What Are Minnesota Statutory Rape Laws?

    | Read Time: 6 minutes

Facing any criminal charge is a difficult situation to find yourself in. A criminal conviction can follow you around for the rest of your life and complicate simple things like getting a loan or a job. However, some crimes can have more of an impact than others. A conviction for statutory rape or any other sexual criminal offense can impact your life far more than a theft or shoplifting conviction.  If you face a statutory rape accusation, you are probably wondering, What is statutory rape? or, How long is a statutory rape sentence? Read on to find the answers to these and other questions about Minnesota’s statutory rape laws from our Minnesota criminal defense attorney. What Is the Difference Between Rape and Statutory Rape? The general colloquial definition of rape is engaging in sexual acts without the consent of one or more of the parties involved. Statutory rape is different in that both parties to the sexual act in question may technically consent to it. Still, because of the relevant laws (or statutes), it is illegal and a criminal offense. Statutory rape is a crime because one of the parties involved is not yet at the age of consent. “Age of consent” refers to the age that one must be in order to legally consent to sexual acts. Below that age, consent is not possible. Just like it is illegal for minors to possess firearms, it is illegal for persons under the age of consent to engage in sexual activity. The age of consent differs between states but is generally age 15 or older. In Minnesota, the age of consent is 16 years old. What Is Statutory Rape in Minnesota? Minnesota prosecutes stautory rape at one of four degrees of sexual conduct. The most severely penalized level is first degree sexual misconduct while the least severe is fourth degree sexual misconduct.  Here, we will look into the legal definitions of each of the four levels. In the legal definitions there are two important terms that we must understand.  The first term is “sexual penetration.” Minnesota law states that sexual penetration includes oral sex, anal sex, and vaginal sex. Whenever a part of one person’s body penetrates a part of another person’s body, sexual penetration occurs.  We also need to know how Minnesota defines someone “in a position of authority over the minor.” Someone holds a position of authority over a minor when they are a parent or otherwise responsible for a minor’s supervision, wellbeing, or health. People in positions of authority over minors include teachers, babysitters, and parents. Fourth Degree Fourth degree statutory rape occurs when criminial sexual conduct occurs between a defendant and another person and one or more other criteria is met: The minor is under 13 years old and the defendant is no more than 36 months older than the minor; The minor is older than 13 years old, but under 16, and the defendant is more than 48 months older than the minor or is in a position of authority over the minor; or The minor is more than 16 years old, but less than 18 years old, and the defendant is in a position of authority over the minor and more than 48 months older than the minor. If someone’s actions meet any of the latter three conditions in addition to sexual conduct between two individuals, the state can charge the defendant with fourth degree statutory rape. Third Degree Third degree statutory rape occurs when someone engages in sexual penetration with a minor and one or more of the following criteria is met: The minor is less than 13 years old, and the defendant is no more than 36 months older than them; The minor is more than 13 years old, but under 16, and the defendant is more than 24 months older than them; or The minor is more than 16 years old, but under 18, and the defendant is in a position of authority over the minor at the time of the incident and more than 48 months older than them. The key determining factor between third and fourth degree statutory rape in Minnessota is whether or not penetration occurs. Second Degree Second degree statutory rape occurs in Minnesota when a person engages in sexual conduct that stops short of penetration with certain classes of minors. The relevant classes of minors are as follows: A minor less than 13 years old when the perpetrator is 36 months or more older than the minor; or A minor more than 13 years old yet less than 16 years old when the perpetrator is greater than 48 months older than the minor and in a position of authority over them. By now, you should notice that the severity tends to depend on two factors: the age gap between the defendant and the victim and whether the sexual act included penetration. First Degree First degree statutory rape is the most severe category of statutory rape. First degree statutory rape occurs when sexual penetration occurs between: A minor more than 13 years old and less than 16 years old when the perpetrator is more than 48 months older than the victim and in a position of authority over them; or A minor who is less than 13 years old and a perpetrator who is more than 36 months older than the victim. Anybody whose actions meet the threshold of first or any other degree of statutory rape meets the legal requirements for a criminal statutory rape conviction in Minnesota.  Statutory Rape Penalties The potential penalties for a statutory rape conviction in Minnesota are severe. A fourth degree statutory rape conviction can lead to up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000, or both. On the other end of the spectrum, first-degree statutory rape convictions can bring up to 30 years imprisonment, $40,000 in fines, or both. There are other potential penalties for statutory rape, including sex offender registration, restrictions on where one can live,...

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What Is Conditional Release in St. Paul, MN?

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Anybody who faces criminal charges should know about conditional release, but what does conditional release mean? What is a conditional release from prison?  In the context of criminal law, conditional release can refer to two situations. First, criminal release can refer to a situation where someone faces a criminal accusation and is arrested but, upon arraignment, is released from incarceration during the pre-trial period. Second, conditional release refers to an extended period of supervision that people charged with certain crimes are subject to after they serve their jail or prison time. In both situations, the release of someone from incarceration hinges on certain conditions. The conditions differ to some degree. However, in both situations, the conditions for release are typically similar. The general condition for someone to maintain their conditional release is to stay out of trouble. If you are out on conditional release, further criminal charges will almost certainly violate your release conditions and lead to further incarceration.  Pretrial Conditional Release The Minnesota conditional release law most relevant for pretrial conditional release is in the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure. According to Rule 6.02, a judge should release anyone appearing before a criminal court at an arraignment from their incarceration, without bail, pending their criminal trial. The rule goes on to state that this release should happen unless the release will endanger public safety or there is a reasonable expectation that the defendant will not appear at their trial. When Pretrial Conditional Release Is Possible If a judge determines that the pretrial release of a defendant will endanger public safety or that there is a risk that they will not appear in court, the Minnesota conditional release statute provides instructions on what to do to mitigate those risks. The instructions say that a judge can require some combination of four things to mitigate the risk of flight or the danger to public safety: First, the judge can impose travel, residence, or association restrictions; Second, the judge can place the defendant under the supervision of another person or organization if they agree to such supervision; Third, the judge can securitize the defendant’s appearance in court with a bail bond or other security; or Finally, the judge can impose other necessary conditions to ensure that the defendant appears in court. Judges have discretion as to which of these mitigating factors to employ in a given case. Prosecutors can argue for more stringent mitigating factors or argue against pretrial conditional release entirely. Thus, the help of a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney is essential in the fight for pretrial conditional release. Conditions for Pretrial Release The conditions one has to follow to maintain their pretrial conditional release are relatively simple. On top of the two basic conditions of not committing crimes and appearing at a scheduled court date, the conditions are whatever the judge imposes. A combination of anything on the aforementioned list is possible, which includes “any other necessary conditions.” Other conditions may include things like staying within the state or not associating with certain people. The state can revoke a defendant’s pretrial conditional release if they fail to abide by conditions of their release. Conditional Release From Prison Conditional release from prison differs entirely from pretrial conditional release. Instead of a privilege, conditional release from prison is a burden. It is an extra term of imposed supervision the court imposes in addition to one’s prison sentence. During the conditional release period, the Minnesota Department of Corrections continues to supervise those convicted of a specific crime. Conditions for Conditional Release From Prison There are quite a few different Minnesota conditional release statutes relevant to conditional release from prison. Each of the statutes corresponds with a specific crime or crimes. The conditions for a defendant’s conditional release from incarceration differ depending on the crime that the defendant is convicted of and reflect that crime’s specific societal harms and risks. Some of the criminal charges subject to conditional release from prison include: First degree (felony) driving while impaired; Predatory offense registration violation committed by certain sexual offenders; Assault in the fourth degree against secure treatment facility personnel; First through fourth degree criminal sexual conduct and criminal sexual predatory conduct; and Possession of pornographic work involving minors. Each of these crimes comes with various potential conditions for release. For example, a condition for someone convicted of possession of pornographic work involving minors will likely include no contact with minors or only supervised visits with their children. Alternatively, someone convicted of first-degree-felony driving while impaired may have their license suspended for a few years or be required to use an ignition interlock device. The conditions for one’s conditional release from prison will always reflect the specific crime that they are convicted of.   If You Need Help with Conditional Release Whether you need pre-trial assistance or post-conviction legal advice on conditional release in Minnesota, your best course of action is enlisting the help of an experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney. Our team at Arechigo & Stokka has over twenty years of experience fighting for the rights of Minnesotans caught in the net of the criminal justice system. You have a right to a fair trial. Let us help ensure that the state respects that right. Contact Arechigo & Stokka today!

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How Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause Are Defined in St. Paul

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“Reasonable suspicion” and “probable cause” are two critical concepts in US criminal procedure. These two concepts determine whether the police have the authority to search you, arrest you, or detain you. If the police get it wrong, your attorney could get evidence suppressed, win you an acquittal, or secure a favorable plea bargain.   In St. Paul, both federal law and Minnesota law apply. Both reasonable suspicion and probable cause arise from the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Minnesota Constitution is subordinate to the federal constitution, and it cannot take away any federal constitutional rights. It can, however, grant additional rights to Minnesota criminal defendants.   Reasonable Suspicion vs. Probable Cause Reasonable suspicion is the legal standard that a police officer must meet to “stop and frisk” you for a weapon or to pull you over for DWI. An officer cannot base reasonable suspicion on their subjective feelings, but must rely on objective facts. Weaving or turning without using your turn signal, for example, might be enough to constitute reasonable suspicion and justify pulling you over for DWI. Probable cause means evidence that is not necessarily proof, but something more than just reasonable suspicion. The police need probable cause to arrest you, to obtain a search warrant, or to search your home. For probable cause to exist, the evidence against you must be strong enough to convince a “reasonable person” that you have committed, are committing, or are about to commit a crime, or that evidence of a crime can be found at the location to be searched. Failing a field sobriety test (walking in a straight line, for example) might provide probable cause to arrest you for DWI.   Probable Cause vs. Reasonable Suspicion: Remedies for the Violation of Your Rights When the police ignore probable cause and reasonable suspicion restrictions on their behavior, the legal consequences are significant. Your attorney can demand that the court suppress any evidence that was uncovered through the violation of your rights. If the prosecution lacks enough remaining evidence to convict you, your case will be dismissed and you will walk free. Under certain circumstances, such as a racially motivated arrest that lacked probable cause, you can even file a federal civil lawsuit seeking money damages or an injunction (a court order demanding that the government act or refrain from acting as specified in the order). Now Is Not the Time to Hesitate It is never a good idea to represent yourself in a criminal proceeding. But it’s not much better to retain an attorney who lacks experience in criminal defense. Instead, you should retain an experienced St. Paul criminal defense attorney as early in the process as possible. Never forget: missing a critical deadline could irreparably damage your defense.  At Arechigo & Stokka, we know how to fight back against aggressive St. Paul prosecutors. We will do what is necessary to protect our clients. The sooner we begin preparing your defense, the better your chances will be. Feel free to contact us online or call us at 651-222-6603 for a free initial consultation.

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Schedule 6 Controlled Substances in St. Paul: What Are the Penalties?

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The Minnesota drug scheduling system includes only five schedules—there is no Schedule 6. The federal government, however, recently added Schedule 6 to its list of schedules. At present, the only listed federal Schedule VI drugs are marijuana and THC (the active ingredient in marijuana). Although penalties for possession and distribution of Schedule VI drugs can be stiff, one very significant loophole exists, as described below. What Exactly Is a Drug Schedule? Both the federal government and the Minnesota government classify illegal drugs according to drug schedules—lists of illegal drugs classified by number. Heroin, for example, is listed as a Schedule I drug under both the federal system and the Minnesota system. The higher the number of the schedule, the less harmful the listed drug is thought to be, and the more lenient the penalties are. Federal Penalties for Possession and Distribution of Marijuana The federal penalties for violation of marijuana laws vary, depending on whether you are charged with possession or distribution under Schedule 6. Possession of Marijuana The federal penalties for marijuana possession are: First offense: Up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000. Second offense: 15 days to two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500. Subsequent offenses: 90 days to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. These penalties also apply to the possession of marijuana derivatives such as THC, although the actionable amounts differ. Distribution or Intent to Distribute Federal penalties for the distribution of marijuana are: Distribution of a “small amount” free of charge: Treated as mere possession. Less than 50 plants or 50 kg: Up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. 50-99 plants: Up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million. 100-999 plants or 100-999 kg: Five to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million. More than 999 plants or more than 999 kg: 10 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million. Federal law does not precisely define how much marijuana constitutes a “small amount.” A Giant Loophole: The Federal Enforcement Paradox Even though marijuana use remains illegal at the federal level, many states have legalized it for medical and even recreational use. Although federal law prevails over contrary state law, in practice the federal government has left the enforcement of marijuana offenses largely to states and state law, except under narrow circumstances (bringing marijuana onto a commercial jetliner, for example). But keep in mind, this is just a matter of policy—it’s still possible for people to be prosecuted under federal law even if they comply with state laws. However, it’s unlikely you’ll be the target of a federal prosecution unless you’re involved in broader criminal activity.  Minnesota Marijuana Penalties Possession of an (unspecified) small amount of marijuana, or distribution of a small amount free of charge, is a petty misdemeanor. The only penalty is mandatory participation in a drug education program. Subsequent offenses result in a mandatory chemical dependency evaluation and treatment.  Time Is of the Essence If you have been arrested on a controlled substance charge, get in touch with Arechigo & Stokka immediately. We understand the St. Paul criminal justice system from the inside out, and we enjoy working relationships with all the major players. We offer aggressive, committed and intelligent representation. Contact us online or call us at 651-222-6603 for a free initial consultation on your case.

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Minnesota Hit and Run Law

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You’re involved in an accident. Maybe you hit another car, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian. You panic and flee the scene. What are the consequences? Will you be arrested? Fined? Put in jail? Minnesota’s hit-and-run law spells out the potential consequences for leaving the scene of an accident.  Driver Obligations Under Minnesota’s Collision (Hit-and-Run) Law Minnesota’s traffic statutes set forth what drivers of a motor vehicle must do when involved in a collision. First, drivers in Minnesota must immediately stop their vehicle at the scene of the collision and investigate what they hit. Drivers should try not to obstruct other traffic following an accident. If it is necessary to stop a short distance from the collision, that is acceptable. Second, if the driver believes they may have injured someone or caused damage, the driver must stay at the scene of the accident. The driver may leave the scene only after they have shared their information with all individuals involved in the collision.The driver must provide his or her: Name, Date of birth, and Mailing address or e-mail address. The driver also must provide the license plate number of the vehicle being driven. If asked by a police officer, the driver must show their driver license. In addition, if requested, the driver must provide the name and address of the insurance company and agent that provides liability insurance for the vehicle. If the driver does not provide insurance information at the accident scene, the driver must provide it within 72 hours after the accident. Finally, when a collision causes injuries or death to another person, the driver must notify the police and file an accident report. Minnesota Hit-and-Run Law Involving Property Damage or Unattended Vehicles Drivers who are involved in an accident with an unattended vehicle or one that causes property damage are similarly required to stop their vehicles. They too must reasonably investigate any damage they caused. In these circumstances, the driver must try to locate and notify the owner of the unattended vehicle or damaged property. The driver then must provide his or her name and address to the owner and report the collision to law enforcement. If the owner cannot be found, the driver must leave a note on the car providing this information. Minnesota Hit-and-Run Penalties If you leave the scene of a vehicle accident, you could face significant criminal charges. The extent of the penalties for a hit and run in Minnesota depend largely on the severity of the injuries and property damage caused. For a misdemeanor hit and run, you may face a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 90 days in prison. For cases involving severe injuries or death, you could face fines of up to $5,000 and up to three years in jail. In many hit-and-run cases, the state may revoke your driver’s license.  Contact Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Minnesota If you have been involved in a Minnesota hit-and-run accident, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to obtain the best possible outcome of your case. Contact us today for a free hit-and-run consultation. We are committed to providing each client with personal attention while understanding that every hit-and-run case can be unique. We will listen to the facts of your case and pursue options designed to meet the needs of you and your family. 

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Minnesota Extradition Laws

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A person can become a fugitive from justice if they are no longer in the state where an alleged criminal offense occurred. In some cases, a person may move to a different state without knowing the state has filed criminal charges against that person. Being a fugitive, however, does not mean the state cannot bring that person back to the state to face criminal charges. Most states have laws that allow the police to send a person accused of a crime back to the state where the crime occurred to stand trial. Minnesota is one of those states.  What Is Extradition? Extradition allows one state to turn over a person accused or convicted of a crime to the place where the person was charged or convicted. Importantly, this can involve two countries or two states. The laws of the countries or states involved in a particular transfer will determine how extradition takes place. What Laws Govern Extradition in Minnesota? When extradition involves the United States and another country, a criminal will be extradited according to an extradition treaty. But if there is no extradition treaty between the U.S. and the other country, the suspect or convict may avoid trial or prison. Therefore, fugitives facing extradition to a foreign country should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows extradition treaties between countries. For extradition between Minnesota and another U.S. state, the individuall may be extradited under numerous laws. First, the U.S. Constitution includes an extradition clause that applies to all U.S. states. That clause requires states to return a person who has been charged in any state to the state having jurisdiction over the crime. Second, the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act (UCEA) sets forth processes and requirements for extradition between the states. Minnesota is one of the forty-eight states that have adopted the UCEA. In particular, Minnesota’s extradition law provides that “it is the duty of the governor of this state to have arrested and delivered up to the executive authority of any other state of the United States any person charged in that state with treason, felony, or other crime, who has fled from justice and if found in this state.” How Does the Minnesota Extradition Law Work? Minnesota law enforcement will extradite a fugitive under the following general process: The state from which the fugitive fled issues an out-of-state arrest warrant; That state enters the arrest warrant into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which allows Minnesota police to access it; Minnesota police arrest the fugitive and notify the issuing state; The issuing state requests return of the fugitive; The fugitive may choose to waive extradition (meaning he/she voluntarily agrees to return to the original state); If the fugitive does not voluntarily agree to return, the governor of the original state must request extradition from the governor of Minnesota; If both governors approve the extradition request, Minnesota holds an extradition hearing where a judge decides whether to grant or deny extradition; and If granted, Minnesota officials transport the fugitive back to the demanding state. The same process is usually followed if an individual accused of a crime in Minnesota is living in another state and Minnesota wants that person returned to face prosecution. Throughout this detailed process, law enforcement may mistakenly violate the fugitive’s rights. That’s why it is so important to contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys at the earliest hint of extradition. Your Minnesota Criminal Extradition Lawyer At the Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers’ Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka, we know when and how to defend against extradition. Minnesota Lawyer has recognized criminal defense lawyer, John Arechigo, as an attorney of the year multiple times, including awarding him with the exclusive Circle of Excellence in 2019. Contact us today for your free consultation to discuss your options.

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Understanding Reckless Driving in MN

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If you have a driver’s license, you know that there are many traffic laws that drivers must obey. Many are aware of what constitutes speeding or a DUI, but do you understand what constitutes reckless driving? Do you know what the penalties are? Or why you might need an attorney if you get charged with this offense? Since reckless driving charges can impact your driving privileges and potentially even your freedom, these are important concepts to understand. What Exactly Is Reckless Driving in Minnesota? Under Minnesota statute section 169.13, reckless driving is defined as driving in a way that poses a substantial, significant, and unjustifiable risk to the welfare and safety of others. For driving to qualify as reckless, the vehicle operator must be aware of this risk and consciously disregard it. The risk may be to another person’s well-being or property. In other words, the driver must exhibit a deliberate disregard for other people’s safety to be charged with this crime. Racing is one example of reckless driving that the statute addresses explicitly. Penalties The penalties for reckless driving are fairly straightforward. Standard reckless driving in MN is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. However, be aware that if your driving record has prior infractions, you could also lose your driving privileges. The amount of time you stand to lose your license depends on whether you had prior traffic vioaltions. Furthermore, if your recklessness resulted in serious bodily injury to someone else, your charge will likely be upgraded. Standard misdemeanors can be upgraded to gross misdemeanors, which carry sentences of up to one year in jail and up to a $3,000 fine.  Do I Need a Lawyer? As far as traffic offenses go, the need for a lawyer is perhaps never so great as when an officer charges you with reckless driving in MN. That is because the laws prohibiting such behavior are quite broad and can be misconstrued by law enforcement. Imperfect officers can see something that appears to be reckless when, in fact, it is not. Only experienced criminal defense attorneys can properly assess the facts of your case and determine whether reckless driving was the appropriate charge. It is possible that the circumstances more accurately reflect the less severe charge of careless driving or speeding.  We Can Help Traffic offenses may not seem serious at first. But criminal traffic infractions can result in jail time, steep fines, and a tarnished driving record. When so much is at stake, you need an experienced attorney by your side. The Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka has decades of experience in defending people just like you from criminal charges that threaten to upend their lives. First, we closely examine the evidence in your case. Then we seek to lessen the severity of the charges or defend against them completely. One thing is certain: We will make sure that your rights are protected every step of the way. So call us today at 651-222-6603, or contact us online to set up your free initial consultation.

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Reckless Discharge of a Firearm in MN

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If you are a gun owner, you probably enjoy using your gun in a variety of ways. Some people keep their guns on hand solely for safety purposes, while others like to hunt. Some enjoy target practice. Regardless of how you choose to enjoy your gun, you must first learn how to use it properly. That involves practice, and practice means discharging your weapon. But where and how you choose to fire your gun can have consequences, so it is important to know Minnesota firearm discharge laws. Minnesota Firearm Discharge Laws Minnesota statute section 609.66 addresses which actions involving dangerous weapons constitute a crime. Some crimes are misdemeanors, such as: Recklessly handling a weapon or firearm in a way that could potentially endanger other people; Pointing a gun at someone, even if the gun is not loaded; and Manufacturing, selling, or possessing a dangerous item with the intent to use it unlawfully as a weapon against someone else. Other actions are considered felonies. Section 609.66 (1a)(3) states that firing or discharging a firearm recklessly within a municipality in the state of Minnesota is a felony. Reckless Discharge of a Firearm Sentence A judge can sentence you to up to one year in jail and impose up to a $3,000 fine for the misdemeanor offenses listed above. Minnesota Statutes Section 609.66 (1b)(1) and (1b)(2) address the felony penalties for recklessly discharging a firearm. Essentially, you can be sentenced to up to five years in prison and receive up to a $10,000 fine if the discharge occurs in: A park zone, A public housing zone, or A school zone. Courts consider it less severe if the discharge happens almost anywhere else, imposing a lesser sentence of up to two years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. With so much at stake, it is important to understand the reckless discharge of a firearm sentence that might apply to you. Recklessness The law states that reckless discharge of a firearm in Minnesota is a crime. But this statement can leave you wondering what the term “reckless” means in this context. A person is said to have acted recklessly if they knew or should have known that their actions could cause harm to others. To help determine if specific actions were reckless, the court employs both a subjective and an objective test. The subjective test asks whether a specific person in a specific situation knew or should have known that their actions could cause harm to others. The objective test asks whether a “reasonable person” would know that their actions were dangerous.  We Can Defend You Gun charges are serious and can affect your ability to own firearms well into the future. If you find yourself charged with a gun crime, it is important to hire an experienced gun rights attorney. The Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka has decades of experience defending your right to bear arms, and we will make sure that your rights are protected every step of the way. So call today, or set up a free consultation online.

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Minnesota Drug Trafficking Penalties

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Drug trafficking is generally known as the most serious drug offense that carries the stiffest penalties. Drug trafficking charges refer to the weight of the drugs either sold or possessed. Although Minnesota’s drug law prohibits selling, possessing to distribute, or possession of narcotics, it does not reference a drug trafficking charge by name. But like other states and the federal government, Minnesota reserves the most severe punishments for drug crimes that involve a high weight of the narcotics.  If you or a loved one faces drug trafficking charges in Minnesota, then you need a tough, experienced, and highly skilled drug trafficking defense lawyer to represent you. A seasoned Minnesota drug trafficking attorney with decades of experience knows how to create a defense strategy that minimizes your chances of spending many years in prison. What Is Drug Trafficking in Minnesota? Minnesota categorizes its drug crimes by the weight of the narcotics. The state’s most serious drug crimes are first-degree controlled substance crimes. A person violates Minnesota’s first-degree controlled substance crime drug trafficking law by either selling more than a threshold quantity of drugs within 90 days or possessing more than a threshold amount of drugs. The various thresholds for first-degree drug crimes depend on the type of drug. Trafficking By Selling Narcotics Under this section, a person is guilty of a controlled substance crime in the first degree by selling on one or more occasions during the previous 90 days: 17 grams or more of cocaine or methamphetamine; 10 grams or more of cocaine or methamphetamine while in possession of a firearm or two aggravating factors; 10 grams of more of heroin;  50 grams or more of another narcotic other than cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin; 50 grams or more, or 200 dosage units, of amphetamine, phencyclidine, or hallucinogenic drug; or 25 kilograms of marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol. Minnesota law allows prosecutors to include mixtures of non-narcotics in the total amount of drugs. Trafficking By Possession A person could be convicted of a controlled substance crime in the first degree by possessing a specified quantity of certain drugs as well. A person is guilty of controlled substance crime in the first degree by possessing: 50 grams or more of cocaine or methamphetamine; 25 grams or more of cocaine or methamphetamine while in possession of a firearm or two aggravating factors;  25 grams or more of heroin; 500 grams of a drug other than cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin, or 50 kilograms of marijuana or 500 marijuana plants. As with selling narcotics, the total weight includes the drugs and any other substance mixed in. How Much Jail Time for Drug Trafficking? The severity of the drug trafficking charges determines the amount of prison time a person could serve. A controlled substance crime in the first degree carries a maximum sentence of 30 years. The court could issue a fine of up to $1 million. However, the maximum penalty increases to 40 years if the accused has a previous controlled substance conviction. The law requires the person to receive at least four years in prison for a subsequent offense. The penalties increase if the state proves trafficking in the presence of aggravating factors. A person convicted of selling more than 100 grams or possessing over 500 grams of cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin must serve 65 months in prison. The minimum mandatory is 86 months if the crime involved a firearm or the presence of two aggravating factors. People Facing Tough Drug Trafficking Penalties Need a Tough Lawyer If you or a loved one is facing drug trafficking charges in Minnesota, we can help. The drug tracking defense lawyers with the Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers’ Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka will rely on their extensive trial experience to fight for you. Call Arechigo & Stokka today at 651-222-6603 to defend your drug trafficking charges aggressively.

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How Much Does a DUI Cost In Minnesota?

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The average cost of a DUI or DWI in Minnesota is much more expensive than one might expect. DUI fees can be staggering in Minnesota. You need to understand the potential financial impact of a DUI in Minnesota if you face DUI charges, in addition to any criminal penalties you face. A qualified Minnesota DWI defense attorney could explain all of the potential DUI fees you could pay if a court finds you guilty of DWI. The facts and circumstances of your case dictate the choices you could make. However, frankly discussing your DUI case with a seasoned and dedicated DUI attorney from Minnesota would help you make the best decision for you and your family. Average Cost of DUI No one appreciates the amount of money a DUI costs until facing DWI charges. How much does a DUI cost, can only be determined after a thorough analysis of your case. However, DUI fees begin to pile up immediately after a DUI arrest.  A person under arrest for DWI in Minnesota may need to post bond, depending on the severity of the DUI offense. A non-monetary conditional release might be appropriate for a person charged with a first-offense DUI without aggravating factors. However, you may have to post a monetary bond if you had an alcohol content double the legal limit, face a subsequent offense or caused an accident with injuries or death. State law governs bonds in Minnesota. Under Minnesota’s bond law, the bond for a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor is double the maximum fine. There are no maximum bond amounts for a felony DWI in Minnesota. DUI Ticket Price The DUI ticket cost can increase if you receive a conviction for DWI. During an initial consultation, many people ask, How much is a DUI fine? The DUI ticket price depends on the charges.  Minnesota categorizes DUI charges by degrees. The maximum fine depends on the severity of the charges. Maximum fines under Minnesota’s DUI laws are: $1,000 for fourth-degree DWI, which is a misdemeanor; $3,000 for second- or third-degree DWI and breath test refusal, which are gross misdemeanor charges; and $14,000 for first-degree DWI, which is a felony. The maximum fines do not include surcharges or court costs. Also, a judge may assess these fines in addition to any jail time ordered by the court after a DUI conviction. Additional DUI Ticket Costs Most people charged with DUI ask about the DUI fines a court can impose. They do not ask about the other costs included as part of the average cost of DUI. Additional potential costs associated with a DUI conviction in Minnesota include: Ignition interlock device for 12 months—approximately $120 to install and $100 per month for maintenance; License reinstatement fees—$680 plus a $26.25 application fee;  Towing or impound fees—approximately $180;  Probation fees; Chemical dependency and treatment fee—$25; and Penalty assessment of $1,000 for an alcohol content reading of 0.16% or greater. Other expenses included in the average DUI cost are insurance increases of approximately 37% and possible lost wages. Keep DUI Costs to a Minimum By Avoiding a DUI Conviction The financial cost of even a first-offense DUI is enormous if you are convicted. One way to avoid paying the average cost for a DUI is to avoid a DUI conviction altogether. Consulting a highly trained and experienced Minnesota DUI attorney from the Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers’ Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka could help you minimize your financial burden associated with a DWI charge. Call us today at 651-222-6603 to discuss your options.

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