2nd Degree Drug Crimes – Penalties and Remedies

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

If you’ve been charged or are facing criminal charges for a 2nd-degree drug crime, we at Arechigo & Stokka know that you have questions. Many people going through the criminal justice system are doing so for the very first time. You are understandably scared. When you reach out to the experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka, we will carefully explain your options to you and develop a defense strategy to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. This page is the starting point to understanding your options for avoiding 2nd-degree felony punishment. What Are the 2nd Degree Drug Crimes in Minnesota? Second-degree drug crimes are serious felony offenses, with punishment ranging from supervisory probation to years of jail time. Minnesota law classifies drug crimes in the 2nd degree by sale or possession. The following are Minnesota’s drug crimes in the 2nd degree. The sale of a controlled substance is a 2nd-degree drug crime when it involves: 10 or more grams of a narcotic drug other than heroin, Three or more grams of heroin, 10 or more kilograms of marijuana, Three or more grams of cocaine or methamphetamine plus possession of a firearm, Three or more grams of cocaine or methamphetamine plus three aggravating factors (aggravating factors may include things like gang involvement or selling to a minor), 10 or more grams or 50 or more dosage units of amphetamines, PCP or hallucinogens, Sale of cocaine or narcotics to a minor or employing a minor to sell those substances, or Sale of narcotics, LSD, MDA, methamphetamine, amphetamines, or five or more kilograms of marijuana in a park zone, school zone, public housing zone, or drug treatment facility. Additionally, possession of a controlled substance is a 2nd-degree felony when it involves:  50 or more grams of a narcotic drug other than heroin, Six or more grams heroin, 25 or more kilograms or 100 plants of marijuana, 25 or more grams cocaine or methamphetamine, 10 or more grams cocaine or methamphetamine plus possession of a firearm, 10 or more grams cocaine or meth plus three aggravating factors, or 50 or more grams or 100 or more dosage units of amphetamines, PCP, or hallucinogens. If you’ve been charged with any one of these crimes, prepare for your case by calling Arechigo & Stokka today to discuss your options. What Is the 2nd Degree Felony Punishment? Second-degree felony punishment in Minnesota follows the presumptive sentencing guidelines written by The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission. Following the 2016 Drug Sentencing Reform Act, the Commission adopted the Drug Offender Grid that sets presumptive punishments for drug crimes. The Drug Offender Grid ensures fairness and consistency so that bias doesn’t adversely affect basic principles of justice. The judge in your case will use a two-part test to determine your punishment, following the grid’s ranking of the severity of the crime and the offender’s Criminal History Score. The Guidelines rank second-degree drug crimes as a D7, the third-highest severity of drug offenses.  If this is your first felony offense, your previous offense was over 15 years ago, or you otherwise have a criminal history score of 0 or 1, a judge will likely grant you a stayed sentence. A stayed sentence usually means supervisory probation and may require rehabilitation activities, like using local drug programs and resources. If you have a higher criminal history score because of prior felonies, custody status at the time of the offense, prior misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors, or prior juvenile adjudications, you may face time in prison. The average prison sentence given for all drug crimes in 2019 was 42 months or three-and-one-half years. Judges have the discretion to consider aggravating or mitigating factors and increase or decrease your punishment accordingly, up to the statutory limits. The maximum punishment for a 2nd-degree drug crime is imprisonment up to 25 years or a fine of up to $500,000. Will the Presumptive Punishment on the Drug Offender Grid Be My Punishment? From 2001 through 2005, 39% of drug offenders with presumed prison sentences on the Drug Offender Grid were sentenced with probation. Under the Guidelines, the conviction offense is the primary factor, and criminal history is a secondary factor in sentencing decisions. You may be eligible for a waiver of custody points or a challenge to the severity ranking of certain prior crimes (usually out-of-state crimes for which there is no Minnesota law). Our goal at Arechigo & Stokka is to minimize the consequences of your situation. Because the sentencing guidelines are highly complex and take various factors into account when determining penalties, having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side is the best way to get the justice you deserve. The defense attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka have the experience to help you identify and understand the options for your unique situation. Arechigo & Stokka Knows Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines When you’re facing 2nd-degree felony punishment, hire a firm with decades of experience and hundreds of cases under their belts. Arechigo & Stokka has successfully helped a number of clients facing serious drug charges avoid severe penalties. Minnesota Lawyer recognized John Arechigo as the 2019 Attorney of the Year, and John has experience dealing with 2nd-degree drug charges. Contact us for a no-cost consultation today at our offices in St. Paul, MN, or Fargo, ND. We strive to be accessible and will work with you to get the best outcome for your individual case. 

Read More

Can I Get Workers’ Compensation for Carpal Tunnel?

    | Read Time: 4 minutes

Many people think about acute traumatic injuries when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. While most claims involve injuries that can be attributed to a single event, a decent percentage involve repetitive strain injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Understandably, injured workers want to know, Can carpal tunnel be filed under workers’ compensation benefits? You could have a valid workers’ compensation claim for benefits if you can show a link between your carpal tunnel and your work duties. Have you received a carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis and need assistance with a workers’ compensation claim? If so, contact an experienced Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits lawyer at Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers’ Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka. What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Carpal tunnel syndrome involves compression or damage to your median nerve, which is in your hand and forearm. There are several different reasons people develop carpal tunnel, including repetitive motions, such as typing, or daily overexertion. In other cases, it can result from acute trauma. It’s crucial to take extra care at work to protect yourself from repetitive stress injuries. Consider proper posture control, ergonomic workstations, regular breaks, etc. Without these precautions, you could be putting yourself at greater risk for repetitive stress injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019 data shows 17,160 cases of reported work-related injuries involving repetitive motions out of 888,220 total cases. The breakdown is: 4,420 injuries from repetitive motions involving unspecified microtasks; 2,170 injuries from typing, key entry, texting, or using a mouse; 3,670 injuries caused by the repetitive use of tools and instruments; 5,200 injuries caused by the repetitive grasping, placing, or moving objects other than tools; 620 injuries from the repetitive use of hands and not involving tools; 500 injuries from multiple types of repetitive motions; and 590 injuries caused by repetitive motions involving other microtasks. It’s essential to understand the potential signs of carpal tunnel development. Symptoms of carpal tunnel include: A burning sensation in your hand, palm, or fingers; Numbness or tingling in your fingers or hand; Weakness in your finger grip; Pain when you are typing or writing for an extended period of time; and Feeling of swollenness or actual swollen fingers. If you are having any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to seek medical treatment right away. What Compensation Is Available from Workers’ Compensation Benefits? Carpal tunnel injuries can be painful and interfere with multiple aspects of your life. You may be missing time from work, but you also may struggle with daily activities at home because of carpal tunnel syndrome. The benefits you receive through work can help reimburse you for a portion of your lost wages and other expenses related to your claim, such as the cost of physical therapy necessary to treat your carpal tunnel symptoms. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be serious. Don’t attempt to fight for benefits on your own. You should be concentrating on your recovery and what the future holds. However, you need to pursue a workers’ compensation claim because you could be entitled to benefits. This financial assistance can help you pay your bills and find a new line of work if necessary. Collecting Workers’ Compensation for Carpal Tunnel Injuries Before you can successfully collect workers’ compensation benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome, you must show how your job caused the injury. Carpal tunnel is a covered condition under Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits. However, proving your job caused it isn’t always easy. Part of the problem is that some workers are unaware they have early symptoms, while others don’t realize the carpal tunnel symptoms they are experiencing are due to their job. Recognizing symptoms early on can help prevent further damage to your hand or wrist and help you receive workers’ compensation benefits. Suppose you are unable to return to work full time. In that case, your potential settlement could include disability compensation or retraining so you can work again in a different capacity or field. How a Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help At the law offices of Arechigo & Stokka, we understand what a stressful time it is for you and your family when you can’t work because you’re suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. We know you have concerns about your job and you need to receive the maximum amount of compensation possible. Know that you aren’t alone. Our legal team has years of experience helping injured workers like you. We can help you get the benefits you are entitled to in a worker’s compensation case.   If you filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits for carpal tunnel syndrome and it was denied, do not worry. You have the right to appeal the denial. It’s actually common for initial claims to be denied. Sometimes, the rejection is for something minimal, such as missing documentation, and easily fixed. Once you provide the missing information or documentation, the decision might be reversed and benefits approved. The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka know exactly what goes into a claim, and we are ready to help you through all steps of the process, from filing the initial paperwork to appealing a denial. When you retain a Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney at Arechigo & Stokka, we will handle all the stressful and frustrating legal aspects of your claim while you heal. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about how we can assist you. Let us review the facts of your case and help you determine the best course of action.  

Read More

Minnesota Occupational Diseases and Workers’ Compensation: What You Should Know

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

Suffering from an occupational disease that was caused by work can be a horrible experience. Usually, these conditions are much more serious than a pulled muscle or broken arm and can be quite scary, especially when you are unable to work. You may feel concern and anxiety about how to pay your bills and put food on your family’s table. To add insult to injury, many employers fight these workers’ compensation claims and deny medical benefits and wage loss benefits. If this is happening to you, you need skilled and knowledgeable Minnesota occupational disease workers’ compensation lawyers fighting for your rights and the benefits you deserve. What Is an Occupational Disease Under Workers’ Compensation Law? When most people think of a work-related injury, they think of something like a fall, broken bone, pulled muscle, or some other type of physical injury. But under Minnesota law, a “disease” can also be considered a work-related injury. Minnesota Statute Section 176.011 defines occupational disease as: Mental impairment, Physical disease arising out of and in the course of employment peculiar to the occupation in which the employee is engaged, Physical stimulus resulting in mental injury, or  Mental stimulus resulting in physical injury. These diseases are caused by exposure to certain substances and work environments. Minnesota workers are often exposed to many chemicals, substances, and processes on a daily basis that can cause diseases and medical conditions. Here are some of the more common occupational diseases we see in our St. Paul workers’ compensation practice: Cancer, Lung disease, Asthma, Silicosis, Diseases of the blood, COPD, Breathing difficulty due to chemical exposure, Heart attack, Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Myocarditis, Coronary sclerosis, Pneumonia or its sequel, and Communicable diseases spread through the treatment of patients. Most occupational diseases are permanent and can cause a worker to be totally disabled from work. In many instances, these diseases arise due to employment in factories, production facilities, foundries, warehouses, or hospitals, and other medical facilities. What Are the Deadlines for Filing a Minnesota Occupational Disease and Workers’ Compensation Claim? Occupational diseases are treated differently under Minnesota law than other work injuries. To receive workers’ compensation benefits for occupational diseases like cancer, asthma, or silicosis (among others), a claim has to be made with your employer within three years of the date that the disease was discovered and determined to be work-related.  How Are Occupational Diseases for First Responders and Health Care Workers Treated Under the Law? For first responders or health care workers (such as EMS, nurses, or doctors) who contract a disease, there is a rebuttable presumption that the disease was caught while at work. If the employee can demonstrate through medical evidence that the disease is present in their system, then Minnesota workers’ compensation law will presume the employee caught it at work. However, the law allows the employer to rebut this presumption if it can produce evidence to demonstrate the employee acquired the condition outside of work. Is COVID-19 Considered an Occupational Disease and Can an Employee File for Workers’ Compensation Benefits If They Contract COVID-19? Minnesota Statute Section 176.011 declares that the contraction of COVID-19 is considered an “occupational disease” and an employee can file a claim for benefits. It is presumed the COVID-19 diagnosis is work-related if two elements are met. First, the employee must have been employed in a particular field identified in the statute. Those eligible include: Firefighters; Paramedics; Nurses and health care workers; Correctional officers; Security counselors employed at a corrections, detention, or secure treatment facility; Emergency medical technicians; Health care providers, nurses, and assistants employed in long-term care facilities who care for COVID patients; and Those who provide child care to first responders and health care workers. Second, the employee must obtain a positive lab test or a diagnosis from a physician. However, even if the employee proves these two elements, the employer can submit evidence to rebut the connection to work by demonstrating that the employee did not catch COVID-19 at work but was exposed to the virus in some other setting. The Minnesota Occupational Disease Lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka Are Here to Help with Your St. Paul Workers’ Compensation Claim If you have suffered from an occupational disease caused by your work environment, you need to have skilled and knowledgeable lawyers fighting for your rights to receive workers’ compensation benefits, including both medical benefits and wage benefits for as long as necessary. Our lawyers have successfully handled hundreds of Minnesota workers’ compensation cases. Contact us online or call Arechigo & Stokka at 651-505-5943 to learn more about the services we provide to injured workers in Minnesota.

Read More

What Does TTD Mean in Workers’ Comp?

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

When you’re injured on the job, there are lots of details to handle. You need medical treatment, but you also need to figure out how to pay bills. You assume workers’ compensation will help with your income, but how does it work? Workers’ compensation can be complicated, and it’s best to hire an attorney who will look out for your interests. One thing our Minnesota workers’ comp lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka frequently explain to our clients is the difference between temporary total disability (TTD) and permanent total disability (PTD).  We will review everything you should know about workers’ compensation TTD benefits. Please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call (651) 222-6603 today for immediate assistance. Types of Workers’ Compensation Workers’ compensation programs use a lot of acronyms, which can be confusing. For instance, What does TTD stand for in workers’ comp? It’s simply a classification of disability. Workers’ compensation insurance labels the category of your disability:  Temporary total disability (TTD),  Temporary partial disability (TPD),  Permanent total disability (PTD), or  Permanent partial disability (PPD). These classifications depend on the extent of your injury and how likely you are to recover, based on a medical professional’s evaluation.  TTD Workers’ Comp In Minnesota So, what does TTD mean in workers’ comp? When workers’ compensation insurance labels you with TTD, it means they think you have a temporary total disability. This means that you can’t work at all now, but they expect you to be able to work in the future. You don’t have to prove that someone was at fault for your injury to get workers’ compensation TTD payments. Even if you were at fault for your workplace accident, you can still file for compensation. Workers’ compensation covers a new injury sustained on the job or an old injury aggravated by a workplace accident. Your injury must relate to an employment-related activity. How Much Money Is Available? TTD benefits pay two-thirds of your average weekly wage, though there is a minimum and maximum payment you can receive. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will continue to pay you this benefit until you reach maximum medical improvement, meaning you have recovered or further medical treatment won’t help you get any better. At that point, you may be able to qualify for PPD or PTD benefits based on any permanent disability. Workers’ compensation also pays your medical bills and can pay for vocational rehabilitation. This means that if you can’t perform your job because of your injury, workers’ compensation will pay to train you for a new job. How Long Does Workers’ Compensation Pay? You are eligible for TTD payments for up to 130 weeks unless you enter a retraining program, which can extend the time you can receive payments. Workers’ compensation payments stop when any of the following occur: You reach 130 weeks of payment and are not eligible for retraining; You reach maximum medical improvement; You return to work; or You are medically released to return to work but don’t make an effort to do so. TTD workers’ comp is not a long-term solution for paying your bills. The compensation merely pays basic living expenses and medical bills while you are treated for your injuries. Contact a Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorney If you need someone to fight for your fair compensation, you should speak with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer. At Arechigo & Stokka, our legal team fights for injured employees in Minnesota. We work to get you maximum compensation and safe job conditions.  Our attorneys have been helping injured employees for decades, and our compassionate, personalized approach can help you too. Contact us or call (651) 222-6603 for a free consultation. We can discuss your situation and answer any questions you may have.

Read More

Is Sexual Assault a Felony or Misdemeanor in Minnesota?

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

Sexual assault, also called criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota, refers to alleged sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the consent of the victim. Allegations can include: Unwanted sexual touching; Forcing the victim to perform unwanted sexual acts; and  Penetration of the victim’s body. Minnesota law splits sexual assault into five degrees depending on the circumstances of the alleged act. First-degree through fourth-degree sexual assault are felonies, while fifth-degree sexual assault is a gross misdemeanor or felony depending on the situation. If you face sexual assault charges in Minnesota, you should contact or call our sexual assault defense lawyer at (651) 222-6603 as soon as possible. First-Degree Sexual Assault First-degree sexual assault is the most serious form of sexual assault in Minnesota. It involves an allegation of sexual penetration of any person or an allegation of sexual contact with a minor under 13 years old. Some, but not all, of the alleged circumstances that could give rise to a first-degree sexual assault charge include: The victim was under 13 and the accused was more than three years older than the victim; The victim was between 13 and 16, the accused was in a position of authority over the victim, and the accused was more than four years older than the victim; or The accused had a dangerous weapon and used or threatened to use the weapon to force the victim to submit to the act. First-degree sexual assault carries a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison and a $40,000 fine. Second-Degree Sexual Assault Second-degree sexual assault in Minnesota covers alleged sexual contact under at least one of the circumstances also applicable to first-degree sexual assault. It carries a maximum punishment of up to 25 years in prison and a $35,000 fine. We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to setup a consultation. Third-Degree Sexual Assault Third-degree sexual assault involves sexual penetration of any person. Some, but not all, of the alleged circumstances that could give rise to a third-degree sexual assault charge include: The victim was under 13 and the accused was no more than three years older than the victim; The victim was between 13 and 16 and the accused was more than two years older than the victim; or The accused knew or had reason to know that the victim was mentally impaired, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless. Third-degree sexual assault carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. Fourth-Degree Sexual Assault Fourth-degree sexual assault involves sexual contact with another person. Some, but not all, of the alleged circumstances that could give rise to a fourth-degree sexual assault charge include: The victim was under 13 and the accused was no more than three years older than the victim; The victim was between 13 and 16 and the accused was more than four years older than the victim; or The accused used force or coercion to accomplish the sexual contact. It carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Fifth-Degree Sexual Assault Acts that constitute an allegation of Minnesota fifth-degree sexual assault include: Nonconsensual sexual contact; or Knowingly masturbating or exposing one’s genitals in the presence of a minor under 16 years old. When charged as a gross misdemeanor, it carries a maximum punishment of up to one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. When charged as a felony, it carries a punishment of up to seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine. Can I Get Sexual Assault Charges Dropped or Reduced? Depending on the facts of your case, a sexual assault defense attorney might get your sexual assault charges dropped or reduced. However, getting your charges dropped or reduced can be difficult because key defenses do not apply in sexual assault cases. For example, consent is not an available defense to allegations involving minors and some cases involving alleged intoxication. The defense known as “mistake of age” is also generally unavailable in sexual assault charges involving minors. You should speak with a sexual assault lawyer today to get a betters sense of what defenses are available in your individual case. How the Sexual Assault Defense Lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka, P.A., Can Help You If you face sexual assault charges in Minnesota, our sexual assault lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka, P.A., will work to get your charges reduced or dismissed. We will thoroughly explain your options to you so that you can make informed decisions throughout your case. We have achieved many positive results for our clients because of our experience in the Minnesota criminal justice system and dedication to our individual clients’ needs. Contact us online or call (651) 222-6603 today to schedule your free consultation.

Read More

What Happens to Workers’ Comp If You Lose Your Job?

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

Nobody wants to suffer a work injury, even if they know in advance that the workers’ compensation system will fully compensate them for it. The real danger, especially for workers with little savings, is losing your job before you have even recovered from a work-related injury. You need to know the law in this area, because a mistake could put you in a very difficult position. Can You Lose Your Job While on Workers Comp? The answer to the question, Can you lose your job while on workers comp? is yes, but consequences will ensue for both you and your employer. These consequences vary, from favorable to unfavorable, depending on exactly how you lose your job and why. Your options are very different depending on whether you quit voluntarily or whether your employer fired you or laid you off. Quitting Your Job Voluntarily You should typically not quit your job while receiving temporary workers’ compensation benefits. If you do, you may lose some of your benefits. While you would continue to receive compensation for your medical care, quitting is likely to affect your right to temporary income replacement benefits. Therefore, it is generally advisable to stay with your current job until your temporary disability benefits run out. Nevertheless, your workers’ compensation attorney can provide specific advice for your individual circumstances. Quitting for Good Cause Of course, you might have good reasons for wanting to quit. You might quit for valid but independent reasons (racial discrimination, for example), or you might want to quit because your employer harassed you over your workers’ compensation claim. Regardless of the reason, however, consult with an attorney before quitting while receiving income benefits. Exception: Quitting in Response to Permanent Total Disability If you are receiving permanent total, rather than temporary benefits, you can quit your job without risking your benefits. In fact, under these circumstances continuing to work would cast doubt upon your eligibility for total disability benefits. Involuntary Departure Temporary workers’ compensation benefits are supposed to tide you over until you are healthy enough to return to your job. The system doesn’t work very well, however, if you have no job to go back to once you regain your health. If Your Employer Fired You Can your employer fire you after you suffer a work injury or while you are receiving temporary workers’ compensation benefits? Yes, as long as the reasons for firing you had nothing to do with your workers’ compensation claim. Your employer can still fire you for general incompetence, absenteeism, a reduction in force, or other legal reasons.  Retaliatory discharge Your employer cannot legally fire you for simply suffering an injury or for filing a workers’ compensation claim. That is known as retaliatory discharge, and you can file a lawsuit over it. One gray area is when your employer fires you for violating a safety rule, which violation led to the accident for which you are claiming compensation. Strictly speaking, such a discharge is not illegal, but it is likely to trigger greater scrutiny by courts and regulatory authorities. If Your Employer Laid You Off Employers typically do not like workers’ compensation claims because they cost the company money. Nevertheless, it is generally illegal to discharge you in retaliation for filing a temporary workers’ compensation claim. One loophole in this prohibition, however, is laying you off for reasons that have nothing to do with your workers’ compensation claim. Your employer can lay you off as long as they can demonstrate legitimate business reasons for doing so. Retaliatory discharge disguised as an innocent layoff  Might an employer “lay off” an employer as a form of disguised retaliatory discharge? One red flag is when, strangely enough, only your position is being downsized (or your position plus other positions held by employees who filed workers’ comp claims). This happens all too often, unfortunately一especially if the employee does not have a workers’ compensation lawyer. You can fight back, however, if this happens, by exposing the real reasons for your “layoff.” Can Your Employer Fire You for Hiring a Workers’ Comp Lawyer? The short answer to this question is no. Your employer cannot legally fire you for hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer. Of course, the same caveat that was mentioned above applies here as well. Your employer might try to get away with firing you for hiring a lawyer, if they can disguise the true reasons for it.  That is why it is important for you to hire a reputable attorney with a good track record. Once you do this, your employer is less likely to fire you than if you didn’t hire a lawyer. That’s because a good lawyer will see right through this ruse and will know just how to expose your employer for retaliatory discharge. Time Matters! Contact Us Today The sooner after your discharge that you retain a lawyer, the better chance you will have for a favorable resolution. If your employer discharged you after you filed a workers’ compensation claim, take action. Contact Minnesota workers’ compensation law firm Arechigo & Stokka immediately.  We understand the Minnesota criminal justice system backward and forward. In fact, we enjoy working relationships with many lawyers and judges. Contact us online or call us at 651-222-6603 for a free initial consultation on your case.

Read More

Can I Start a New Job While Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits?

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

On-the-job injuries can be devastating to one’s finances and sense of wellbeing. Injured employees face an uncertain future with respect to their ability to maintain the same standard of living they enjoyed before the injury. This uncertainty is compounded when the injured employee seeks to embark on a new career or maintain a second job they worked before the accident. While a second job may have helped the injured employee make ends meet before the accident, it may pose complications in the midst of a workers’ compensation claim. Many disabled employees express concern about how a second job will impact their benefits. In general, the answer depends on your circumstances, in particular, whether the injured employee had the second job before the accident and the demands of the second job. What Is the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act? Prior to 1913, employees in Minnesota lacked any remedy for work-related injuries outside of the tort system. Under the scheme, disabled employees had to show fault on the part of their employer before they could recover benefits. Tort cases typically took a significant amount of time to work their way through their court system. This left injured employees without compensation at a time when they and their families needed it the most. In response to this flawed system, the Minnesota legislature passed the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act (MWCA). If injured on the job, the Act provides employees with full compensation for medical bills and partial compensation for lost wages. The MWCA covers injured workers for permanent disabilities and decreased earning potential. Can I Get a Second Job While Collecting Benefits? Typically, the answer is no. Injured employees must keep in mind that a second job may not be in their best interests if they are collecting wage benefits. This is the case whether your injury prevents you from working your past job in the short-term, long-term, or permanently. Workers receive workers’ compensation benefits because they are injured and are unable to perform the job duties they once performed. If an injured employee is physically capable of working a second job, the current amount of their benefits may be deemed unnecessary. In such a case, the employer may seek to reduce or terminate the benefits completely. What If I Had a Second Job Before the Injury and Can’t Perform the Job Now? If you had a second job with another employer at the time of your injury, your workers’ comp benefits may encompass the second income. If you had a part-time job on the date you sustained the injury, you may be entitled to extra benefits. This is the case when the injury prevents you from working the part-time job. The amount of the benefits may be calculated from the total income you would usually receive from both jobs combined. What If I Had a Second Job Before the Injury and Can Perform the Job Now? Injured employees often ask this question when dealing with the issue of working a second job while disabled. It is often the case that the second job may require less physical labor or entail shorter hours. It may even be in a completely different industry and require different skill sets. The primary employer or their insurance company is likely going to take notice when an injured employee asserts that they are unable to perform their primary job but are capable of working a second. They very well may seek to adjust the benefits they are paying out to compensate for the additional income. In fact, your ability to do your second job may adversely impact the successfulness of your claim. Injured employees wanting to preserve their second job must keep in mind that there is a risk their employer or the employer’s insurance company may use it against them. They may avoid paying wage benefits based on your income from the second job. Or they may claim that the responsibilities of your second job evidence your ability to perform the primary job. In this situation, your benefits may be cut altogether. Get Professional Help with Your Workers’ Comp Case Disabled employees eager to embark on a new career after their accident must consider the applicable law and risk to their personal finances. Accepting a new job while on workers’ comp may result in the reduction if not cancelation of your benefits. Navigating Minnesota’s workers’ compensation law can be complex and overwhelming. Whether it be filing claims or appealing decisions to the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals, the attorneys at Arechigo and Stokka are committed to understanding your unique circumstances and goals. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Read More

What Is a Minor Consumption Charge in Minnesota?

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

Do you have a charge for violating the minor consumption law in Minnesota? You may be wondering how serious your charges are and what kinds of penalties you are facing. Or maybe you are a parent and want to know if you could get in trouble for letting your child consume alcohol. Perhaps you’re a bartender that worries about accidentally serving alcohol to a minor. Could you be in trouble? Today we are going to answer those questions for you. Minor Consumption in Minnesota Under Minnesota’s minor consumption law, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess, consume, or attempt to purchase alcohol. For purposes of this law, someone is not legally 21 until 8:00 am on the morning of their 21st birthday. It is also illegal for someone under the age of 21 to misrepresent their age to try to purchase alcohol. To buy alcohol, someone must have a valid, government-issued identification, i.e., a driver’s license or permit, passport, or military ID. Violations are misdemeanors, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. If you’re under 21, the mandatory minimum fine is $100. You could also lose your driving privileges for 90 days for using an ID that isn’t yours. You must appear in court for these charges. As an adult, you may not serve or sell alcohol to a minor, give a minor your ID, or persuade them to purchase alcohol.  If you violate this law, you are legally responsible for any damages caused by the intoxicated minor. If the minor dies or is greatly injured, you could face a felony charge. Minor Consumption Defenses and Exceptions Minnesota does allow some very narrow exceptions to the minor consumption law. People under 21 may drink alcohol in their parent’s or guardian’s home with that person’s express consent. However, the defendant must raise this defense to the court themselves. They must then prove it by a preponderance of the evidence.  The law also allows room for people who unknowingly sell alcohol to a minor because they relied on the minor’s false identification card. Generally speaking, if you could not have known the person was underage the State will not charge you with a crime. Another interesting exception involves schooling. In Minnesota, it is not illegal for a minor to buy alcohol for research or educational purposes as long as adult supervision is involved. However, the state liquor licensing authority must be notified beforehand. Finally, there is an exception for emergency situations. A minor will not be prosecuted if they consumed alcohol or it is in their possession and they need to call 911. However, they must stay on the scene and cooperate with the authorities. Underage Drinking and Driving in Minnesota It is illegal in Minnesota for anyone under 21 to operate a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol. The law is very strict—minors cannot legally drive with any amount of alcohol in their blood whatsoever. The underage drinking and driving offense is commonly referred to as Minnesota’s Not-a-Drop law. If a minor is caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level under .08 percent, their driving license will be suspended for 30 days minimum. For a second offense, the license suspension is for 180 days. There is also a high fine, and their insurance premiums will likely increase. Violations of this law are misdemeanors. If the minor’s BAC level is .08 percent or higher, the violation is underage driving while impaired (DWI). Violations of this law involve full DWI license suspensions, regardless of age. For minors under 21, the minimum suspension is 180 days, but can extend up to a year for a first offense. Driving while impaired is a misdemeanor. However, if your BAC is 0.16 percent or over, or it is your second or third offense within 10 years, DWI becomes a gross misdemeanor. Gross misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail plus a $3000 fine on top of any license suspension. And regardless of age, you have to go to adult criminal court to fight a DWI charge, not juvenile court. If you end up with a DWI conviction, the charge stays on your driving record for 15 years.  If You Are Facing a Minor Consumption Charge in Minnesota, Call Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka Misdemeanor or DWI convictions can cause problems for you beyond the inconvenience of having to go to court, pay fines, and deal with possible jail time. You could end up with a criminal record or a suspended driver’s license. This could then complicate your job, school, and personal life in a number of negative ways. Therefore, it’s essential that you work with an experienced attorney to protect your rights and interests.   Arechigo & Stokka is a two-attorney law firm with decades of experience based out of St. Paul, Minnesota. Whether you have a criminal defense, DWI, or workers’ compensation case, Arechigo & Stokka has the experience and courage your case deserves in the courtroom. Go to our website to read more about our successful results and client testimonials. Contact us today to discuss your legal matter and learn how we can assist you. 

Read More

Injured While Working at Walmart in Minnesota 

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

Walmart is one of the world’s largest employers with approximately 1.5 million employees in the United States alone and over 4,700 stores. With that many people on their payroll, handling employee injuries should not be a complicated process. Each state has different regulations for on-the-job injury compensation. If you are seeking Walmart workers’ compensation in Minnesota, you will need to know a little more about what is available to you and how to get it.  Injured While Working at Walmart There are countless career opportunities at Walmart, and though the company tries to maintain a consistent level of professionalism and safety, anyone who has ever shopped at Walmart understands that there are variances. Federal and state occupational safety requirements must be met, but injuries and illnesses can occur even in the best of circumstances and to any employee at the store. Some of the more well-known positions at Walmart include: Cashier,  Cart attendant,  Inventory receiver,  Stocker,  Salesfloor associate, and  Department manager.  There are also a number of specialized positions depending on the size of the store, which may include an auto department, food preparation, pharmacy, and more.  Types of Walmart Workers’ Compensation Injuries You do not have to have a tragic accident in order to be eligible for Walmart workers’ compensation. Substantial injuries are certainly covered. In general, Minnesota workers’ compensation covers any injury or illness sustained during the course of employment.  Injuries that occur over time due to repetitive motion may be eligible for compensation. These could include back injuries, carpal tunnel, and others.  What Does Walmart Workers’ Compensation Cover? Workers’ compensation is mandatory insurance that an employer must carry to cover their employees’ injuries. This coverage includes all economic damages so that you are not paying financially for your injuries. The amount you are eligible to receive depends on the extent of your injuries. There are four different categories of workers’ compensation benefits.  Temporary Total Disability To receive Walmart workers’ compensation for temporary total disability, your injury must prevent you from returning to work for a certain period of time, though you are expected to recover. Temporary total disability compensation allows you to receive two-thirds of your average weekly wage. This weekly wage cannot exceed the current statewide average weekly wage and cannot extend past 130 days.  Temporary Partial Disability You are still eligible for workers’ compensation, even if you can only return to work part-time while you recover. Temporary partial disability benefits include two-thirds of the difference between your current earning and what you would receive if you were working at full capacity. These benefits are available for a maximum of 275 weeks in Minnesota for injuries occurring after October 2018.  Prior to that, temporary partial disability benefits were available for a maximum of 225 weeks.  .  Permanent Partial Disability A person who is permanently disabled may still be able to work in some capacity. This is most often the case when the injury involves loss of function of a body part. The amount of compensation depends on the severity of the injury and its impact on your ability to work.  Permanent Total Disability Walmart workers’ compensation for an employee who can no longer maintain gainful employment is two-thirds of their weekly wage. This amount is capped at the state’s average weekly wage.  Workers’ Compensation Lawsuit Against Walmart Generally, filing a Walmart workers’ compensation claim will bar you from filing a lawsuit. The benefit is that workers’ compensation is available regardless of fault. However, if you feel like your employer acted with malice or gross negligence, you may opt to file a lawsuit rather than a workers’ compensation claim. You may also pursue litigation if your Walmart workers’ compensation claim is unfairly denied.  There are several ways an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you with your claim to make sure you get what you deserve. Filing and monitoring your claim; Determining fair compensation for your injuries; Negotiating with insurance companies; Handling an appeal of denied benefits; or  Pursuing litigation if necessary.  Injuries are unique and personal. The experienced team at Arechigo & Stokka understands that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to workers’ compensation. With decades of experience and hundreds of cases, Arechigo & Stokka offer direct and personal representation for each client. Schedule a free consultation today.

Read More

Injured While Working at Target in Minnesota

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

If you are a Target employee in Minnesota and you suffer injury on the job, you might have options for receiving medical and financial benefits through workers’ compensation.  Common Causes of Workplace Injuries There are many ways an employee can hurt themselves while working, but some are more likely than others. According to the National Security Council, the most common reasons people suffer injury at work are: Overexertion; Slips, trips, or falls; and Contact with objects or equipment. Many injured workers suffer sprains, strains and tears, and many injured workers suffer back injuries. These injuries are common to many industries, and you could suffer any one of these injuries while working at Target. Workers’ compensation benefits are available for many injured workers to receive support in their efforts to recuperate.  Severe Workplace Injuries Happen Often The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that approximately 50% of 2019 private workplace injuries and illnesses in Minnesota were severe injuries. The consequences of these severe injuries were days away from work, job transfers, and work restrictions. An injury that takes you away from work or restricts your ability to work can negatively affect your mental well being, physical well being, and financial well being. To combat these negative effects, you can file a claim to receive workers’ compensation benefits from your employer’s insurance company. Target workers’ comp claimants in Minnesota can find out which insurance company covers their claim by using the tools on the Department of Labor and Industry website.  What Workers’ Compensation Covers Workers’ compensation provides many kinds of benefits that can support you in different ways. If you’re injured at work, your workers’ compensation benefits could include: Healthcare treatments, Wage-loss payments, and  Vocational rehabilitation. To help make sure you receive the maximum amount of benefits available to you, you need to report any workplace injury to your employer as soon as possible. If you fail to report your work injury within 14 days, your employer might have the right to reduce some of your compensation. If you fail to report your work injury within 180 days, you may be barred from receiving any compensation at all.  Wage-Loss Payments If the physician for your work injury states that you have to stop working or restricts your work at Target, workers’ comp should pay to replace part of your wages. The amount of your wage-loss benefits is a proportion of your average weekly wage. Properly calculating your average weekly wage can include considering many different factors about your work life. After a work injury, you should review your wages, hours, and benefits from Target and other jobs you held at the time of injury. You should also review your tax information for any self-employment income. These can all be part of your average weekly wage. If your wage-loss benefits don’t accurately reflect what you earned, speak to your insurance adjuster.  Sometimes hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help with these determinations is your best option to maximize your benefits.  Health Care Treatments Your employer has to pay for health care that is reasonable and necessary to relieve or cure your work-related medical conditions. You generally have to keep the same health care provider throughout your claim. Sometimes you can change providers without needing approval from the insurance company or the government if you make the request soon enough. Pay careful attention to the care you receive from the beginning. This attention can help you determine as soon as possible whether you need or want to change your provider.  Vocational Rehabilitation If your injury leaves you impaired in a way that prevents your return to work for Target, workers’ compensation law might allow or require you to receive vocational rehabilitation benefits. You should have a clear understanding of all your work abilities and your Target work requirements and how your work injury and past injuries affect them. Understanding your abilities, obligations, and restrictions can help you make the most of your rehabilitation benefits.  Making a Workers’ Compensation Claim  After you notify Target about your work injury, their insurance company either accepts or denies your claim. If the insurance company denies your claim or denies you wage benefits, you have multiple options to fight the denial: Speak to the insurance adjuster or claims representative and take notes; Speak to an Alternative Dispute Resolution Specialist from the Department of Labor and Industry; or Request a hearing by filing an Employee’s Claim Petition form. You should try these options in ascending order. You should also understand that fighting a denial of workers’ compensation benefits can be complicated. It’s important to hire an experienced attorney to help you with the process of fighting a benefit denial.  Contact an Attorney to Help You Access Benefits You give your time and your abilities to your work. If a work injury hinders your abilities to make a living and/or function, you should be compensated. The Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers’ Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka has decades of the experience you need to successfully fight for the compensation benefits you’re due. We’ve won hundreds of cases, and we give direct, personal attention to our clients. If you want big results in your case, contact us online, or call us at 651-222-6603 for a free consultation. 

Read More