What Happens When You Get Charged with Fraud in Minnesota?
Fraud is a serious criminal offense. If you face these charges in Minnesota, you can expect a number of steps to occur from the day of your arrest until the point your case is resolved. While every case is different, the process is generally the same.
Where these cases differ significantly is the outcome. It is possible that you could face arrest on fraud charges, only for your attorney to have those charges dismissed early on in the process. You might also go through the entire process before prevailing at trial and earning an acquittal.
The defense attorneys of Gerald Miller understand what goes into a winning fraud defense. Not only can our firm help you navigate every step of the process, we can also help you develop a defense strategy that is tailored to your case. Reach out right away to learn more.
You Will Be Booked Into Jail After Your Arrest in Minnesota
If you have been arrested under suspicion of fraud, the first step is being booked into jail by the police. This can occur after you are picked up on a warrant, or it could be part of the process where you voluntarily turn yourself in to authorities.
Getting booked into jail starts with fingerprinting. Once you go through the other steps, the police will also make certain that you don’t have outstanding arrest warrants that must be dealt with.
How long you stay in jail depends on the circumstances. While less-serious offenses might see you released shortly after your arrest, many people charged with fraud are required to stay in jail until they can make bail. It is not unusual for a person facing a fraud charge to remain in custody until the day of their trial.
You Will Be Given an Arraignment Date
When you are charged with fraud in Minnesota, you can expect to have a number of court hearings. The first hearing in your case is known as arraignment. This hearing is important for a number of reasons.
For many people, arraignment is the first opportunity to get out of jail after an arrest. In these cases, the first court hearing is the initial opportunity for a judge to set bail. Our firm could help you seek release from custody under reasonable bail terms.
There are other purposes for your arraignment date beyond the prospect of bail. This court hearing is also your opportunity to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Pleading guilty at arraignment is never in your best interest. When this happens, you do not have the terms of a plea agreement to fall back on. Instead, you are at the whim of the judge and could face the maximum prison sentence.
Pleading not guilty at your arraignment gives you the time you need to build your defense. You have the opportunity at a later date to change your plea, or you could take your case to trial. An experienced fraud lawyer from our firm could guide you through entering your plea.
You Can Expect Other Hearings in Minnesota
Your arraignment will be your first hearing, but it may not be your last. The longer your case goes on, the more court hearings might be scheduled. Judges set status hearings to ensure that a case is on track and to give both sides the opportunity to raise any ongoing issues.
One of the benefits of hiring an attorney is that they can appear in your place for many of these hearings. This frees you up to avoid missing work or other obligations. There could be some hearings where your presence is necessary, however.
You Could Receive a Plea Bargain in Minnesota
Most fraud cases in Minnesota never go to trial. In fact, the state makes plea offers in virtually all of its fraud cases. The chances are good if you are charged with fraud, the prosecutor will offer you a plea bargain that is below the maximum sentence associated with the crime.
Whether you take the plea or not is your decision to make. Our firm could help you put the offer into context to understand if it is reasonable or not. In many cases, the state will have enough evidence to make the chances of a conviction significant. In these situations, securing a fair plea offer could be the best possible outcome.
There are also times when the state is overly aggressive with these offers. Our firm could advise you in you are at less risk moving forward with a trial compared to accepting the terms of the plea bargain. This is one of the situations where the guidance of an attorney is most valuable.
Your Charges Could Be Dismissed
A plea bargain is not the only way your case could come to an end. In some situations, it might be possible to see your charges dismissed. This can occur in different ways. In some cases, the prosecution will agree to voluntarily dismiss fraud charges against you.
That does not mean the state will drop the charges against you on a whim. The prosecutor will usually pursue these charges aggressively unless your attorney can show a conviction is unlikely. Building a strong defense strategy could be your best chance to see your charges dismissed.
The prosecutor is not the only party with the power to drop your case. The judge overseeing your case also has the power to dismiss the charges against you. Typically, a judge will only consider this possibility when your attorney files a motion to dismiss the case. If the argument is strong enough, a judge could agree and dismiss the charges against you.
Your Case Could Go to Trial
There are also cases where a trial is necessary. When you are unwilling to accept a plea bargain and the state will not dismiss your charges, a trial is your only option for avoiding a conviction.
Your trial could involve numerous witnesses and pieces of evidence put on by both sides. The state will likely rely on various pieces of evidence including witness testimony, documentary evidence, or expert testimony. Your attorney will also have the chance to put on evidence as well.
You have the right to testify at trial. You also have the right to refuse to testify. The decision to testify is yours alone to make, but your attorney could advise you of the risks and benefits. In most cases, testifying on your own behalf is likely to do more harm than good.
You Face Various Penalties if Convicted in Minnesota
One of the things that happen when you are charged—and convicted—of fraud in Minnesota is to face criminal penalties. However, those penalties can vary depending on the facts of your case. This offense is governed by Minnesota Statute Section 268.182.
The maximum penalties you face will depend on the value of the item allegedly obtained through fraudulent means. For example, you could face as much as 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. These penalties are lower in cases that involve property or services with a lower value.
Remember: you will only face these penalties if you are found guilty. You have the right to defend yourself against these charges, and our firm could help you prevail in your case. Reach out to the attorneys of Gerald Miller to learn more about your legal options.
Talk to the Attorneys of Gerald Miller About Your Fraud Case
Facing fraud charges in Minnesota can be overwhelming for many people. This is frequently the case for those who have never been arrested on criminal charges before. A conviction could have a devastating impact on your future, which makes the outcome of your case imperative.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller understand what goes into a winning defense in a fraud case. We have experience negotiating with the prosecution to have charges dismissed. We also understand when plea bargains are worth accepting compared to when they should be rejected.
If you have been charged with fraud in Minnesota, your choice of legal counsel is important. Let the attorneys of Gerald Miller review your case and assist you with building a strong defense. We are proud to fight for the accused, just like we are proud of our record of success in these cases. Call right away for a free consultation.