Sheridan and Dulas, P.A.Beginning in police records in the Burnsville Police Department before moving to several other positions in Dakota County, Sena Dahl has spent much of her career in law enforcement.
After taking time away from the profession, Dahl returned to work at LeVander, Gillen & Miller, P.A., a firm that served as counsel for several suburban cities and assisted in prosecutions. “You’re looking at cases and working with the prosecutor to decide how to move them forward,” she said.
Recently she made a significant career change after working for five years at LeVander Gillen & Miller. The firm ended its prosecution practice around the same time Dahl began the program to earn her paralegal certificate. After a period of introspection, Dahl decided to move from prosecuting individuals to defending them as a legal assistant at Sheridan and Dulas, P.A.
Dahl joined the firm last year and works on defending individuals involved in criminal, juvenile, DWI, domestic assault, child support and spousal maintenance cases. Part of her decision came after she participated in the prosecution a few years ago of a woman who shoplifted at a Walmart store to get the attention of a family member who worked there.
The ploy didn’t work and after an arrest, the woman pleaded guilty in a deal that would eventually remove the charge from her record. Still, she lost her job and her life spiraled. “This was a tiny misdemeanor theft,” Dahl said. “This woman ended up getting punished and punished.”
Her view of justice has changed to gray, not black and white. Dahl thinks about how harshly courts can treat people who make bad decisions that may not characterize their lives. “When I first started in law enforcement, I thought it was very black and white; there’s a right and a wrong,” Dahl said. “But I got to see the impact that one bad day or one wrong decision can have on an individual. You can lose your job and your housing, and then you lose your car because you can’t afford the payments. It’s devastating to people.”
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