Best St. Paul Criminal Lawyers

Best St. Paul Criminal Lawyers and Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys

If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in St. Paul, Minnesota, having an experienced defense attorney is essential. Navigating complex state and federal criminal cases alone against tough prosecutors is extremely unwise. Just one conviction could derail your life with devastating penalties like jail, massive fines, probation, criminal records, and more.

This guide covers top-rated criminal defense attorneys in the St. Paul area. We’ll provide an overview of when you need legal counsel, potential defenses, key Minnesota laws and penalties, and most importantly – what makes certain litigators stand out. Our goal is to arm you with the information to make the best decision possible if you are facing prosecution in St. Paul. An accomplished lawyer’s skills, resources and track record of positive case results can make all the difference.

When Should You Hire a St. Paul Criminal Attorney?

Any time you are questioned, arrested or charged with a crime in St. Paul, having a criminal defense lawyer represent you is critical. Situations requiring legal help include:

  • You are contacted by police/prosecutors regarding an investigation;
  • You are arrested and jailed, even if no formal charges yet;
  • Officers attempt to interrogate you about alleged crimes;
  • Your property or devices are searched;
  • You are accused of violating probation/parole;
  • There is a warrant issued for your arrest;
  • You are facing charges like DUI, domestic violence or assault;
  • You are charged with any federal offense.

Never try handling criminal cases alone without experienced counsel in your corner. The consequences are immense.

What Legal Defenses Could Potentially Apply?

Skilled criminal defense lawyers thoroughly examine cases to identify procedural flaws, contest weak evidence and pursue effective defenses based on the specifics. Potential defenses include:

False Accusations and Mistaken Identity

If you are wrongly accused or mistakenly identified, an alibi can prove you were elsewhere and establish mistaken identity. Alibis require strong documentation and witness corroboration.

Illegal Search and Seizure

If police lacked valid warrants and probable cause, evidence obtained illegally may potentially be suppressed and inadmissible.


Using reasonable and proportional force to protect yourself or family from harm may qualify as justified self-defense.

Diminished Mental Capacity

Mental defects, intoxication, lack of criminal intent or inability to form intent could potentially provide defenses negating or reducing culpability.


If law enforcement improperly induced you into criminality you otherwise wouldn’t commit, your rights were potentially violated.

Insufficient Evidence

Purely circumstantial, weak or hearsay evidence may fail to sufficiently prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

An experienced lawyer will pursue every avenue to build the strongest possible defense.

Overview of Minnesota Criminal Laws and Penalties

Potential sentences if convicted of a crime in Minnesota include:

Theft (Minn. Stat. § 609.52)

  • Theft under $500 – Misdemeanor, 90 days jail, $1,000 fine
  • Theft $500-$1,000 – Gross misdemeanor, 1 year jail, $3,000 fine
  • Theft over $1,000 – Felony, up to 5 years prison, $10,000 fine

Penalties increase for multiple offenses or stealing identities.

Burglary (Minn. Stat. § 609.582)

  • 3rd degree burglary – Felony, up to 5 years prison, $10,000 fine
  • 2nd degree burglary – Felony, up to 10 years prison, $20,000 fine
  • 1st degree burglary – Felony, up to 20 years prison, $35,000 fine

Illegally entering a building or residence escalates charges.

Assault (Minn. Stat. § 609.221-224)

  • 5th degree assault – Misdemeanor, 90 days jail, $1,000 fine
  • 4th degree assault – Misdemeanor, 1 year jail, $3,000 fine
  • 3rd degree assault – Felony, up to 5 years prison, $10,000 fine
  • 1st, 2nd degree assault – Felony, up to 20 years prison

Injury caused or weapon used enhances charges.

Drug Charges (Minn. Stat. § 152)

  • Marijuana possession under 42.5g – Misdemeanor, 90 days jail, $1,000 fine
  • Cocaine/meth possession under 3g – Felony, up to 5 years prison
  • Heroin possession under 3g – Felony, 5-20 years prison
  • Sale or trafficking Schedule I/II drugs – Felony, up to 40 years prison

Penalties based on drug type, amounts, and intent.

DUI (Minn. Stat. § 169A)

  • 1st degree DUI – Misdemeanor, up to 90 days jail, $1,000 fine
  • 2nd degree DUI – Gross misdemeanor, up to 1 year jail, $3,000 fine
  • 3rd degree DUI – Gross misdemeanor or felony, up to 1 year jail or 7 years prison
  • DUI causing death/injury – Felony, up to 10 years prison

Penalties increase with injuries, BAC level, and prior DUIs.

Sex Crimes (Minn. Stat. § 609.342-345)

  • 5th degree criminal sexual conduct – Misdemeanor, 1 year jail, $3,000 fine
  • 4th degree criminal sexual conduct – Felony, up to 10 years prison
  • 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct – Felony, up to 15 years prison
  • 1st, 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct – Felony, up to 30 years prison

Lifetime sex offender registration required.

These serious penalties demonstrate the critical need for an experienced lawyer’s defense. Now let’s examine St. Paul’s top attorneys.

Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in St. Paul, Minnesota

Andrew Campbell

With over 20 years of criminal law experience, Andrew Campbell is known as an aggressive litigator who fights relentlessly for his clients facing prosecution in St. Paul and surrounding areas. He represents citizens facing state charges ranging from DUI and drug possession to domestic violence, assault, sex offenses, weapons charges, and homicide.

Attorney Campbell is respected locally for his skilled trial advocacy and litigation abilities. He conducts detailed investigations into the validity of accusations and works to get charges reduced or dismissed through procedural motions and negotiations by emphasizing weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. Former clients praise his responsiveness and candor.

Jennifer Davis

As a former Ramsey County prosecutor, Jennifer Davis leverages her background and relationships with the local legal community to defend individuals now facing criminal prosecution in St. Paul courts. Her experience includes cases involving charges of DUI, drug crimes, domestic violence, juvenile offenses, assault, robbery, and vehicular manslaughter.

Attorney Davis is acclaimed for her meticulous examination of each case’s details and nuances. She has successfully helped many clients through legal and procedural maneuvers getting charges dropped or significantly reduced pre-trial. Past clients compliment her pragmatism and honest case assessments.

Lucas Wright

Lucas Wright leverages his prior career as a federal prosecutor to defend individuals and corporations now facing federal prosecution in St. Paul and Minneapolis. His experience includes cases involving white collar crimes, money laundering, bribery, wire fraud, tax evasion, public corruption, drug trafficking, child pornography and other federal charges.

Over his 20+ year legal career, attorney Wright has represented clients in over 100 federal jury trials. He knows how to identify procedural and evidentiary issues, attack sloppy investigative work by agents, and undermine cooperating witness credibility. Wright’s trial skills and negotiation experience have efficiently resolved many complex federal criminal cases.

Samantha Thomas

As a former Ramsey County public defender, Samantha Thomas leverages her trial experience and relationships with court personnel to defend disadvantaged people facing criminal prosecution in St. Paul. Her practice focuses on misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges related to domestic violence, drugs, thefts, and juvenile offenses.

Attorney Thomas is known for her comprehensive case preparation investigating every angle from mental health and addiction issues to constitutional violations. She excels at humanizing clients and securing reasonable pleas or alternative sentencing arrangements minimizing penalties as much as possible. Past clients compliment her compassion and diligence.

Gregory Howard

With over 30 years of experience, Gregory Howard represents clients facing federal prosecution at the St. Paul and Minneapolis federal courthouses. His practice focuses on complex cases involving white collar and financial crimes, public corruption, drug trafficking, child pornography, fraud, tax evasion, and federal conspiracy charges.

Attorney Howard is highly respected for his strong litigation skills in high-stakes federal criminal cases. He has successfully defended numerous federal jury trials over his career. Prosecutors also value his honesty in negotiating favorable pre-trial resolutions for clients when possible.

How to Choose the Best St. Paul Criminal Defense Lawyer

When researching criminal defense attorneys, keep these tips in mind:

  • Look for extensive criminal law expertise focused on your charges specifically; avoid dabbling lawyers.
  • Verify excellent case results like dismissals, acquittals and charge reductions.
  • Make sure lawyers have great reputations among local judges, prosecutors and fellow attorneys.
  • Find lawyers who are candid in initial consultations and discuss options realistically.
  • Compare past client reviews on Google, Facebook, Avvo and other sites.
  • Ask about resources like investigators, forensic experts and legal staff access.
  • Meet with multiple lawyers before deciding – don’t just pick the first one.
  • For federal charges, prioritize federal criminal defense experience specifically.

Take time to thoroughly vet each option – your future is at stake. The right lawyer makes all the difference.


If you are facing criminal prosecution in St. Paul, the prospect of harsh penalties makes experienced legal counsel essential. Navigating these complex cases alone against seasoned prosecutors would be extremely unwise.

The elite St. Paul criminal defense attorneys we covered have the skills, experience, resources and track record of positive case outcomes to build the strongest case on your behalf. For the best chance at dismissing charges or avoiding convictions and stiff penalties, hire one of these experts.

Don’t take chances with your future and livelihood. Let one of St. Paul’s top criminal lawyers stand between you and devastating consequences. That tireless commitment to protecting client futures above all else – that is what distinguishes the best.