Sunday, April 21, 2013
Even if you didn’t drink enough to score .08 or more, you can still be prosecuted for DWI because it is also illegal to operate a motor vehicle if the alcohol you consumed, regardless of the amount, is affecting your abilities.
“What a party,” you think as you drive yourself home... Suddenly the night sky is filled with flashing red and blue lights and you worry that you may be in trouble. Did you drink too much to be driving legally? DWI law confuses a lot of people. The name itself is confusing. DWI is sometimes called DUI. But in Minnesota the acronyms DWI (meaning “driving while intoxicated”) and DUI (meaning “driving while under the influence”) are used interchangeably. Each refers to the laws that prohibit someone from driving, operating, or being in physical control of a motor vehicle when they have had too much alcohol to drink. How do you know how much alcohol is too much? Generally speaking, the legal limit in Minnesota is .08. That number refers to the…
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Some lawyers focus on quietly reaching agreements to settle cases. Others have more of a “take no prisoners” approach.
I have previously written about the work that attorneys do to help their clients. But how do you go about deciding which attorney to hire? Is the attorney who advertises on TV or has a flashy billboard the best? Or should you just pick one from the phone book and hope it works out? Lawyers vary greatly in their expertise, experience, abilities, and costs. Like everyone else, they also have widely ranging personalities and habits. Some lawyers focus on quietly reaching agreements to settle cases. Others have more of a “take no prisoners” approach. As lawsuits frequently involve a lot of emotion, stress, and money it is important to find a lawyer that you are comfortable with. It is also a good idea to find an attorney who is familiar with …
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
What constitutional rights do citizens have regarding firearms? Can the government deny individual citizens the reasonable right to the use of firearms for lawful purposes? These issues revolve around the meaning of the words of the Second Amendment.
The recent heartbreaking murders of school children in Connecticut have prompted a lot of discussion regarding guns and the rights of citizens to own, possess, or use them. What constitutional rights do citizens have regarding firearms? Can the government deny individual citizens the reasonable right to the use of firearms for lawful purposes? These issues revolve around the meaning of the words of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” What do these words mean? What is the law of the land? I do not propose to offer any opinions about which policies should be chosen, but instead to provide a…
Friday, October 19, 2012
Washington County District Court Judge Greg Galler writes about how bail is set in criminal cases.
Friday, October 19, 2012
You have probably seen news stories about someone being arrested for a horrible crime and then heard that the judge set bail allowing the person to be released from custody. You then thought, “What is with those crazy judges? Why would there be any bail set? Shouldn’t this person just sit in jail until trial?” Some states have laws that allow an accused person, in certain circumstances, to be held in jail until trial with no chance of bailing out. Other states, like Minnesota, require judges to set bail in every case. The Minnesota Constitution mandates that “All persons shall before conviction be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses...” Capital offenses are those where the death penalty could be imposed. As …
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Washington County Judge Greg Galler says some public defenders are among the best lawyers in court, many of whom, are the "most respected experts in certain fields of the law." Do you agree? Share your comments below.
Rodney Dangerfield used to famously say, “I get no respect.” Unfortunately, many public defenders know what that feels like, because the public largely misunderstands who public defenders are and what they do. Some believe that public defenders are student attorneys or lawyers that could not find other work—this is simply not true. Public defenders are lawyers who dedicate themselves to representing indigent clients in court. Some are among the very best lawyers that are seen in court. Additionally, due to their concentrated practice areas, many are also among the most respected experts in certain fields of the law. Public defenders serve on a wide variety of cases. Typically those cases involve legal actions, commenced by the government, …
Friday, July 6, 2012
Washington County District Court Judge Greg Galler writes about the assortment of people Minnesota law allows to officiate weddings.
Did you know that many judges regularly perform weddings? Sometimes people think that only religious officials (like pastors, priests, or rabbis) can perform weddings. Minnesota allows a fairly broad assortment of people to officiate at weddings including court administrators and retired judges. Officiating at weddings is one of the more enjoyable things that judges get to do. It is also a good way for people to see that judges can be friendly, flexible, caring and even humorous individuals. Unfortunately, most people only see judges in court when life has taken a bad turn. There are very few court cases that involve joyful times. For this reason many people view judges as only being stodgy, exacting and humorless. Not only do many judges …
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Washington County Judge Greg Galler writes about how judges determine truth in court as it is measured in accordance with the burden of proof. What have been your experiences with truth and the burden of proof in court?
- PUBLIC SAFETY
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Sometimes people ask how I know who is telling the truth in court. It surprises them to hear that I will likely never know the absolute truth. While some people do lie in court, more often people simply see, remember or retell things differently. Something happened. People saw it, heard it, were involved in it or maybe even caused it. A dispute arose, lawyers were hired, and a lawsuit began. When they come to court, they have different memories, powers of observation and abilities to describe what happened. This is no different from what we all see in everyday life. In your own life, you have, almost certainly, disagreed with someone about something that you each saw or heard. One of you may have said, “That’s not the way I saw it” or “I …
Monday, May 14, 2012
Washington County Judge Greg Gallery explains a few "obscure and antiquated phrases" in the hopes of taking some of the mystery out of the probate court process.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Over the last generation the judiciary has tried to make it easier for people without law degrees to better understand what is happening in court. Sometimes it seems that lawyers and judges speak a language that no one else can understand. Obscure and antiquated words and phrases are bandied about in what many thought was an attempt to confuse everyone else. Today, most of the legal jargon has been removed from the courts. Probate court, however, remains as the last court where obscure and mysterious terms are still sometimes used. Just what is probate court? Probate court originally referred only to the process of proving in court whether or not a will was valid. Today probate courts deal with all cases involving estates, …