Criminal Defense and Immigration in the Age of President Trump

As just about every American knows, Donald Trump was sworn in on Friday as the President of the United States.Immigration Form

The new administration has promised an unprecedented immigration crackdown. The most notable rhetoric during the campaign and transition has been focused on undocumented (or “illegal”) immigrants, but it seems very likely that the coming changes – many of which the administration has the authority to implement without legislative action – will affect many non-citizens beyond the undocumented. As it stands already, criminal cases often have far more serious consequences for non-citizens than for citizens. A good resolution to a case for a citizen can mean deportation for a non-citizen. That can be true even for what are often considered not particularly serious crimes. Of course, there are also immigration consequences less serious than deportation that can be triggered by criminal cases, and “it could be worse” may not be much comfort.

Though we have the duty to advise our clients of certain immigration consequences, we’re not immigration lawyers, and when our non-citizen clients need immigration advice we refer them to someone qualified to give it. That’s particularly true when we’re considering a plea offer – we never, ever want to have a client plead guilty only to face consequences beyond those he understood. And sometimes, of course, despite everyone’s best efforts, there’s no plea agreement that can be reached that will keep the immigration authorities at bay.

But the best defense to consequences from a criminal record is never to end up with a criminal conviction at all. Because of the increasing seriousness of “collateral” consequences of all types stemming from criminal cases, there has never been a more important time to be good at what we do. When you hire us to represent you, you’re not only retaining lawyers who focus on criminal defense rather than trying to be jacks-of-all-trades, you’re hiring lawyers who have particular expertise in the effects of criminal records and what to do about them. These days, no criminal charge is too minor to have to worry about – even if you’re a citizen, what seem to be very minor offenses can have serious consequences.

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Merry Christmas to You and Yours

We’re a bit late (okay, we’re very late) in the day, but today we wish you and your family a very merry Christmas. As always, we hope you stay safe on and off the roads – please remember to drink responsibly.Christmas Decorations

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Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving

Liebow & Liebling, PLLC wishes you a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday. Please don’t drink and drive – as if there weren’t enough other reasons not to, the Fall Hedgehog DecorationThanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the most dangerous of the year, and there will be extra DWI enforcement beginning this weekend and running through late December.

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Tomorrow Is the Worst Day of the Year to Get Arrested

Hard as it may be to believe, there are better and worse days to get arrested. Early Wednesday morning is the absolute worst time of the worst day of the year to be arrested.Police Car in City

In Minnesota, the police, prosecutors, and courts generally have 36 hours from the time a person is arrested to bring that person before a judge. “36 hours,” however, doesn’t actually mean 36 hours when a person is arrested without a warrant. First, it doesn’t include the day of the arrest – so if you get arrested one second after midnight, that entire day isn’t counted. Next, Sundays don’t count. Finally, legal holidays don’t count. What is and isn’t a legal holiday is usually pretty clear, but Minnesota’s laws and court rules have a quirk. Christopher Columbus Day (increasingly celebrated instead as Indigenous Peoples’ Day), while a federal holiday (and thus a day that the United States Postal Service, among other things, is closed) is not a legal holiday for either the executive or the judicial branches of Minnesota’s state government. Both have designated the day after Thanksgiving as a legal holiday instead.

What does all that mean? It means that if you get arrested at 12:00:01 AM on Wednesday morning, those 24 hours (minus one second) don’t count because they’re the day of the arrest. Thanksgiving, as a legal holiday, doesn’t count. Friday, as a legal holiday for the Minnesota Judicial Branch, doesn’t count. Saturday counts for 24 hours. Sunday doesn’t count. And the remaining 12 hours of the original 36 begin first thing on the morning on Monday and are up at noon.

And that’s how you can spend 132 hours in jail, without seeing a judge, despite a “36 hour” rule. (The flip-side of this is that late Thursday night is the best time of the week to get arrested, as the clock starts running once Friday begins and would run out on Saturday at noon, except that of course courts are closed on Saturday, meaning you have to be brought before a judge on Friday.) Note that the rules are different for juveniles and where a person is arrested under the authority of a warrant.

All that said, there are other protections for people unlucky enough to be arrested early Wednesday morning (or at any other time). The Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure provide for a judge to determine probable cause for anyone in custody no later than “48 hours from the time of the arrest, including the day of arrest, Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.” (emphasis added.) If there is no probable cause, or if the question is not decided in time, the person has to be released. That doesn’t involve a hearing or any chance to respond to the police’s allegations, however.

On the other hand, the police and prosecutor can buy themselves some extra time under some circumstances – “for cause” for the 36 hour rule and for “a bona fide emergency or other extraordinary circumstance” for the 48 hour rule. County of Riverside v. McLaughin, 500 U.S. 44 (1991).

If a loved one has been arrested, there may be something that a skilled criminal defense attorney can do to get him or her out of jail, or at least have bail set so that you can get them out. If you find yourself in this situation, contact Liebow & Liebling, PLLC right away.

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State v. S.A.M. Video

We came, we saw, and we argued. It was a great experience and I’m already looking forward to the next one. You can take a look at the video and tell us what you think.

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