Frequently Asked Questions


Questions About Wilson Law Firm P.L.L.C.

Do you offer a free case consultation?

Yes.  I offer a free 60 minute case consultation either over the phone or at my office by appointment. During the consultation I generally discuss the facts surrounding the case, review any relevant case documentation, and discuss case objectives and what my legal representation in a particular case would entail.

The information discussed during the free case consulation is kept strictly confidential so potential clients can discuss their cases with confidence.

How much are your fees?

My fees are determined by the unique circumstances of each individual client’s financial situation in addition to the complexity and severity level of their case.  I aim to make my fees affordable in order to make my legal representation available to the widest possible clientele, therefore, I am generally flexible and open to modifying my fees and payment plans based on each individual client’s particular situation.

Do you charge an hourly rate or a flat/fixed-fee?

I generally charge a flat/fixed-fee. This means a client will  make a one-time, up-front payment that will cover the costs of my agree-upon legal representation. Charging a flat/fixed-fee allows my clients to know the cost of my representation up-front and avoids the surprise of a big billing statement at the end of a case.

Do you offer payment plans?

I do offer payment plans in certain circumstances, because I understand that not everybody is able to pay the entire fee at once.

What type of payment types do you accept?

I accept several different payment types including cash, checks, money orders, and all major credit cards.

What areas of Minnesota do you represent?

I represent clients in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and the surrounding metro counties of Anoka, Sherburne, Dakota, Scott, Washington, Carver, and Wright.  I also represent clients in greater Minnesota in certain circumstances.

What types of cases do you handle?

I handle all types of criminal cases including misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, and felonies.

Examples of specific criminal case types I handle include:

I also handle:

Where is your office located?

My office is conveniently located in the historic Northwestern Building in Lowertown St. Paul.  It is located just minutes from downtown St. Paul and there is ample free, metered and paid parking located near the office. Please visit the Contact page for more information.

What are your office hours?

Regular Office Hours:

  • Monday-Friday: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Call-Back Hours (Call and leave a voice message and I will call you back asap):

  • Monday-Friday: 6-10 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday: 9 a.m.-10 p.m.


Criminal Defense Questions


What are the different types of criminal charges in Minnesota?

There are three basic types/levels of criminal charges in Minnesota:

  • Petty Misdemeanor: A Petty Misdemeanor does not constitute a crime and carries a maximum fine of $300.00 and a jail sentence cannot be imposed.
  • Misdemeanor: A Misdemeanor is a crime where there is a  maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $1000.00 fine.
  • Gross Misdemeanor: A Gross Misdemeanor is a crime where there is a maximum jail sentence up to a year in jail and/or a maximum fine of  $3,000.00.
  • Felony: A Felony is a crime where imprisonment for more than one year may be imposed, and the fine is determined by the specific felony being charged.

What are the different types of criminal pretrial court hearings?

  • Arraignment/First Appearance: At the First Appearance the court will notify you of your criminal charges; your rights (e.g. the right to have appointed counsel if you qualify); and an opportunity to enter a plea (guilty;  not guilty) or give you more time to enter a plea. You will also generally set a future date for a pretrial/omnibus hearing at this time.
  • Pretrial Hearing/Omnibus Hearings:  Pretrial hearing/omnibus hearings serve several different purposes depending on the unique circumstances of the case.  Some examples include: (1) A hearing to suppress evidence or a statement (so it cannot be used at trial) that was obtained illegally (generally in violation of the constitution).  This is sometimes called a “Rasmussen Hearing” in Minnesota.; (2) A hearing to discuss the case with the prosecutor and examine possible resolutions (e.g. a plea agreement) etc.;  (3) A hearing to determine whether  probable cause exists to charge you with a crime .  This is generally done is cases where someone is charged via a complaint.  If the judge rules that probable cause doesn’t exists, the case will be dismissed. This type of hearing is sometimes called a “Florence Hearing” in  Minnesota.

What are my trial rights?

  • Right to Trial by Judge (Court/Bench Trial) or Jury: If you are charged with a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony, you have the right to a court/bench trial  (where the judge decides whether that the state has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt) or by jury.  The jury is made up of 6 peers if you are charged with a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor; and 12 peers if you are charged with a felony.
  • Rights at trial: There are several different rights that apply at a criminal trial.  These rights include:(1) the right to remain silent or testify for yourself (if you decide to remain silent this fact cannot be used against you by the state); (2) the right to confront and cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses; (3) the right to compel (subpoena) witnesses to testify in your favor; (4) the presumption of  innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; (5) the jury must return a unanimous verdict of either “guilty” or “not guilty”, and if a unanimous verdict cannot be reached the judge may declare a “hung jury” and a new trial would take place.

What are some of the different types of criminal sentences? 

  • Continuance for Dismissal/Continuance without Prosecution (CFD/CWOP): The state sets aside your case for a predetermined amount of time, and they dismiss the case after that period of time if you fulfill their conditions.
  • Stay of Adjudication: The defendant offers a guilty plea to the court, but the court does not accept it.  There is then a probationary period set with certain conditions.  If the terms of the probationary period are met, the case is dismissed at the end of that period.
  • Stay of Imposition: The defendant offers a guilty plea to the court which the court accepts, but does not impose the full sentence.  There is a probationary period set with certain conditions, and at the end of the probationary period (if all conditions are fulfilled) the conviction may be reduced (e.g. from a felony to a misdemeanor) or it may be vacated and dismissed.
  • Stay of Execution of Sentence:  The defendant offers a guilty plea which the court accepts.  The defendant is then placed on probation, with certain (or all) terms of the sentence are stayed (not given).  For example, someone who is sentence to 30 days in jail “stayed” would not have to go to jail if they successfully fulfill the terms of their probation.
  • Execution of Sentence:  The defendant offers a guilty plea which the court accepts, and the sentence is imposed without any terms stayed.  For example, someone who is sentenced to 30 days jail “executed” would actually have to serve that jail time.



Criminal Record Questions


What is a criminal record  expungement?

A expungement is a court order sealing  a criminal record  and  making its existence and its contents private/non-public except in certain limited circumstances.  There are two types of expungement in Minnesota, statutory and inherent authority.  Statutory expungement applies in cases that were resolved in favor of the person seeking expungement (e.g. the case was dismissed.) Inherent authority expungement applies in cases that were not resolved in favor of the person seeking expungement (e.g. the individual was convicted/plead guilty).

Please visit the Criminal Record Expungement page on our website for more information.

What is a pardon extraordinary?

A pardon extraordinary is an order from the Minnesota Board of Pardons that has the effect of  setting aside and nullifying the conviction;  purging the person of the conviction;  and  the person shall never after that be required to disclose the conviction at any time or place other than in a judicial proceeding or as part of the licensing process for peace officers.

Please visit the Pardon Extraordinary page on our website for more information.

Can I get my arrest records returned?

In certain circumstances you may be able to get arrest records returned if you were never charged with a crime.  Please visit the Return of Arrest Records page on our website for more information.

What problems can a criminal record cause?

A criminal record can cause many problems, especially considering  the many inexpensive and easily accessible background check services that are available these days.  Some specific problems a criminal record can cause include problems obtaining housing, employment, volunteer positions, and internships.

Please visit the Criminal Record Solutions page on our website  for more  information about the problems associated with a criminal record and the criminal record solutions I offer.



Minnesota Criminal Law Resources


Minnesota Constitution, Criminal Rules & Statutes

First Judicial District

Second Judicial District

Third Judicial District

Fourth Judicial District

Fifth Judicial District

Sixth Judicial District

Seventh Judicial District

Eighth Judicial District

Ninth Judicial District

Tenth Judicial District

Minnesota Public Defender Information