Can I Get a Settlement From Workers’ Compensation If I Go Back to Work?

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

If you sustain a work-related injury, you may be entitled to receive worker’s compensation benefits. But when should you return to work, and how will this affect your settlement? The attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka have the knowledge and experience necessary to help you answer these questions and more. Read on to find out what you need to know before returning to work after a work-related injury. Workers’ Compensation Settlement After Returning to Work If you are injured in an on-the-job work accident, you might be wondering what you need to do to receive your settlement. The answer may not be so simple, and there are often many factors to consider.  On one hand, your employer might be eager for you to get back to work as quickly as possible. But, on the other hand, this might not be what is best for your health or your workers’ compensation case. Knowing and understanding the relevant factors is crucial to making sure you receive your settlement.  When Should I Go Back to Work?  Before going back to work, you should make sure you are cleared by a medical professional. Even if you feel prepared, or your employer has encouraged you to come back, it is important to be sure. Returning to work before you are physically and mentally ready could lead to further injury and other negative consequences. Do I Need To Be Fully Healed?  Although you might not need to be fully healed to go back to work, there may be consequences if you return before you are. Before returning to work, you should first reach what is called “maximum medical improvement” (MMI).  Maximum medical improvement is the point at which an injured person’s condition has stabilized. This is essentially the point where a doctor determines that the condition or injury cannot be improved any further.  What Puts My Settlement at Risk? Returning to work before you are ready can put your settlement at risk. Workers’ compensation claims help compensate individuals who sustain work-related injuries. The idea is that the injured worker cannot do that same job with the injuries they sustained, and as a result, they need compensation.  If you return to work before reaching maximum medical improvement, a workers’ compensation insurance company might take this to mean that your injuries were not that serious or that you do not need the entire settlement that was offered. Can I Get a Settlement If I Work With Restrictions? In some cases, your doctor may consider you to be at maximum medical improvement. However, you might still be partially disabled as a result of your injury. If this is the case, your doctor might clear you to work under certain restrictions.  As a part of your workers’ compensation settlement, your employer might offer you a less strenuous position that you can perform at your MMI level. In this scenario, you may still be entitled to settlement payment after returning to work, as long as you have been medically cleared to do so. When You Should Get a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you protect your rights in the aftermath of an on-the-job injury. The team at Arechigo & Stokka will give you the time and attention your case deserves. Contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help you with your workers’ compensation case.

Read More

Sexual Conduct in Minnesota – Third Degree: Punishments & Remedies

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

In the state of Minnesota, criminal sexual conduct offenses are classified by five levels, depending on the severity. Offenses range from first-degree offenses, which are felonies, down to fifth-degree offenses, which are gross misdemeanors. Sexual conduct offenses are classified by circumstance, available evidence, or any prior criminal sexual offenses the offender might have. What Is Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree in Minnesota? Under Minnesota law, sexual penetration is a third-degree sexual conduct crime under the following circumstances: The victim is under 13 years old, and the offender is no more than three years older; The victim is at least 13 years old, but less than 16 years old and the offender is no more than two years older; The victim is at least 16 years old, but less than 18, and the offender is more than four years older and in a position of authority; The victim is at least 16 years old, but less than 18, and the offender has a significant relationship with the individual; The victim is a patient of a psychotherapist, and there is an active patient-therapist relationship; The offender is a member of the clergy, the victim isn’t married to him or her, and the victim was seeking the offender’s advice or counseling; The offender is an employee or volunteer at a juvenile correctional facility, and the complainant is in custody there; or The actor knows or has reason to know that the complainant is mentally impaired, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless. While these are the most common circumstances, situations are assessed on a case-by-case basis. When Alcohol is Involved Third-degree criminal sexual conduct is often seen in situations where alcohol is involved, and an individual complains of sexual misconduct while intoxicated and unable to give consent. When alcohol plays a part and people participate in sex while inebriated, it is challenging to accurately reconstruct the incident. Punishments for Third-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Minnesota The penalty for criminal sexual conduct in the third degree in Minnesota includes up to 15 years in prison and/or fines up to $30,000. Registration as a sexual offender is also required. Remedies for Third-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Minnesota When charged with criminal sexual conduct in the third degree, your criminal defense attorney may raise several possible defenses. A successful defense may reduce the penalty or, in some cases, help achieve a not-guilty verdict. Mistake of age is a defense only when the complainant is at least 13 years of age but less than 16. In this situation, the burden is placed on the actor to prove that they reasonably believed that the victim was at least 16 years old. Outside of this, mistaken age is not typically used as a defense.  Consent may be raised as a defense in some instances. Under Minnesota law, there are various limitations on the use of consent. Even if the complainant can prove consent, it may be limited in: Cases where the victim is below the age of consent; Encounters where the offender holds a position of authority over the victim; Situations where there is a significant relationship between the offender and victim, including parents, step-parents, guardians, or any relation by blood; or Situations where special trust exists, like patient-therapist relationships. Your criminal defense attorney can assess your particular situation and help you decide what defense to raise. Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney Criminal sexual conduct in the third degree is a serious offense. A trustworthy and reliable attorney is an invaluable ally in this fight. Our team at Arechigo & Stokka has gained extensive criminal defense skills through decades of experience and hundreds of cases. We believe in working together with our clients to secure the best possible outcome in every case. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation, and let us help you.

Read More

Common Types of Workplace Injuries in Minnesota

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

Workplace injuries are a common occurrence in any occupation. High-risk jobs are not the only kinds of jobs that put an employee at risk of workplace injuries. And most often, workplace injuries happen when you least expect them. Workplace injuries may result in many difficulties, including lost wages, medical bills, and permanent or temporary disability. Common Workplace Injuries According to the National Safety Council, there is a workplace injury every seven seconds. The most common kinds of injuries keeping workers from being able to work are: Sprains, strains, or tears; Soreness or pain; and Cuts, lacerations, or punctures. These injuries are typically a result of the top three common workplace injuries. 1. Overexertion Overexertion accounts for approximately 34% of work-related injuries. Employees that run the risk of overexertion are typically those in occupations requiring physical work.  Overexertion occurs with frequent lifting or lowering and repetitive motions. To prevent overexertion, it is recommended that you avoid bending, reaching, or twisting when lifting heavy objects. Taking short breaks while working also gives your body a chance to rest. 2. Contact with Objects and Equipment Work equipment is the cause of 26% of workplace injuries. These injuries occur when you are struck by equipment, caught in equipment, or hit, caught, or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment, or material. It is crucial to use caution when using or surrounded by equipment at work. To prevent work accidents with equipment, it is best to store heavy objects on or close to the floor, be fully aware of moving equipment or parts in your work area, and wear the proper protective gear. 3. Slips, Trips, and Falls This category accounts for about 26% of workplace injuries. Slips and trips can be very common on the job, whether it be on uneven or wet flooring or unnoticed objects on the ground. Falls may also occur if your work requires you to be at a height or you frequently use stairs or ladders. To attempt to prevent these kinds of accidents, it is best to try to place the base of ladders on solid, even surfaces, practice good housekeeping in the workspace, and inspect any climbing equipment before use. Occupations with the Largest Number of Workplace Injuries Common workplace injuries occur the most within the following occupations: Service (firefighters and police); Transportation/shipping; Manufacturing/production; Installation, maintenance, and repair; and Construction. These occupations are the most likely to have employees suffer workplace injuries due to the nature of their work. When to Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Common workplace injuries happen all too often, and many of them can be prevented. Using care and caution while working can help you, and those around you, avoid work-related injuries. While most workplace injuries can be prevented, they are a widespread occurrence. Should you be injured in a workplace accident, a workplace injury lawyer is an excellent resource for help and guidance. Our team at Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka has decades of experience helping employees get the compensation they deserve after work-related accidents. We make the client and their needs our top priority, working with them through a trying situation. Let us assess your case and see how we can help you. Contact us today and schedule your free consultation.

Read More

How to Apply for a DWI Work Permit in Minnesota

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

Your driver’s license or ability to drive in Minnesota will be revoked if a chemical test of your blood alcohol content reveals a BAC over .08. Driving privileges will also be revoked if you refuse to submit to a chemical test. However, work permits, also known as limited licenses, are available.  Eligibility for a Minnesota limited license depends on specific requirements: It must be a first time DWI; Your blood-alcohol level must have been below 0.16; and You must be employed or be a full-time homemaker. If you are eligible under these requirements, then you may apply for a work permit 15 days after the expiration of your temporary license or 22 days after the date of your arrest. Here, we explain how to get a driving work permit in Minnesota. 1. The Written Test To apply for a limited license, you must first pass a written exam. The test is comprised of questions relating to drinking and driving. You may take the test at any time, and you do not need to wait for your license to be revoked to take it. To study for the test, review chapters 7 and 8 of the Minnesota Driver’s Manual. 2. Pay a Reinstatement Fee After passing the exam, you must pay a reinstatement fee of $680. Once the fee is paid, you may fill out a reinstatement application and pay the new license fee of $26.75. Under Minnesota laws, your application must explain your inability to take the bus or use ridesharing to get to and from work. 3. Meet with an Evaluator After all of the above has been completed, you may proceed with your application for the limited license. You must meet with an evaluator or administrator from the Department of Public Safety to get approval. Eligibility for a work permit in Minnesota also depends on your driving record and whether you have any previous DWIs. If you have multiple DWIs and these prior offenses were within 10 years of the current offense, you may not qualify for a work permit.  A criminal defense attorney can help you assess your case and provide you with advice and options. Restrictions Even if you are approved for a work permit in Minnesota, certain restrictions come along with it. Such restrictions include: What days you are permitted to drive; What hours in the day you are allowed to drive; and For what reasons you may drive. In most cases, you may only be allowed to drive to and from: Work; School; Treatment required for the DWI; and Necessary locations that meet family needs. Situations are assessed on a case by case basis, and additional conditions may be granted. Contact a DWI Attorney Today Every case is different, and a DWI attorney can help you navigate through this process. Our team at Arechigo & Stokka has extensive experience helping individuals with DWI charges achieve the most favorable outcome. Let us discuss your case and see how we can assist you. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Read More

Gross Misdemeanor MN | What Are the Consequences?

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

Minnesota classifies criminal offenses into three categories: Misdemeanors, Gross misdemeanors, and Felonies. These range in severity, with misdemeanors being the least serious and felonies being the most serious. Petty misdemeanors are not considered criminal offenses in Minnesota and are not included in this discussion. What Is a Gross Misdemeanor in Minnesota? Under Minnesota law, a gross misdemeanor is a serious criminal offense. Gross misdemeanors are considered more serious than misdemeanors but less serious than felony offenses. Gross misdemeanors in Minnesota can include: DUIs and DWIs;  Repeat assaults and violations; Marijuana possession; Interfering with 911 calls Theft offenses between $500 – $1,000; Prostitution in public places; 5th Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct; and Some Criminal Vehicular Operation offenses. Various other crimes could fall under the category of a gross misdemeanor. A Minnesota criminal attorney can assist you in figuring out whether your situation would be considered a gross misdemeanor. Penalties Gross misdemeanors carry with them a penalty of up to one year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine. Because gross misdemeanors are more serious than misdemeanors, you may also face a lengthy probation period of up to six years. Aside from penalties, jail time, and probation, a gross misdemeanor can bring about “collateral consequences.” Collateral consequences are civil sanctions resulting from a criminal conviction. Collateral consequences after a gross misdemeanor can include: Suspension of a driver license; Suspension of a professional license; or Loss of permanent legal residency. Gross misdemeanors also mean a permanent conviction on your criminal record. Defenses When charged with a gross misdemeanor, you may plead criminal defenses to the charge. Criminal defenses are legitimate excuses or justifications for the actions that brought about the gross misdemeanor. These defenses may include: Self-defense, Necessity, and Duress. Successfully raising a defense may reduce the penalty, or in some cases, lead to a not-guilty verdict. When You Should Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer You should contact a Minnesota criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you are facing gross misdemeanor charges. An attorney can assess the facts of your case and give you  advice on how to proceed. A criminal defense attorney can assist you in weighing out your options and coming up with a possible defense. Being charged with a gross misdemeanor can make for a very trying time. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney provides guidance, walking you through your next steps and possible recourse. The team at Arechigo & Stokka has helped individuals facing gross misdemeanors in Minnesota for years. Our compassion and experience make us the best allies in your fight. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Let us help you achieve the best possible results.

Read More

Can You Get a DUI on a Bike in MN?

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

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.

Read More

Is a DWI a Felony in MN?

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

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.

Read More

What You Should Know About Minnesota Whiskey Plates

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

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.

Read More

Is Wax a Felony in Minnesota?

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

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.

Read More

Malicious Punishment of a Child Charges in Minnesota

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

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.

Read More