of factors, including whether one spouse needs retraining to re-enter the workforce and whether either spouse provides a more substantial level of care for any children.

Can you modify child support and custody agreements?

Yes, you can. Typically, these modifications must occur more than one year after the agreements have gone into affect. To make a modification, you must be able to demonstrate a significant unanticipated life change that has a substantial impact on you or your ex-spouse’s ability to provide for your child. This can include things like getting laid off or experiencing a serious medical condition.

How long does probate last?

Most probate lasts about six months; however, more complicated probate cases, such as those involving an estate without a will, a family dispute, or a large number of assets, can take years to complete.

Is an administrator liable for actions taken during probate?

No. At the conclusion of the probate process, the court instates an order removing the probate administrator from liability for the actions of probate prior to the closure of the estate.

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