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.

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

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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.

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What Is a Minor Consumption Charge in Minnesota?

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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. 

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Injured While Working at Walmart in Minnesota 

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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.

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Injured While Working at Target in Minnesota

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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. 

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What Is a Continuance for Dismissal in Minnesota?

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The police and prosecution are not the same entity, even if they work together to bring charges in many instances. Police investigate alleged crimes and attempt to develop probable cause to arrest someone or to charge someone. The state prosecutors take over once a criminal case enters the court system. Prosecutors are sworn to uphold the ends of justice. In theory, they have the obligation to deliver a just result in every case. Through proper investigation, it is possible to convince a prosecutor that a conviction may not be necessary. Instead, agreeing to a continuance for dismissal can be the best option for the person accused of a crime.  Receiving the benefit of a continuance for dismissal is a very good outcome for a criminal case. However, prosecutors do not give them out in every case. Having a tough, experienced, and savvy criminal defense lawyer negotiate a continuance for dismissal in MN on your behalf could increase the likelihood the prosecution will agree to one. At Arechigo & Stokka, our award-winning criminal defense lawyers know the system well. Relying on their strong rapport and sterling reputation, Arechigo & Stokka criminal defense lawyers will work tirelessly for a favorable outcome, such as a continuance for dismissal, in your case. How Does a Continuance for Dismissal in MN Work? Minnesota law gives prosecutors the authority to charge people with crimes and recommend an outcome to the court. This is called “prosecutorial discretion.” Prosecutorial discretion gives the state’s attorneys a say in what charges they will prosecute. In other words, the idea of prosecutorial discretion means that prosecutors can overrule and change police charging decisions, including deciding not to prosecute a case at all.  Minnesota’s law stating that a prosecutor is the only one with authority to agree to a continuance for dismissal is a good example of prosecutorial discretion.  Why Is a Continuance for Dismissal a Great Result in Your Criminal Case? The state of Minnesota is not interested in prosecuting every case to the fullest extent of the law. Part of the reason is that the system would completely bog down if prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers could not plea bargain a case. Perhaps more importantly, the vast majority of people, especially many first-time offenders, do not deserve to go to jail. Those folks benefit greatly from a continuance for dismissal.  Having a criminal conviction on your record can have terrible consequences. You could lose your job, your home, your children, your right to carry a gun, and even your ability to remain in the U.S. if you’re not a citizen. Therefore, you need to do what you can to make sure you keep a clean record. A continuance for dismissal helps keep your record clean.  The procedure is straightforward. If your lawyer convinces the prosecutor your case is worthy of a continuance for dismissal in MN, then you have to sign a written agreement. As part of that agreement, the prosecutor has to talk with any alleged victim to get their input on the disposition. The judge must sign off on it as well.  If the judge consents to the terms of the continuance for dismissal, then the court will suspend the prosecution of the case. The length of suspension cannot be longer than the length of probation a judge could give after a conviction. What Does the Agreement Say? You, as the accused, must agree to obey all laws. The prosecutor could require you to do something in exchange for the continuance for dismissal such as attend drug treatment, pay restitution, or attend certain classes. The prosecutor might ask you to agree that some facts are true in the written agreement, but we can attempt to keep this admission out of the court record.  You must keep in mind that you are not pleading guilty to anything. The court will automatically dismiss the case when the continuance period is over if you meet all the conditions. You can work to expunge the case from your record shortly thereafter. That is a great result. The state cannot reinstate the charges against you ever again as long as you comply with the terms of the continuance agreement. You do not waive your constitutional rights when accepting a continuance for dismissal in MN. However, you must agree that you will not ask the judge for a dismissal for a speedy trial violation if the prosecution reinstates the case against you. What Can Happen If You Do Not Meet All the Conditions? Probation can be tough on people. Some folks are not accustomed to the structure that probation demands. If you violate probationary conditions after getting a continuance for dismissal, the court will put the case back on the trial list. The judge cannot sentence you to jail for the violation because there was no previous conviction entered against you. However, you will face criminal penalties if you are convicted of the crime.  Once back on the trial list, you have the chance to file pre-trial motions to suppress evidence and then take the case to trial if you decide that’s the best option for you. Working on Rehabilitation Can Shorten the Continuance Time Under subdivision 7 of Rule 27.05 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure, you can file a motion and ask the judge to dismiss your case early. The judge can dismiss your case if: Your lawyer asks the judge to end the dismissal period earlier than stated,  The judge gives each side a chance to argue its side of the case,  You have no new criminal cases, and  The judge finds probation worked for you.  The prosecution can object, but they might not in some cases. Each case is different, so you need to review everything carefully with your lawyer. Working with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Gives You the Best Chance to Receive a Continuance for Dismissal At Arechigo & Stokka, we fight for the best result for you. Our history of success speaks for itself. We have...

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Defense for Charges of 5th Degree Assault in Minnesota

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5th degree assault charges are extremely serious allegations. You face jail or prison time if a judge or jury convicts you of that crime. Additionally, you could receive probation, fines, and lose a laundry list of rights that you enjoy if you lose your case. Take swift action to prevent losing your case if you have charges alleging 5th degree assault in MN by calling the dedicated and award-winning criminal defense lawyers from Arechigo & Stokka. Our criminal defense team has the experience and resources you need, as well as a track record of successfully defending clients in tough situations like yours. Do not wait to see if the state has a case against you before aligning yourself with a criminal defense lawyer who gives you the best chance to experience a favorable outcome. What Is 5th Degree Assault? Minnesota statutes section 609.224 defines 5th degree assault as either a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony. The difference between the three charges depends on the presence of certain factors. Remember that no matter what degree of charge you face, you need to have a lawyer who will take the time to understand your situation completely.  Misdemeanor 5th Degree Assault A judge or jury could find you guilty of misdemeanor 5th degree assault based on two theories. You are guilty of misdemeanor 5th degree assault if the jury or judge finds that you either: committed an act while having the intent to cause fear in another person of immediate bodily harm or death; or  Intentionally inflicted bodily harm or attempted to inflict bodily harm on another. The maximum sentence you face for a misdemeanor 5th degree assault conviction is 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.  Gross Misdemeanor 5th Degree Assault in MN A gross misdemeanor carries the possibility of a one-year jail sentence, along with a fine of not more than $3,000, or both fine and imprisonment. Minnesota law indicates that committing a 5th degree assault on the same person within the last 10 years qualifies as a gross misdemeanor if the previous crime qualified as a domestic violence offense.  Minnesota law also says that you can commit a gross misdemeanor if you commit a 5th degree assault within three years of another domestic offense. In this case, the prosecutor does not have to prove that you committed the crime against the same person. Instead, any domestic violence incident can suffice. Under both scenarios, the prosecutor can use a juvenile finding of delinquency against you as a qualifying charge. 5th Degree Assault as a Felony Minnesota law ups the ante on repeat offenders. You could face a felony 5th degree assault charge if you have two domestic violence convictions against the same person in 10 years. Also, you face a felony charge if you had two prior domestic violence convictions in the last three years, even if the events involved different victims. The prosecution can use juvenile delinquency findings on your record to build a felony case against you. The penalty for a conviction of 5th degree assault as a felony is a maximum of five years in the state prison. The judge could assess a fine of not more than $10,000 or order both a fine and imprisonment.  5th Degree Assault and Firearms Minnesota law prohibits a person from possessing a pistol with a prior conviction for 5th degree assault, among other offenses. You cannot have a pistol for three years after a 5th degree assault conviction. However, you can possess a pistol again if you do not pick up any charges within those three years.  Violation of this part of the law is a gross misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is one year in jail, a fine of $1,000, or both.  Why Is It Important to Vigorously Contest Charges of 5th Degree Assault in MN? A conviction for any offense, even a misdemeanor, can come back to haunt you. As we discussed, the prosecution can use a previous conviction to file enhanced charges against you. You face more severe penalties if you pick up another charge with a prior conviction for a 5th degree assault.  By vigorously contesting your charges, you could prevent a conviction from appearing on your criminal record or your juvenile record.  Your right to possess a gun after any 5th degree assault conviction is in jeopardy. You may get your pistol back if you do not commit any violent criminal offenses within three years. The statute clearly says that you retain your property rights to have a pistol. However, the law gives judges the power to restrict your ability to possess a firearm. Those aren’t the only problems you face. You could lose the right to vote after a felony conviction. Also, you could also lose your job or professional license or have difficulty finding employment if you have a conviction for a violent offense. You Must Take Charges of 5th Degree Assault in MN Seriously Start your defense immediately by contacting the award-winning criminal defense lawyers with Arechigo & Stokka. Waiting to see what happens could only make matters worse. Don’t wait to see if the alleged victim is going to cooperate with the prosecution of the case. Take control of your future instead. Contact Arechigo & Stokka at 651-222-6603 today!

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Public Defender vs Private Attorney | Which Is Better?

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

Being arrested and charged with a crime can be a terrifying experience. You may be thinking about legal representation and wondering what the differences are with a public defender vs private attorney. There are pros and cons to each, which is why it’s imperative to weigh your options carefully. In most cases, hiring a private attorney is better, especially if you are facing serious charges. To learn more, contact or call (651) 222-6603 to speak with a Minnesota criminal defense attorney today. What You Get With a Public Defender One of the most common things people ask at their initial consultation is, Is it better to have a public defender or a private lawyer? With a public defender, you are represented by someone who is paid by the government. You cannot choose who your public defender is. The upside with a public defender versus private attorney is you are not paying out of pocket for legal fees. Public defenders also work with the same prosecutors regularly, so they may be well-positioned to negotiate favorable plea agreements. Unfortunately, public defenders are almost always overworked and underpaid. With a heavy caseload, you aren’t likely to get a lot of time with your attorney. You may find yourself feeling like you have not had enough time to discuss your case with your lawyer. And not everyone is eligible for a public defender. You must fill out an application asking for a public defender to represent you. A judge will review your personal financial circumstances and determine whether you qualify for a public defender. What You Get With a Private Attorney When you hire a private defense attorney over a public defender, you can choose your own lawyer. That means you can interview multiple attorneys and find the one you connect with most. You can also choose someone with experience defending clients with charges similar to yours. With a public defender, you have no idea what types of cases they’ve handled in the past. A private attorney may have a lower caseload, and they can devote the time necessary to get a favorable outcome in your case. Usually, you will have an easier time contacting a private attorney than a public defender. The only real downside with a private attorney is the cost. You will be paying for legal fees and expenses, whereas a public defender is assigned to those who can’t afford to hire their own counsel. Why a Private Criminal Defense Attorney May Be Your Best Choice In almost every criminal matter, hiring a Minnesota criminal defense attorney is the better option. You have the benefit of an attorney who has the necessary skills and experience, and they aren’t struggling with unmanageable caseloads like most public defenders are. Your private attorney should have more time to investigate your case. Most public defenders are rushing from case to case, and may not have the time to carefully consult with each client. Serious criminal offenses require serious choices to be made during the course of the case. It’s important that you have time to talk through options with your lawyer before making impactful decisions. If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Minnesota, contact or call Arechigo & Stokka today at (651) 222-6603 to schedule an initial consultation. We have over a decade of experience helping clients just like you. Let us put our knowledge and expertise to work for you and build the best defense possible.

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Minnesota Third Degree DWI Penalties

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YOU COULD BE FACING JAIL TIME IF YOU ARE CONVICTED OF A MINNESOTA THIRD DEGREE DWI A Third Degree DWI is a Gross Misdemeanor criminal offense in Minnesota. A Gross Misdemeanor is an intermediate level criminal offense, above a Misdemeanor and one step below a Felony.   A Third Degree DWI in MN results if it is the driver’s second DWI offense within the previous ten years and the driver’s blood alcohol content is under .20.   A 3rd Degree DWI charge in MN will also result if it is the driver’s first DWI within the last ten years and the driver’s blood alcohol content was a .20 or above or the driver refused to submit to testing or the driver’s blood alcohol content was .08 to .19 and there was a child in the vehicle at the time of driving. 3rd degree DWI’s in Minnesota are serious. If an officer gave you a third degree DWI charge in Minnesota, our DWI defense lawyers can help. We know of potential defenses are ways to reduce the sentence your case may come with. Contact us online or call (651) 222-6603 today to set up a consultation. IF CONVICTED OF A 3RD DEGREE DWI IN MN, YOU COULD FACE A MANDATORY THIRTY DAYS IN JAIL. If sentenced to the thirty days in jail, you must serve at least forty-eight consecutive hours in jail. You may then be eligible to serve the remaining twenty-eight days on work release or on electronic home monitoring if you qualify for these alternative programs. Thirty days in jail is the minimum; depending on the facts and circumstances of your Third Degree DWI case, as well as any prior DWI convictions, the state may seek more than the thirty-day minimum jail sentence. In addition to jail time, you will also face an increased length of probation and higher fine as well as alcohol monitoring. YOU MAY BE FACING A LOSS OF YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE AND LICENSE PLATES FOR AT LEAST ONE YEAR You will lose your license for two years if it is your second DWI offense within the last ten years and your blood alcohol content was .16 to .19. You may be eligible to drive during your revocation period with the use of ignition interlock. These revocation periods are not reduced if you plead guilty to the 3rd Degree DWI charge. CONTACT A LAWYER ABOUT YOUR 3RD DEGREE DWI IN MN TODAY Contact or call (651) 222-6603 to speak with our Minneapolis and St. Paul DWI lawyers today if you or someone you know is facing a Third Degree DWI in MN. Our attorneys will thoroughly review your 3rd Degree DWI and do everything we can to get your driver’s license back and help you avoid a DWI conviction. Frequently Asked Questions

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What to Do If Workers’ Comp Overpays You

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Workers’ compensation insurance provides medical benefits and wages to workers who suffer a work-related injury or illness. Minnesota requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Failing to maintain workers’ compensation coverage results in steep fines for employers and, in some cases, a lawsuit. In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 63,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in private industry employment in Minnesota alone. In fact, Minnesota workers suffered injuries and illnesses at a significantly higher rate than the national average. Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation Benefits Workers’ compensation provides the following benefits to ill or injured employees: Costs of medical care, including treatment, equipment, supplies, and transportation to and from appointments; Lost wages; Vocational rehabilitation, including training, education, and support if you need to transition to a new occupation; and Death benefits. Minnesota workers labeled as “employees” rather than “independent contractors” are authorized to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, the employee bears the burden of proving that their illness or injury was caused by work-related factors. Finally, be sure to notify your employer within 14 days of a workplace accident, or you could lose your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits The amount of compensation paid to injured or ill workers depends on the level of disability the worker suffers.  Temporary Disability Temporary disability benefits are available on a temporary basis to individuals expected to recover from their work-related illness or injury.  A temporary total disability (TTD) is a temporary disability that prevents individuals from working in any capacity for some period of time as a result of their illness or injury. TTD benefits pay two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly wage with a maximum of the 2021 statewide average weekly wage (SAWW) of $1,232. Employees can collect TTD benefits for up to 130 weeks in most circumstances. An ill or injured individual with a temporary partial disability (TPD) is able to work in a part-time or modified capacity despite their injury. TPD benefits include two-thirds of the difference between your earnings at full capacity and your modified earnings. The state provides TPD benefits for a maximum of 275 weeks. Permanent Disability A permanent disability occurs when an individual is not expected to fully recover from their work-related illness or injury.  Permanent total disability (PTD) involves injuries/illnesses that are permanent and so severe that they prevent a worker from ever obtaining gainful employment for the remainder of his or her lifetime. PTD benefits pay two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly wage with a maximum of the 2021 SAWW of $1,232. Workers with a permanent total disability receive PTD benefits until they reach retirement age, which Minnesota presumes to be age 72 for injuries after October 2018.  . Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits aim to compensate injured workers for permanent loss or impairment of a bodily function. These benefits are typically not dependent on loss of wages or the individual’s ability to work. To qualify for PPD, Minnesota requires the injured worker to show that the permanency of the injury is causally related to the injury itself. The amount of PPD benefits depends on the type and severity of permanent disability suffered by the injured worker. What If I Receive Workers’ Compensation Overpayment? Workers suffering from severe work-related injuries or illnesses could receive a substantial award of workers’ compensation benefits to cover the cost of their medical costs and rehabilitation, not to mention their lost wages. But what happens if a workers’ comp overpayment lands in your bank account unexpectedly?  Receiving benefits beyond what you are entitled to may seem like a good problem to have. However, if not remedied, a workers’ compensation overpayment creates multiple issues for the injured worker. Minnesota law allows individuals who receive workers’ compensation to keep the overpayments as long as the individual who received the overpayment did so in good faith. That means that the individual cannot purposely attempt to defraud the insurance company. While the workers’ comp overpayment does not have to be returned to the insurance company, the insurance company can adjust future payments to recoup the overpayment by reducing future workers’ compensation checks by no more than 20%. If you believe an insurance company issued a workers’ compensation overpayment to you, contact a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to determine what steps you should take next. Hiring a Workers’ Comp Attorney in the Event of Overpayment Since its founding in 2007, the Criminal Defense and Workers’ Compensation Law Office of Arechigo & Stokka has committed its practice to direct, personalized representation coupled with the determination to understand the intricacies of each individual case. We have helped countless injured workers maximize their recovery and navigate the complicated workers’ compensation claims process. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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