Facing a felony charge is daunting. A felony conviction results in the loss of your right to own or use firearms, the relinquishment of your voting rights, and in some states, the ability to hold public office.

In Minnesota, a felony conviction may also automatically require the court to send you to prison. Under the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines, certain felony convictions require judges to impose mandatory prison sentences. That’s exactly what our client faced in Otter Tail County for her felony second degree assault charge. A conviction would have sent her to prison for up to 46 months. With stakes this high, we had to work hard to find the weaknesses in the government’s case.

After conducting a thorough investigation, we located witnesses who corroborated that our client acted in self-defense. As the jury trial approached, we disclosed our defense and witnesses to the government (something required by the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure). Our self-defense disclosure prompted a phone call from the government’s attorney, who up until this point seemed gung-ho on trial.

Based on the information we discovered through our investigation, we negotiated a deal my client felt she could not refuse—a plea to a misdemeanor with one year of unsupervised probation and no jail.