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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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?

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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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Minnesota Sexual Assault Vs Sexual Battery Laws

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Anyone accused of a sex crime will face a great deal of uncertainty and will likely have a lot of questions. The laws in this area vary from state to state, and there is a lot of misleading information on the topic. Because of this, we have tried to provide answers to some of the common questions that arise. However, because a conviction carries serious consequences, a person accused or charged with a sex crime should contact an experienced Minnesota criminal sexual conduct defense attorney as soon as possible. Assault Vs Battery Under Minnesota Law In general, assault and battery are two separate crimes in Minnesota. Typically, assault involves a threat of any violence that causes fear of physical harm. On the other hand, battery is the physical act itself. For example, a threat to punch someone is assault, while the punch is the battery.  Minnesota criminal law does not divide the two into separate crimes. In Minnesota, you can face a relatively similar criminal charge for physically attacking someone as you would if you threatened to assault someone. On the other hand, threatening violence with the intent to terrorize a person is a separate crime. There are subtle differences in the law between a threat and a physical act that can drastically change the type of criminal charge you may face. Sexual Battery Vs Sexual Assault Some states also use assault and battery to define sex crimes.  When this is the case, sexual assault typically involves less severe behavior, such as non-consensual sexual touching. Sexual battery, on the other hand, generally refers to more serious criminal behavior, up to or including rape. Minnesota Sexual Assault Laws In Minnesota, crimes of sexual assault, sexual battery, and rape are all classified as criminal sexual conduct. Criminal sexual conduct can be in the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth degree. First-degree criminal sexual conduct consists of the most serious criminal behavior, such as rape and child sexual abuse. Consent Consent is a critical determining factor in assessing whether a sexual conduct crime has been committed. It is also a common defense against such accusations. Because of this, consent (or lack of) is often a hotly debated and confusing element in a sex crime case. In Minnesota, consent is agreeing, in words or actions, to any sexual act. A prior relationship—sexual, romantic, or otherwise—by itself does not consent to any sexual act. However, the existence of a prior romantic relationship may help form the foundation for the explanation of consent as a defense to an accusation of sexual assault. Additionally, consent cannot be freely given if an individual is incapacitated or impaired in some way. For example, someone cannot always freely give consent if they have a developmental disability or mental illness. A person also cannot freely give consent when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, whether or not they chose to use them. Defenses Defenses against an accusation of criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota include innocence, insanity or mental incapacitation, mistaken age (in very limited circumstances), and, most commonly, consent.  Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in St. Paul, MN Today An accusation or conviction of a criminal sex offense is a serious matter. These crimes are aggressively prosecuted in Minnesota and should not be taken lightly. Charges can range from a misdemeanor to a felony, and a conviction can carry a sentence of up to thirty years imprisonment.  If you or a loved one has been accused of committing a criminal sex offense, you need a detail-oriented, accessible, and thorough attorney with experience in the area. Arechigo & Stokka has successfully defended hundreds of clients in criminal cases. Many successful defenses have involved accusations of sex crimes, including high-profile cases in this area.  We are dedicated to being there for you every step of the way and pride ourselves on the access we give our clients. Contact us online or call (651) 222-6603 today or to speak with our experienced attorneys. Read testimonials from prior clients, check out our Youtube channel, Facebook profile, or Twitter account to get to know us, and contact our firm today.

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Juvenile Record Expungement: Do Felonies Committed as a Minor Go Away?

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Everybody has a lapse in judgment every once in a while. Children experience lapses in judgment all the time, but a mistake made as a child should not follow someone around for the rest of their life. The truth is, good kids make mistakes. The Minnesota government recognizes this and aims to ensure that children’s lives are not ruined by criminal convictions. To achieve that aim, the criminal records of minors are subject to different rules than the criminal records of adults.   In most instances, the law automatically takes childhood crimes off a criminal record after 10 years, but not always. Minnesota has specific rules surrounding the process. This may, however, bring up more questions than it answers. Some of the questions you might have at this point include: If you get a felony as a minor does it go away when you turn 18? Do juvenile records get erased? What is juvenile record expungement?  In this piece, the team at Arechigo & Stokka answers those questions and explains the rules surrounding the criminal records of minors, expungement, and felonies committed as a minor. Why the Legal System Treats Minors Differently Than Adults Governments all around the world recognize that children are continuously developing. As a result, children do not yet have the same faculties or capacities as adults. Recognizing this, governments worldwide do not grant the same civil, political, and economic rights to children as they do to adults. In tandem, children also do not typically have the same obligations as adults in a given country or state. For example, minors do not have the right to do things like vote, own a gun, or join the military. This logic applies to criminal law just as much as it applies to a person’s right to vote. In most countries and all US states, the law does not prosecute minors for crimes the same way as adults. In many instances, minors below a specific age cannot face a criminal charge at all. The law calls the age at which the state can certify a juvenile for adult prosecution of a felony the “age of criminal responsibility.” Different states and countries apply different age thresholds and specific rules regarding the criminal prosecution of minors. But prosecuting children differently than adults is ubiquitous throughout the country and world. In Minnesota, the age of criminal responsibility is 14 years old.  What Is Expungement? In the dictionary, to expunge is to erase or remove something completely. In criminal law, expungement describes the process where a judge seals someone’s criminal record, in whole or in part, from public records. The result of the expungement of a criminal conviction is that there is no public record of it. It is as if the conviction never happened. Expungement doesn’t stop at convictions. An expungement also includes arrest records themselves. Through expungement, an arrest record goes away regardless of whether or not someone was convicted of the crime. Only a judge can expunge a crime from someone’s record. Expungement of Minor Records In Minnesota, there is a general expungement rule for minors. The law automatically expunges the criminal record of a minor 10 years after a conviction. However, this automatic expungement only occurs if there are no arrests or criminal convictions in the intervening 10 years. For felony convictions, expungement does not happen automatically. Instead, those wanting an expungement of their record for a felony committed as a minor must petition the courts to do so. Expungement of Felonies for Minors in Minnesota Minnesota can charge minors with felonies for crimes like robbery, distribution of drugs, and sex crimes. Even those crimes can be expunged, but only in specific circumstances. To expunge a felony charge from one’s record, one must petition a judge for the expungement. In making the determination, the judge will consider whether: The charges were dismissed; The individual was not convicted or found guilty of the crime; or The individual did not plead guilty to the criminal charges. If your case meets any of these three criteria, a judge can expunge your felony record. But even if a court found a child guilty of a felony, a judge can expunge the charge at their discretion. And while expungement in Minnesota applies to state records, it does not apply to federal records. Do You Have a Criminal Record for a Crime You Committed As a Minor? Whether you have a felony or misdemeanor charge, if you want to have your juvenile criminal record expunged there is no substitute for an experienced criminal defense attorney. Whatever your situation is, the defense attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka can help. Our team has helped countless individuals who committed crimes as minors expunge their records so they can put their past behind them. We know that people make mistakes and firmly believe that everyone deserves a second chance. Don’t let your juvenile criminal record follow you around for the rest of your life. Contact the defense attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka for a free consultation on your Minnesota expungement case today!

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What Are the Minnesota Indecent Exposure Laws?

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Receiving any sort of criminal conviction can bring numerous consequences. Some criminal convictions, of course, are worse than others. And the worse the crime is, the more severe the consequences. Minnesota prosecutes sex crimes at several different levels that sometimes carry unique consequences. Notably, some sex offenses require a person to officially register as a sex offender. Because it is prosecuted as a sexual offense, anyone accused of indecent exposure in Minnesota should understand the rules and consequences surrounding it. If you are wondering, Is indecent exposure a felony? Or you may wonder what sort of public indecency penalty exists. Let the defense team at Arechigo & Stokka break down the rules and consequences surrounding indecent exposure in MN. What Is Indecent Exposure in Minnesota? When you think of indecent exposure, you might picture a streaker running onto a football field or someone at the beach without a top on.  But do these situations actually qualify as indecent exposure in Minnesota? To answer this question we need to look at Minnesota Statute 617.23 on indecent exposure. According to the statute, the state can prosecute someone for indecent exposure at three levels—misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felony. All three levels require that the act occurs either in a public place or a place where others are present. But please note that Minnesota cannot charge a breastfeeding woman with indecent exposure. The Indecent Exposure Statute Explained At its least severe level, Minnesota prosecutes indecent exposure as a misdemeanor. If the “public” requirement is met, there are three acts that qualify: Willfully and lewdly exposing one’s body or private parts; or Persuading or coercing another person to expose their own private parts; or Engaging in any open or gross lewdness or lascivious behavior, or any public indecency that does not specifically appear in this rule. The same three options also apply to indecent exposure when charged as a gross misdemeanor and as a felony. In those instances, however, there are additional qualifications. Indecent Exposure As a Gross Misdemeanor For the state to pursue an indecent exposure infraction as a gross misdemeanor, one’s actions must first occur in the presence of others and fulfill one of the three options noted in the previous paragraph. In addition, the individual must commit the act either: In the presence of a minor under 16 years of age; or Have a prior conviction for indecent exposure; or Have a prior conviction for another sexual offense. There are many other sexual offenses that Minnesota can charge an individual with. In fact, there are five lengthy Minnesota criminal sexual conduct statutes. Each of them qualifies as a sexual offense and will aggravate a misdemeanor indecent exposure charge to a gross misdemeanor if on one’s criminal record. The same applies to similar convictions from states other than Minnesota. Indecent Exposure As a Felony Finally, at its most severe level, Minnesota can prosecute indecent exposure as a felony. There are two routes to a felony indecent exposure charge. First, felony indecent exposure occurs when someone’s public actions meet any of the aforementioned qualifications in the presence of a minor and while having a prior conviction (or adjudication as a minor) for a sexual offense. Second, felony indecent exposure occurs when someone, publicly or around others, intentionally exposes their private parts to another while confining or otherwise restricting that person’s movement. The Importance of Intent Indecent exposure is often a tricky crime to prosecute. That is because an essential element of all indecent exposure charges is that the prosecution must demonstrate that someone intentionally exposed themselves. Depending on the circumstances, one’s intent can be difficult to establish. Many people’s actions meet the basic requirements for indecent exposure save for intent, so false accusations are not uncommon. For example, suppose the wind blows open someone’s robe while bringing their trash cans in from the curb. This may expose their body to others, but because it is unintentional it does not constitute indecent exposure. As it happens, lack of intent is one of the most common defenses against indecent exposure charges. Our Examples Now, let’s go back to the examples noted at the beginning of this section. We can see now that both of those actions would likely qualify as misdemeanor indecent exposure offenses. Someone not wearing a swimsuit at a public beach would expose their private parts to others on the beach without question. However, if their swimsuit fell off by accident, indecent exposure would not apply. Someone streaking across a football field would also meet the qualifications for an indecent exposure misdemeanor charge. The entire intention behind streaking at a sporting event is to expose one’s self in public. Finally, we should note that if minors under the age of 16 were present in either of these situations, the individual might face a gross misdemeanor indecent exposure charge.  Penalties for an Indecent Exposure Conviction in MN The penalties differ depending on what level the state prosecutes an indecent exposure charge. In general, one may face public indecency fines, jail time, or both, at the following levels: Misdemeanor: Up to 90 days in jail, up to $1,000 fine, or both; Gross Misdemeanor: Up to 365 days in jail, up to $3,000 fine, or both; or Felony: Sex offender registration, up to 5 years in prison, up to $10,000 fine, or both. Having to register as a sex offender can affect many aspects of your life. It can limit where the law allows you to live, to work, and who you can work with. One thing is clear from these penalties: Minnesota can severely punish those convicted of indecent exposure at any level. Are You Facing a Minnesota Indecent Exposure Accusation? A Minnesota indecent exposure charge can severely impact the trajectory of your life. If you face such an accusation, the best thing you can do is contact an experienced sex crime attorney to help you fight the charge. The defense attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka know how daunting these accusations can feel. With the help...

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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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