Can You Get a DUI on a Bike in MN?

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In Minnesota, you will not violate any DUI laws by riding a bike under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as long as the bicycle is purely human-powered. Our state laws only care whether you operate a motorized vehicle while intoxicated. However, as motorized bikes become more popular, bicycle DUIs are on the rise. Riding a gas or electric-powered bike with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above could land you behind bars. In fact, you could face the same severe penalties that you would if you drove your car while intoxicated. This includes fines, driver license suspension, and possible jail time. With the help of a DUI lawyer in Minnesota, you can possibly reduce or eliminate charges. Contact our criminal defense attorneys for a complimentary consultation. Consequences of Driving a Bike While Impaired Even if your bike is pedal-powered, you can get into trouble if you drink or do drugs before a ride. Drugs and alcohol impair your reflexes and your concentration. You might: Have an accident with a pedestrian or another cyclist; Get hit by a car, resulting in serious injuries or death; or Cause an accident, potentially opening yourself up to a negligence lawsuit. If you ride a bike powered by an electric or gas motor, the potential consequences become much more serious. DUI charges carry the threat of jail and hefty fines, even for a first offense. You could face the suspension of your driver license and have to pay a substantial fee to get it reinstated. Your insurance rates will increase, and your conviction will appear on your permanent record, potentially affecting your career as well as your finances. Finally, any Minnesota DUI conviction (even on a motorized bike) counts as a prior offense. Should the police arrest you in the future for drinking and driving, your bicycle DUI will qualify you for stiffer penalties, including the potential for felony DUI charges. What to Do If You Get a DUI on a Bike If you get a DUI while riding a bike, treat the situation as seriously as you would any other DUI or DWI charge. The police and prosecutor may suggest making the situation go away by offering a plea deal. In exchange for entering a guilty plea, for example, they may offer to take potential jail time off the table. Although this might sound good to you at the time, you will still face all the other direct and indirect penalties associated with having a DUI conviction. Before agreeing to a deal or providing a statement to the police, contact a Minnesota DUI lawyer to discuss your charges. Talk to a Minnesota Bike DUI Lawyer Getting a DUI on a bike may sound harmless, but before you make any decisions about your case, talk to a Minnesota DWI lawyer. At Arechigo & Stokka, we take the time to answer your questions and help you make the right decision for your future. We fight for the legal rights of our clients, working throughout the process to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today to schedule your no-cost consultation.

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Is a DWI a Felony in MN?

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Not every DWI is a felony in Minnesota. You can face charges for felony DWI, but a series of aggravating factors is required to trigger a felony DWI in Minnesota. In fact, a large percentage of DUI/DWI crimes in MN are felonies. But even if the court finds you guilty of a misdemeanor, the penalties you face can be life-changing. In addition to the potential for going to jail, you will have to pay substantial fines as well as court costs and fees. You could lose your driver license, your license plates, or even your vehicle. With the help of a DUI defense attorney, these charges can potentially be reduced or eliminated. Contact our office today to discuss your specific case and possible defenses. What Is a Misdemeanor DWI? Typically, you will face misdemeanor charges for your first DWI offense. If any aggravating factors apply to your arrest, however, the court could charge you with a gross misdemeanor. Aggravating factors include: Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.16 or above, Having a child age 16 or under in the car, Refusing to submit to BAC testing, and Having prior DWI convictions. Upon conviction for misdemeanor DUI/DWI, you could face 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Although penalties are less harsh than the penalties for a felony, a gross misdemeanor DWI conviction could earn you up to one year in county jail. You will also face monetary fines up to $3,000 as well as a lengthy suspension of your driver license. What Is a Felony DWI? In Minnesota, you will face felony DWI charges under any of the following circumstances: You have a prior felony DWI conviction on your record; You had a prior felony vehicular injury or homicide conviction involving impairment; or You had three or more DWI convictions in the past ten years. Although you may associate DWI with drinking and driving, you face the same penalties if you drive while under the influence of a Schedule I or II drug in any amount. Costs & Consequences of Felony DWI Upon conviction for a felony DWI in MN, you face up to seven years in a state prison and as much as $14,000 in fines. If you have prior felonies on your record, your penalties could be much worse. Further, the prosecutor can tack on additional charges based on the circumstances of your arrest. With a felony conviction, you also face years of supervised probation, long-term alcohol monitoring, and a host of administrative penalties. Administrative penalties may include: The cancelation or revocation of your driver license, The requirement to install an ignition interlock device on all your vehicles, Impoundment of your license plates, and/or Forfeiture of your vehicle. You will have a permanent criminal record, which can interfere with your ability to get a job or rent a home. You will also struggle to find affordable insurance coverage as a convicted DWI offender. When Should You Contact a Minnesota DUI Lawyer? Any DWI arrest – felony or misdemeanor – can substantially affect every aspect of your life. Don’t risk your future by agreeing to a deal with the prosecutor or trying to represent yourself in court. The Minnesota felony DWI lawyers of Arechigo & Stokka understand how frightening this experience can be, and we are here to help you. We have assisted hundreds of clients facing misdemeanor and felony DUI/DWI charges. Let us put our extensive knowledge, experience, and resources to work for you. We offer a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to answer your questions and help you make the right choice for your future. Contact us today to learn more.

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What You Should Know About Minnesota Whiskey Plates

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Did you know that getting a DWI in Minnesota can cost you your car’s license plates as well as your driver’s license? If the police impound your license plates, you cannot drive unless you obtain a special registration plate, commonly called a “whiskey plate” in Minnesota. Readily identifiable, Minnesota DUI license plates are white and start with the letter “W.” These conspicuous plates carry stigma you may prefer to avoid, if possible. They also draw the scrutiny of law enforcement wherever you go. You must retain the plates for at least one year but possibly longer depending on your circumstances. Why You Get a Whiskey Plate in Minnesota In Minnesota, you must get DUI license plates if the police impound your standard plates for any of the following reasons: DWI arrest with a DWI prior conviction or license revocation in the last ten years; DWI arrest with two or more DWI convictions in the past (any period); DWI arrest with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.16 or above; Commercial DWI arrest (BAC of .04 or above) with a DWI prior conviction or license revocation in the last ten years; DWI arrest with a minor child (under age 17) in the car; or Driving on a license suspended or revoked for drunk driving. Worse, the DWI license plate law applies to both the driver and the owner of the vehicle. This means that the police can impound your vehicle’s plates for a year or more, even if someone else got a DUI in your car. What It Means to Have a Minnesota Whiskey Plate Minnesota lawmakers believe that forcing repeat offenders to display MN whiskey plates raises law enforcement’s awareness of a driver’s past. However, these plates also publicly broadcast sensitive information about your past. If friends or family members borrow your car, they too will face elevated scrutiny. Law enforcement officers cannot legally stop your vehicle simply because you have a whiskey plate in MN. Nevertheless, you will face constant scrutiny from the police, as officers may watch you more closely than other drivers, looking for justification to make a traffic stop. Officers need to have only a reasonable suspicion that you violated a traffic law to pull you over. Worse, you must also pay the state a hefty fee to put the plates on your car and yet another fee to take them off. When Should You Contact a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer? Once the police impound your regular plates, you must apply for whiskey plates if you hope to drive your car again. Fortunately, you do have an alternative: you can petition the court to have the impoundment order reversed. Because you have only a limited time to challenge an impoundment order, contacting a criminal defense lawyer may be in your best interest. An experienced DWI lawyer understands the process and can protect your legal rights. The Minnesota DWI attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka have more than two decades of experience. They can put that experience to work, helping you fight a DWI and avoid having to put Minnesota whiskey plates on your vehicle. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.

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Is Wax a Felony in Minnesota?

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Possessing marijuana wax in any amount qualifies you for felony charges in Minnesota.  You will also face felony charges if you distribute or sell wax (also known as “dabs”), THC oil, or other alternative forms of marijuana. If you are convicted, you will face substantial penalties that can seriously affect your life. Fortunately, a Minnesota drug possession lawyer can help you by building a strong case for your defense. What Are the Penalties for Wax Possession? Any offense involving the possession of marijuana in resin or hash oil form – including wax – can result in felony charges. Although possessing the plant form of marijuana in small quantities carries only petty misdemeanor charges, even the smallest amount of wax can send you to prison for years. The level of felony charges you face for possessing wax will depend on the quantity in question, your prior criminal history, and the circumstances of your arrest.  Even the least of the potential felony charges carries the threat of five years in prison and fines up to $10,000. For larger quantities, you could face up to 30 years behind bars and as much as $1,000,000 in fines. If you have prior convictions on your record, you can expect to face the maximum penalties. What Are the Penalties for Distributing Wax? Selling or distributing wax and other non-plant forms of marijuana carries even harsher penalties, especially when larger quantities are involved. The maximum penalty could lead to 35 years in prison and a fine of $1,250,000.  Any quantity sold to a minor or distributed in a school zone can lead to 15 to 20 years in prison and fines that range up to $250,000. Costs & Consequences of a Wax-Related Crime Upon conviction for a wax-related felony, you also face a variety of consequences in addition to fines and potential prison time. You will have a permanent criminal record, which can prevent you from getting a job, getting into a good school, holding a professional license, and more. You could lose your driver’s license, and in some cases, the state could even seize your property and assets, depending on the circumstances of your case. How Does Medical Marijuana Affect Wax? If you are medically qualified for marijuana use, you can legally possess small quantities of wax. To avoid facing misdemeanor or felony wax charges, you must be duly enrolled and in compliance with the applicable medical marijuana regulations. Potential Defenses Against Wax Charges Fortunately, drug crimes lawyers have many options when building a defense to felony wax charges. For example, an illegal search and seizure can render evidence inadmissible in court. Likewise, if the police fail to properly handle the evidence, it may also become inadmissible. Another effective defense strategy involves the location in which the police found the wax. If you did not have physical control of the substance (such as in a pocket or purse), your lawyer can potentially make the case that the wax wasn’t yours. If the police violated your legal rights at any time during your arrest or processing, you may also have grounds for getting your charges reduced or dismissed.   When Should You Call a Drug Crimes Lawyer? Being arrested for any drug-related crime is a serious situation. Before you make any statements or agree to any plea deal, talk to a Minnesota marijuana crimes lawyer. At Arechigo & Stokka, our criminal defense attorneys understand the seriousness of your situation. That’s why we offer a free consultation, so you can understand the charges pending against you and your potential options. Call us now for help.

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Malicious Punishment of a Child Charges in Minnesota

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Malicious punishment of a child charges in Minnesota are those directed at a parent, guardian, or caretaker. The charges typically result from the manner in which a child was disciplined.  These charges can be a felony or gross misdemeanor. There is a lot of gray area in the definition of the crime itself. Facing a malicious punishment charge can be terrifying, especially if you feel you’ve done nothing wrong as a parent. If you are facing charges for malicious punishment of a child, read on to understand your options. Note that all charges can potentially be reduced or eliminated with the help of a criminal defense lawyer. We recommend contacting us right away if you have been charged with malicious punishment of a child. How the Law Defines Malicious Punishment of a Child In Minnesota, malicious punishment of a child is defined as follows: A parent, legal guardian, or caretaker who, by an intentional act or a series of intentional acts with respect to a child, evidences unreasonable force or cruel discipline that is excessive under the circumstances This definition would include child abuse. Malicious punishment of a child in Minnesota often depends on the particular circumstances surrounding the incident. The basis of the crime is using unreasonable force or cruel discipline on a child. What a court or jury would consider excessive force or cruel discipline may be different in different situations.  Additionally, there are two other elements of the crime. The parent, guardian, or caretaker must have acted intentionally, and the force or cruelty must have been excessive. In other words, the state’s proof of this crime may not be as clear as it seems. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical in this situation. Malicious Punishment of a Child Charges Malicious punishment of a child in Minnesota can be either a gross misdemeanor or a felony. A gross misdemeanor is possible when the punishment results in “less than substantial bodily harm.” The charge may be enhanced to a felony in the following circumstances: The child was under the age of four, and the punishment caused bodily harm to the  head, eyes, neck, or caused multiple bruises to the child’s body; Punishment resulted in substantial bodily harm to the child; Punishment resulted in great bodily harm to the child; or  If the person charged committed the crime within five years after the end of their sentence or disposition from a conviction for a previous, specific crime (listed in the statute). The state of Minnesota defines the various harms as follows: Bodily harm: “physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition;” Substantial bodily harm: “bodily injury which involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, or which causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or which causes a fracture of any bodily member;” Great bodily harm: “bodily injury which creates a high probability of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily harm.” The penalties will depend on the specific charge. Penalties for Malicious Punishment of a Child For a gross misdemeanor charge of malicious punishment of a child, the person convicted can receive a sentence of jail time of one year or less, a fine of $3,000 or less, or both. In the cases of felony to a child under four, a felony resulting in substantial bodily harm, or a prior conviction, the person convicted can receive a prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of $10,000, or both. For a felony resulting in great bodily harm, the person convicted can receive a prison sentence of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both. Why Hiring an Attorney is Critical Hiring an attorney for malicious punishment of a child charges is critical. As mentioned above, the particular circumstances are highly relevant to this crime. Additionally, there may be specific legal defenses available in your case that an experienced attorney can help you with. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Minnesota will thoroughly investigate your case and mount the best defense possible. Contact Arechigo & Stokka, P.A. If you are facing charges for malicious punishment of a child, contact the experienced attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka, P.A. We offer free consultations and will assist you every step of the way. We have a history of success in reducing or eliminating all manner of criminal defense charges, including defending our clients in the Minnesota Supreme Court. Contact us today to get started.

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5th Degree Drug Possession in MN – What Are the Consequences?

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If you are facing 5th degree drug possession charges in the state of Minnesota, you might be unsure of what to do. Because of the complicated categorization of drug offenses, it can be confusing to understand your charges. It’s always important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. Your attorney can go over your charges with you and mount a strong defense. At Arechigo & Stokka, P.A., we have decades of experience handling these types of charges for our clients. In this article, we’ll discuss 5th degree drug charges in Minnesota, as well as possible consequences and defenses. Remember that with the help of a criminal defense lawyer, charges can potentially be reduced or eliminated. If you face drug possession charges, we strongly recommend that you contact us as soon as possible. What Are 5th Degree Drug Charges?  In the state of Minnesota, there are five different degrees of drug charges. The degree of the crime depends upon the amount of substance in question. It also depends upon whether the substance was being sold or manufactured. 5th degree drug charges are the least serious. 5th degree drug charges only include those for possession or sale. However, 5th degree drug charges can be either a felony or gross misdemeanor.  Felony 5th degree drug charges in Minnesota are for the sale of drugs or possession of larger amounts of drugs. Gross misdemeanor charges are those for possession of a small amount of drugs. In other words, if the cops arrested someone because they were selling marijuana, mixed drugs, or one of the drugs on Minnesota’s Schedule IV list, they might charge the person with felony 5th degree drug sale. If they arrested someone who was in possession of any of the drugs on the schedule I, II, III, or IV list (in greater than the amounts listed for gross misdemeanor charges), they might charge the person with felony 5th degree drug possession. If it is someone’s first offense, and they possessed less than 0.05 grams of heroin or less than 0.25 grams (or one dosage unit) of another controlled substance, they might charge the person with 5th degree gross misdemeanor possession.  What Are the Consequences for 5th Degree Drug Possession?  The consequences for 5th degree drug possession in Minnesota will depend on whether the charge was a felony or gross misdemeanor.  Gross misdemeanor possession charges are punishable by up to one year in jail, a $3,000 fine, oandr forfeiture of property related to the crime, like cash obtained. Felony 5th degree drug possession charges are punishable by up to five years in jail or a fine of up to $10,000, or both.  However, the consequences you face outside the justice system may be worse. You may experience difficulty adjusting to life after your conviction. It could be difficult to find work or housing. You may also lose certain privileges, such as voting rights or the ability to lawfully possess a firearm. Because the consequences of 5th degree drug possession can be so severe, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.  Choosing the Right Drug Offense Attorney Your choice of attorney will be the single most crucial factor in defending your drug charges in Minnesota. Several defenses may be available. The experienced attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka, P.A. will thoroughly investigate your case and work tirelessly to defend you. Possible strategies for defense include the following. Investigating Entrapment Depending on the situation, entrapment may be a viable defense if officers tricked you into buying or selling drugs. Analyzing the Chain of Evidence We analyze the chain of evidence to assess whether the drugs were actually in your possession. Examining Due Process  We determine whether law enforcement complied with due process. We ensure that the arresting officers did not violate your constitutional rights, such as your right to be free from unreasonable searches. Assessing Legal Possession If you had a legal prescription for the substance but were not able to present it at the time of your arrest, you may still be able to get the charges dropped later. Our Case Results Our drug defense attorneys have had a number of drug charges dropped or reduced after a thorough investigation into the police conduct that resulted in the discovery of the drugs. Charges have been dropped or reduced because of the unlawful search of a motor vehicle, insufficient probable cause to support a search warrant to search a home, unlawful seizures and pat searches of an individual, and unreliable informants providing information to police. Our criminal defense lawyers have also kept clients convicted of serious 1st degree drug crimes out of prison after successful downward dispositional arguments. Contact Arechigo & Stokka, P.A. If you’ve been arrested on a 5th degree drug charge in Minnesota, contact the experienced attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka, P.A. We offer free consultations and will aggressively defend your case.

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What is a Downward Departure?

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If you face a conviction for a felony offense, you may worry about sentencing requirements. Minnesota uses a formula known as sentencing guidelines to determine recommended sentences for felony crimes. Guideline sentences are not mandatory, but they are presumptive. While a judge is supposed to follow the guidelines, you still have options for a lighter sentence. In some cases, a judge can use discretion to reduce the severity level of your conviction. This concept, called downward departure, happens when a judge departs from required sentencing guidelines and chooses to impose a lesser sentence using a downward departure. The judge may have many reasons for a downward departure, such as a first-time offense or extenuating circumstances. A good criminal defense attorney attempts to persuade a judge to use lighter sentencing. If you think lighter sentencing should apply to your case, you may ask, “What is a downward departure?” To understand legal options for Minnesota sentencing, you should know a few things about a downward departure. Here, we will discuss the following to help you gain a better understanding of downward departure: What are Minnesota sentencing guidelines? What sentencing factors does a judge consider? Why would a judge choose to grant a downward departure? Hear it From an Expert – John Arechigo – 2019 Attorney of the Year John Arechigo, a practicing criminal defense attorney in St. Paul, explains what you should know about downwards departures. Recently, John Arechigo was named the 2019 Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer. He sheds some useful insight based on his years of experience within the criminal defense. So, before deciding to hire any criminal defense attorney to consider if you are hiring an attorney with the experience you need to get the court ruling you deserve. What Are Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines? Sentencing guidelines are common across the United States. As lawmakers realized some offenders received unfair sentences, they began writing sentencing guidelines. These guidelines give a judge suggested or mandatory sentences for each crime. Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines first went into effect in 1980 and continue to be revised and renewed. The latest guidelines went into effect in August of 2019. The sentencing guidelines seek to promote consistent sentencing and public safety while reducing judicial bias factors. Different Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines are used for “standard” offenses, sex offenses, and drug offenses and outline minimum and maximum sentences using a grid system that accounts for a person’s prior criminal history and the severity of the current sentencing offense. The sentencing guidelines are advisory to the court, meaning they are not mandatory. The guidelines allow a judge to depart from suggested sentencing when “substantial and compelling circumstances” arise. It is a criminal defense attorney’s job to effectively convince a judge that such compelling circumstances apply to your case. What Sentencing Factors Does a Judge Consider? Downward departure means an offender receives a more lenient sentence than the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines recommend. Judges consider the following factors before allowing a downward departure sentence. Public safety. This is the primary factor in downward departure sentencing. A judge wants to protect the public from crime. Retribution. This sentencing element punishes the offender for their crime. The severity of the retribution should be proportional to the seriousness of the offense and the offender’s prior criminal record. Incapacitation. This sentencing goal takes away an offender’s ability to commit future crimes by keeping the offender in prison. Deterrence. This element attempts to deter criminal behavior by the threat of harsh sentencing. In theory, if a judgment is too light it may not deter people from committing additional crimes in the future. Restitution. This objective tries to pay the victim or society back for the harm done. Restitution comes in three forms: monetary, community service, and service to victims. Offenders with short criminal histories who committed non-violent crimes might be eligible for restitution, like community service. Rehabilitation. This goal seeks to reform the convicted individual in an effort to eliminate future offenses upon release from prison. Rehabilitation services include substance abuse, education, and mental health services. Some prisons may not have rehabilitation services. The absence of rehabilitation resources does not justify a longer prison sentence. A judge balances these factors when determining whether a downward departure is appropriate for an offender. Why Would a Judge Choose Downward Departure? A judge can depart from suggested sentencing grids in two ways: Aggravated Durational Departure. This occurs when a judge orders a sentence at least 20 percent higher than the sentence in the grid. Mitigated Durational Departure. This occurs when the court orders a sentence that is more than 15 percent lower than that suggested on the grid. Your criminal defense attorney will argue for substantial and compelling circumstances that necessitate a mitigated durational departure. This is a significant downward departure. This means your sentence will become at least 15 percent lighter than sentencing guidelines suggest. A plea bargain is a form of a downward departure. A plea bargain involves a defendant pleading guilty for a lesser charge in exchange for a lighter sentence. This moves the case through the court quickly and spares a defendant from facing a maximum sentence. Another situation that may invite downward departure sentences is when a defendant cooperates with the prosecuting attorney. This could mean that the defendant provides information that helps the prosecution with their case. The defendant could assist with the current case or another case, causing the prosecution to request a downward departure sentence. A judge may also consider reasons for a downward departure in these situations: The defendant was an accomplice to the crime. The defendant didn’t understand the criminal nature of the act. The defendant has a mental disorder that requires specialized treatment. The victim initiated or provoked the crime. The defendant committed the crime under duress. The defendant was too young to understand the consequences of criminal behavior. The need for restitution to the victim is greater than the need for prison time. After applying a downward departure sentence, the judge completes a departure report explaining...

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Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Laws

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When you’re going about your day at work and performing job-related tasks, the last thing you expect is to suffer injuries in a workplace accident. However, statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that these incidents are more common than you think. According to a report on State Occupational Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities for 2017, there were 72,500 recordable cases in Minnesota regarding medical conditions resulting from work-related activities. The implications extend far beyond the physical pain and into financial consequences, as employees experienced 36,600 days away from work. Fortunately, Minnesota workers’ compensation laws protect employees who are unable to work because of illness or injury. Monetary benefits are available, though they’re not automatic. You must successfully navigate the claims process, which can be complicated. To increase your chances of quick approval and prompt payment, it’s wise to retain a Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney for assistance. A summary of the relevant laws may also be helpful. Legal Obligations for Minnesota Employers Under MN workers’ compensation laws, all employers must procure insurance policies to cover the losses of eligible employees who suffer from work-related ailments. As such, your first step in seeking monetary benefits is filing a claim with the worker’s comp insurance company. You don’t have to prove that your employer was at fault, but you must meet strict eligibility rules to qualify. Eligibility Under MN Workers’ Comp Laws The primary consideration for purposes of qualifying for benefits is your status. Most workers will be eligible, even those that are part-time. The exception is for individuals who work as independent contractors, as separate from the employer’s business. The second key to qualifying for workers’ comp benefits is the incident or work-related factors that led to your medical condition. Both injuries and occupational illnesses are covered by state laws. Aside from eligibility, you should note that there are deadlines and time restrictions you must obey to ensure you get the workers’ comp benefits you deserve. You need to inform your employer within 14 days after a workplace accident, or you could lose your rights. Benefits for Qualifying Employees If you qualify, there are multiple monetary benefits you may be entitled to receive: The costs of medical care, including all treatment, equipment, supplies, and transportation expenses to and from appointments; Lost wages, which are a percentage of your income that you lose because of being unable to work; and, Vocational rehabilitation, to provide training, education, and other support if you need to move into another occupation because of your injuries. In addition, death benefits are available for family members of workers who lose a loved one because of a workplace accident. Schedule a Free Consultation with a Skilled Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Lawyer To learn more about your rights under Minnesota workers’ compensation laws, please contact Arechigo & Stokka, P.A. to speak to a member of our team. You can call 651-222-6603 or visit our website to set up a complimentary case evaluation at our St. Paul, MN office. We’ll be in a better position to advise you once we review your unique circumstances.

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Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines

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Though judges may seem to have considerable leeway in sentencing individuals who have been convicted of crimes, real-life circumstances are very different from what you see in films. Minnesota, several other US states, and the federal government have implemented sentencing guidelines to assist judges in handing down punishment. These sets of rules are designed to ensure fairness and consistency, so that bias doesn’t adversely affect basic principles of justice. Like their counterparts in other jurisdictions, the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines are extremely complex and take various factors into account in determining penalties for a conviction. For this reason, it’s important to retain experienced legal counsel as early on in the criminal process as possible. Your Minnesota criminal defense attorney can defend your interests in the underlying crime and will strive to obtain a favorable outcome when it comes to sentencing. In addition, you may find it useful to review some basic information about how sentencing works under Minnesota criminal laws. [DOWNLOAD] Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines E-Book Overview of Minnesota Sentencing Commission and Guidelines Back in 1978, Minnesota lawmakers enacted the first legislation in the US regarding a set of rules to assist judges in sentencing. The statute created the Minnesota Sentencing Commission, a government body that implemented another first in the country: The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines went into effect in 1980. Since that time, the number of convicted felons who were sentenced according to the rules grew from 5,500 to 18,288 felony offenders in 2017 – according to the Commission’s 2019 Report to the Legislature. The Commission is charged with establishing the Guidelines and updating them on an annual basis, with the primary goal being public safety. A secondary objective of the sentencing system is to promote uniformity and ensure that decisions on punishment are not motivated by race, gender, or other constitutionally protected classifications. By applying the Guidelines, sentencing is more likely to be neutral, logical, and consistent. As will be described in further detail below, the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines encompass a grid system that assesses the severity of the crime and the individual’s criminal history. The product of this analysis is a presumptive sentence, though a judge can exercise some discretion within a limited range of potential punishments. Under designated – mostly rare – circumstances, a court can depart from the presumptive sentence. Over the decades since the Guidelines went into effect, they have been largely successful in meeting the stated objectives of the Commission. The 2019 Report indicates that Minnesota has consistently ranked in the top three US states with the lowest imprisonment rates; the state has earned this accolade in all but one of the 37 years spanning from 1980 – 2016. In addition, Minnesota’s imprisonment rate in 2016 was around 190 for every 100,000 residents in the state. This number is less than half the rate of all other states, which was 387 per 100,000 residents. Because the system created by the Guidelines results in some of the lowest rates of incarceration, your situation may not be as grim as you think. Of course, the outcome will depend on the specifics of your case. A skilled criminal defense attorney can work to develop a strategy that takes the best possible advantage of the Guidelines. John Arechigo – Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Presumptive Versus Maximum Sentences The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines are developed around the concept of “presumptive” sentences. The term comes from the fact that the punishment is presumed to be appropriate for all typical cases, after accounting for the individual’s criminal history and the severity of the offense for which he or she was convicted. Within the presumptive sentence, there are two important factors: The presumptive duration, which is a defined sentence length as measured in months; and, The presumptive range of punishment, starting from a point 15 percent lower and 20 percent higher than the presumptive duration. What our clients say… ★★★★★ “They were also upfront and honest with me regarding the severity of my charges. I was informed about ALL of the possible directions that I could take in the legal system as well as the consequences and benefits what would accompany each course of action.” Abigail P. ★★★★★ “I was so happy when John took my case, I was kept Informed of all of his every intentions, plans, and his recommendations was well thought out. My case was over in a timely manner and I felt like he was working in my best interest.” Kiki H. ★★★★★ “I was so happy that we chose John to be our attorney! He was with us every step of the way helping us get the best outcome possible. I was very pleased with how responsive John was to our needs, even responding to my emails and texts during odd hours of the day. “ Nicole B. ★★★★★ “Very Responsive attorney , always available by phone, email, or text. Helped me Expunge a case. Best decision I ever made.” Rae C. When applying the factors of the two-part test explained below, the judge will come to a designated spot on the Sentencing Guidelines Grid – which contains the presumptive duration and presumptive range for individuals convicted of Minnesota felonies. In a typical case, one that doesn’t encompass unusual circumstances, the judge will use the presumptive duration. However, where there are factors that reflect unfavorably on the convicted individual, the court can sentence up to the presumptive range limit. Likewise, when the person’s actions justify a reduced sentence, a judge may issue a sentence on the low end of the presumptive range. In addition, the court is required to abide by rules related to the statutory maximum sentence. For Minnesota felonies, the statute will usually use the phrase “imprisonment for not more than X years.” This language defines the maximum sentence a judge can issue. Two-Part Determination Under Minnesota Criminal Laws The core of the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines is the Grid, a table with a horizontal and vertical axis. The axes incorporate two separate factors that a court applies...

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Maximum Sentence for Misdemeanor in Minnesota

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However, when speaking of possible sentences for misdemeanor criminal convictions in Minnesota, there is a broad range of possible sentences.   District courts have wide discretion in deciding which conditions to place on a person convicted of a misdemeanor in Minnesota.   THE MAXIMUM SENTENCE FOR MISDEMEANOR IN MINNESOTA IS 90 DAYS IN JAIL AND A $1,000.00 FINE These conditions can include random drug or alcohol testing, payment of restitution, and no contact with certain individuals, to name just a few. For the maximum sentence for a misdemeanor conviction in Minnesota, a court cannot impose more than a 90-day jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.   If a judge imposes the maximum sentence and orders the convicted individual to serve 90 days in jail, the judge cannot also impose conditions such as random drug or alcohol testing.   A person convicted of a misdemeanor in Minnesota has the option to execute the maximum 90-day jail sentence. If executed, the judge cannot order probation or additional conditions to be imposed after the 90 days have been served. SOME CRIMES IN MINNESOTA ARE ENHANCEABLE OFFENSES This means that the more you get, the worse the punishment gets.  DWI and Domestic Assault are probably the most common enhanceable offenses.   If a person is convicted of a first-time misdemeanor Domestic Assault offense, the maximum sentence that could be imposed is 90 days in jail.   However, if that same individual is convicted of a subsequent Domestic Assault offense within ten years of the misdemeanor conviction, that second offense will be enhanced to a gross misdemeanor and will carry increased penalties. In addition to a 90-day jail maximum sentence for a misdemeanor in Minnesota, there are additional penalties that could come into play for a conviction of certain types of offenses These additional penalties are commonly referred to as “collateral consequences.”   Again, DWI and Domestic Assault or probably the most common types of offenses that trigger collateral consequences if convicted.   For example, certain firearm restrictions are triggered by a misdemeanor domestic assault conviction in Minnesota and driver’s license revocation issues pop up if convicted of a misdemeanor DWI. If you or someone you know is facing a misdemeanor criminal charge in Minnesota, you need an experienced  Minnesota criminal defense lawyer.   Our St. Paul criminal defense attorneys will answer all of your questions about your misdemeanor charge.   Our Minnesota criminal defense attorneys will prepare a strong and effective defense that will help you avoid the maximum sentence for your misdemeanor charge.   Contact our St. Paul criminal defense lawyers today to schedule your free consultation.

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