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Blair W. Nelson

Criminal defense Attorney at Bemidji, MN

5.0   12 reviews
Virtual consultation available
Virtual consultation available
  • State Years
    North Dakota - ND 26 years
    Minnesota - MN 26 years
  • Licensed for 26 years
    State ND
    Acquired 1997
    Authorized to Practice Law No misconduct found
  • Licensed for 26 years
    State MN
    Acquired 1996
    Authorized to Practice No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About Blair

Learn Blair’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Criminal defense
    General Criminal Defense in State and Federal Courts.

    26 years

  2. DUI and DWI
    DWI Cases, Implied Consent License Revocation, and Vehicle Forfeitures.

    26 years

  3. Violent crime
    We have extensive experience and qualifications in Homicide, Criminal Sexual Conduct, and Assault cases,

    26 years

  4. Gun Law
    Restoration of Firearms Rights and Permit to Carry Litigation

    16 years


Blair focuses his practice on criminal trial defense matters. He has been licensed to practice in Minnesota State Courts since 1996, licensed to practice in North Dakota since 1997, and admitted to the Federal District Court of Minnesota in 2001.

Blair is an experienced criminal defense trial lawyer, having achieved complete acquittals for clients on charges ranging from Attempted Murder, Vehicular Manslaughter, and Arson to Failure to Yield the Right of Way. As one of the most trusted Beltrami county attorneys, he believes that every criminal and traffic accusation is potentially serious and strives to protect his client's rights on every level.

Blair has a great deal of knowledge and experience in defending Native American cases. Blair worked with the White Earth Criminal and Juvenile Defense Corporation from 1999 to 2004, Leech Lake Juvenile and Criminal Defense Corporation from 2003 to 2006, and is a current member of the Federal Defender C.J.A. Panel.

While he defines himself as a criminal defense lawyer, he relaxes by hunting, fishing, cooking, and spending time with his family.

If you or someone you know is searching for an experienced Beltrami county criminal defense attorney for Minnesota or North Dakota, contact our firm today.

Contact Blair

Blair W. Nelson, Ltd.


5.0 / 5.0
  12 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
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1 Star
Posted by Jerry & Shannon | February 23, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
I would very highly recommend Blair as your attorney. He helped my husband get out of a DUI that should have never happened. Got his license reinstated immediately so he could continue on with fall harvest. Blair is very understanding & listens to your side of the situation, treats his clients with very much respect. We are very greatful for Blair and feel that he is not just our Attorney but also a friend and that is a great feeling! He is truly the best!!
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Posted by Charles | March 3, 2022
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
One of the Best
Mr. Nelson is a colleague practicing in northern Minnesota who I have known for years. I often consult Mr. Nelson regarding cases and refer cases to him. He is widely seen as the "go-to" source for answers to many complicated legal questions. He is one of the best!
Posted by Nate | September 27, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Excellent criminal attorney
From the first time I met Blair, I felt confident that he was the best attorney for the job. He made me feel confident that he had my own and my families best interests at heart. Throughout the court process he proved that I’m more then one way. I was impressed with his legal knowledge and even more so with the results of my case. I would highly recommend Blair to anyone.
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Posted by john | April 1, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Highly recommend as top notch defense.
Blair helped me out in a time of need and was able to take the stress off my back. His legal skills are top notch. He treated me very professional but still made me feel like a priority. I recommend him as my first choice in defense. Thank you Mr. Blair Nelson.
Posted by Barbara | August 7, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
DWI and probation violation
Blair. represented our son in substance abuse charges efficiently and effectively. He helped arrange rehab and gave the kind of professional assistance which has, in the end, made it possible for our son to begin to rebuild his life without the stigma of felony charges on his record.
Posted by Nicole | July 20, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Mother of 6 Facing 10 Year Mandatory Minimum Prison Sentence
At the worst time of my life, Blair Nelson gave me hope. A family man himself, Mr. Nelson exemplified the characteristics of a philanthropist that understood the importance of fair sentencing. I felt like I was losing my family, and Mr. Nelson soon became the guiding hand at this uncertain time of my life. I was facing a mandatory minimum 10 year prison sentence, and with his experience and positive mindset, I was able to avoid and extreme sentence and be reunited with my husband and kids within a year. I thank God for men like Blair Nelson.
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Posted by anonymous | January 22, 2016
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Athlete FALSE rape.
I was a high profile athlete at a JC in north MN. I was accused of raping a girl and was thrown in jail for 19 days and was facing 12 years in prison Blair took over and got me justice as I got 2 not guilty verdict. After a terrible joke of investigation by the officer and school they took the stand in court and Blair made them look stupid. His actions and demeanor are top notch. Turns out the girl was lying from the beginning and Blair got her to ultimately prove that I was telling the truth the entire time. Blair really comforts you and tells it how it is. He is a great guy and truly does figjht for you. First hand when I was in jail and first met and conversed with Blair he was respectful caring and honest. He is a wonderful hire. Worth the money. Makes these dumb small town prosecuting attorneys dumb. Love Blair and his help. Guy knows how to do his job.
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Posted by Terina | March 3, 2014
Blair Has Earned my Respect and Trust! I Wholeheartedly Recommend Him!
When I suddenly found myself arrested on felony criminal sex charges, I was scared and overwhelmed. I had no experience with the legal system and knew I needed a good lawyer. But I didn’t know how I’d ever find one I could trust and feel comfortable with. From my very first conversation with Blair, I knew I could trust him. Without talking down to me or embarrassing me, he sorted everything out. Explained things. I could tell that he knew the law and knew how to help me. He welcomed my questions. (And maybe some of my questions were dumb but if they were, Blair never let on. He then, and still has, helped me to have and keep my dignity.) And he was compassionate and understanding, letting me have my moments when I was overwhelmed with emotions. True, you can’t just go by first impressions. But during the time he’s been representing me, he’s proven to me time and again that I couldn’t have wished for a better or more skilled lawyer. He promptly keeps me informed of what’s happening, explaining what it means and how we’ll proceed. No false hopes, no dramatizing. Just here’s what it is and here’s what we’ll do. He’s even gotten the law book out to give me something ‘visual’ when I needed a little clearer understanding and more reassurance. He doesn’t need to do that but that’s just how Blair is: He takes the time and gives the little ‘extra’ his client needs. Very comforting to have him in control yet still be kept ‘in the loop.’ I’ve also gotten to see him ‘in action’ in the courtroom, not only what he says, but how he interacts with the judge and the prosecuting attorney, his demeanor. Impressive! He’s respectful and at ease but he doesn’t let himself be intimidated. He’s there for his client, ready to push if he needs to push. He’s earned my respect and I have complete faith in him. What’s been huge to me is that when I’ve got questions, or worries, or maybe I’m just stressing out, he’s accessible. I can schedule an appointment (and his office quickly fits me in every time) or email or call him. For me, it’s mostly emails. And Blair responds quickly (10-20 minutes!). It shows how ready he is to help his client. And Blair knows just what to say, whether it’s making a statement to the media in my behalf, or just reminding me to breathe. Or handling every ‘crisis’ in between. It’s a good feeling knowing I’m being represented by the best. That’s why I can wholeheartedly, with no hesitation, recommend Blair as a skilled lawyer you can confidently put your trust in.
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Posted by Candice | January 4, 2014
Best Attorney in Beltrami County!
Years ago, when Mr. Nelson first opened his business, my dad worked with him on immigration issues. More than a decade later, I found myself in a situation that I needed an attorney. I called Blair Nelson, who advised me not to speak with the police (DUH? right?). Because of his work on the case, and the fact that I had an attorney representing me from day one, all charges were eventually dropped due to lack of evidence to prosecute. I'm not saying this will be the case with everyone, but for the money I spent in having a professional and experienced attorney represent me (instead of a "public pretender") I was able to avoid a criminal record. And THAT, is worth far more to me in the end.
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Posted by Bob Kelly | June 14, 2013
An Advocate in the widest, deepest and most compassionate sense of the word.
Blair Nelson is always prompt to be at my service. He returned calls and e-mails the same day. He exuded confidence in my outcome without being foolish about how the criminal justice system actually works. He was very cordial and friendly with courthouse guards, bailiffs, public defenders, prosecutors, court recorders and my supporters in court. He wasn't going to lose any points with anyone in the process for being distant, grumpy or surly. Blair is committed to good outcomes for his clients. He is not in the least intimidated by over zealous prosecutors who huff and puff and pile on charges trying to force a plea bargain. He is a trial attorney who can handle the mood and the atmosphere of a trial by jury. He is on facebook with the generally low income community of people that he serves. The facebook connections show him to be an advocate who is deeply caring about the overall lives of the people he serves every day in court. Blair shares his time, his talents and his treasure back into the Bemidji area community. Blair Nelson is a drunkard's dream if I ever did see one. (Robbie Robertson, The Band) I am Bob K.
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Posted by Steve A | June 10, 2013
Excellent Attorney
Excellent attorney. Great attention to detail. Knows the case up and down and is prepared for every hearing. Well versed in the law and is able to communicate that to the Judge. Not afraid of a good fight. Top notch criminal representation!
Posted by Dominic | June 10, 2013
Why did I ever go anywhere else?
Blair Nelson is by far the best lawyer I have ever had. I was charged with hurting my brother in-law for protecting myself. My first lawyer did not do my case or myself justice. I lost. And served all of my time. 3 months after the fact I won my appeal. Just to find out that it just made things moot. And had to go back to trial. I took on Blair as my lawyer. Right off the bat he dug right down to the core of everything, asked me things I wouldn't even have thought of. He got to point. He did everything he could for me, and more. I won as I should have the first time around. He did me justice. He is very talented, knows his stuff, puts you first, and I will never go anywhere else ever again.
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  • Hourly Rates $ 300-450 per hour
  • Retainer Always
Payment methods
Cash, Check


AVVO RATING 9.1 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Attorney
  • Blair W. Nelson, Ltd.
  • 2001 - Present
  • Attorney
  • Hazelton & Rogers
  • 1999 - 2001
  • Attorney
  • Nelson Law Office
  • 1997 - 1999


  • University of North Dakota School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1995
  • University of North Dakota
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1991

Legal Cases

  • State v JJJ (Wadena County, MN)
  • Disorderly Conduct charge dismissed
  • State v ARH (Clearwater County, MN)
  • Domestic Assault Charges Dismissed.
  • State v MRA (Polk County, MN)
  • Firearms Rights Restored
View all legal cases


  • Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice
  • Member
  • 2018 - Present
  • Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network
  • Attorney Member
  • 2012 - Present
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • Member
  • 1998 - Present
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Member
  • 1997 - Present
  • Minnesota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Member
  • N/A
View all associations

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Notable
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2023
  • Super Lawyer - Criminal Defense
  • Super Lawyers Magazine
  • 2020
  • Certified Criminal Law Specialist
  • Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA)
  • 2018
  • Certified Criminal Law Specialist
  • Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA)
  • 2012
View all awards


Speaking Engagements

  • Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice
  • Nelson on the North (DWI Practice in the 9th District)
  • 2019
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (1)
Given (5)
Endorse Blair
Criminal defense Attorney | Mar 04
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Mr. Nelson is a colleague practicing in northern Minnesota who I have known for years. I often consult Mr. Nelson regarding cases and refer cases to him. He is widely seen as the "go-to" source for answers to many complicated legal questions. He is one of the best!"
Criminal defense
Personal injury
Criminal defense

Avvo Contributions

1 Legal Answers 0 Legal Guides
Bemidji Criminal defense Lawyer Blair W. Nelson
Blair W. Nelson
Criminal defense Attorney
Bemidji, MN
Licensed for 26 years
Virtual consultation available