Aiding and AbettingーLaws and Remedies

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Minnesota defines some behavior as criminal if it serves to help someone else commit a crime or if it obstructs the State’s efforts to bring an alleged offender to justice. The penalties for rendering such assistance can be severe. Under some circumstances, the State will punish you just as harshly as it would have if you had committed the underlying crime yourself.   Aiding and Abetting in Minnesota The police can charge you with aiding and abetting in Minnesota if you help, advise, hire, counsel, conspire with, or otherwise cause someone else to commit a crime. If you do any of these things, you are just as liable as the actual offender, and you might receive the same sentence. Abandonment of Criminal Purpose If you commit acts that amount to aiding and abetting, you may be able to avoid prosecution. To escape prosecution, you must abandon your criminal purpose and make a reasonably positive effort to prevent the crime.  Notifying the police, for example, might constitute a reasonable effort to stop the crime. If you abandon your criminal purpose and try to prevent the crime, Minnesota will not hold you criminally liable even if your efforts to stop the crime fail. Aiding an Offender Under Minnesota Statutes 609.495 (“Aiding an Offender”), the State can charge you with a crime for harboring, concealing, aiding, or assisting someone who you know (or should know) is guilty of committing a crime. You must act with the intention of helping the perpetrator avoid arrest, trial, conviction, or punishment.  Minnesota can also charge you for assisting, concealing, or aiding someone on parole, probation, or supervised release for a felony, if the State has issued an arrest warrant for that individual. The maximum penalty for either of these two offenses is three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. Obstructing an Investigation Minnesota can charge you with another form of “aiding an offender” if you intentionally assist someone in evading justice after you know (or should know) that they committed a crime. Such assistance can come in several different forms, including: Destroying evidence; Hiding evidence;  Providing false or misleading information about the crime; or Other forms of assistance. The maximum penalty for aiding an offender is half of the maximum prison sentence and half of the maximum fine that the original offender might receive.  Criminal Prosecutions Move Quickly. Take Immediate Action! If the police have arrested you on an “aiding and abetting” or “aiding an offender” charge, get in touch with Arechigo & Stokka immediately. We understand the Minnesota criminal justice system from the inside out, and we enjoy working relationships with local judges and prosecutors.  We promise you aggressive, committed, and intelligent representation. Contact us online or call us at 651-401-7926 to schedule a consultation. We serve clients throughout Minneapolis, St. Paul, Dakota County, and Washington County.

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Is Soliciting a Prostitute a Felony in Minnesota?

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You may feel embarrassed to be caught soliciting a prostitute, but should you worry about the legal consequences? In many cases, you could face significant fines and time behind bars. Here, we’ll discuss the criminal penalties you may encounter for soliciting a prostitute in Minnesota. What Is Solicitation of a Prostitute? Solicitation of a prostitute occurs when you hire, offer to hire, or agree to hire another individual to engage in sexual penetration or sexual contact. Minnesota law defines sexual contact broadly as:  The intentional touching by an individual of a prostitute’s intimate parts; or The intentional touching by a prostitute of another individual’s intimate parts. Minnesota recently increased penalties for sex crimes. Even if you didn’t engage in any sexual contact, the very act of soliciting sex could lead to serious criminal penalties.  Solicitation Charges in St. Paul, Minnesota Soliciting a prostitute can be classified as a gross misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the circumstances.  Is Soliciting a Prostitute a Misdemeanor in MN? Soliciting a prostitute is usually a gross misdemeanor, which carries the following penalties: Up to 90 days in jail; and Up to a $1,500 fine. The court may choose to substitute community service for a fine if paying the fine would cause undue hardship. If you have been previously convicted of a sex crime, penalties for a repeat offense increase to: Up to five years in prison, and A fine of up to $10,000. The courts aren’t inclined to show leniency to repeat offenders, so if you are in this situation, you need a skilled attorney. Is Soliciting a Prostitute a Felony in MN? In some cases, a soliciting a prostitute charge is a felony offense. This happens when you solicit a minor (someone under age 18). The younger the child, the more serious penalties you face. Soliciting a minor carries the following penalties: Up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $40,000 for soliciting a child under age 14; Up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000 for soliciting a child ages 14-15; or Up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for soliciting a child ages 16-17. In addition, police may confiscate your car if you use it to solicit a prostitute. Similarly, police can confiscate your personal property used to solicit a prostitute, including your cell phone, computer, or money. The offense will also become a permanent part of your driving record. An offense like this on your record can negatively affect your ability to get a job or find desirable housing in Minnesota. Contact an Experienced St. Paul, MN Criminal Defense Attorney If you have been charged with soliciting a prostitute, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney. The penalties for soliciting a prostitute are too severe for you to try to handle on your own. At Arechigo & Stokka, our attorneys have spent decades assisting clients who have criminal charges. We have the experience to know what defenses can work in your case and the dedication to provide you with personalized representation. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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How to Calculate a Criminal History Score in Minnesota

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When you face prosecution for a crime in Minnesota, you usually worry about potential penalties. A good criminal defense attorney will explain the range of penalties and attempt to get your charges reduced or dismissed. However, the criminal process of determining whether the punishment fits the crime does not seem as straightforward as you might think. Do you know that your criminal history can impact the penalties you receive for a new charge? Minnesota uses a complex system to calculate your criminal history score. The Minnesota Sentencing Commission developed the system to help promote fairness and reduce the possibility of bias in sentencing. Here, we will explain the criminal history points system in Minnesota and how it can determine the penalty for a criminal charge in St Paul, MN. Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Minnesota sentencing guidelines take the defendant’s criminal history and the severity of the crime into account when calculating the sentence. While the severity of the alleged crime has the most impact on sentencing guidelines, criminal history also influences the penalty range. The judge can slightly vary the presumptive sentence if there are other factors to consider. To determine your criminal history score, the sentencing guidelines take several factors into account: Prior felonies; Custody status at the time of the offense; Prior misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors; and Prior juvenile offenses. For previous convictions, the severity levels of those crimes also factor into the equation.  Felony Point System in MN Prior felonies receive from half a point to two points on the MN felony point grid, depending on the crime. Sex offenses receive up to three points. If an offender receives multiple sentences for one crime, the court calculates only the highest-ranked felony in the criminal history points. If a prior crime involved multiple victims, the highest two ranking felonies would go into the score. Also, if you were charged with a felony in the past but enough time has passed that the prior conviction has expired, no points will be assessed for it. Timing also matters. The felony point system in MN only counts prior crimes that happened within a certain timeframe. If more than 15 years have elapsed since the previous sentence expired, the felony does not count towards the criminal history score. Add points for all felonies together, and if the total results in a partial number, like 5.5 points, round down. Misdemeanor and Gross Misdemeanor Point System Misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors count for fewer points than felonies. Each misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor conviction counts only for a unit. It takes four units to equal one point for criminal history score purposes. Custody Status Defendants in some form of custody or supervised release at the time of the current offense have more points added to their score. Custody status includes situations such as parole, probation, and supervised release. If you commit the current crime after a jail or prison escape, you will also have points added to your score. Also, if you don’t register as a sex offender when required, this will increase your custody status score. Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in St. Paul, MN As you can see, calculating your criminal history score involves following complex guidelines. If you have been charged with a crime, you need an experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney who can help calculate your score and present your best defense. At Arechigo & Stokka, we have defended hundreds of people against criminal charges. We will use our legal skills and decades of experience to make every effort to get your charges reduced or dismissed. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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Minnesota Revenge Porn: Sex Revenge Porn Laws

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Minnesota revenge porn laws have gotten lots of news coverage. We battled a revenge porn case that spanned years. The Minnesota Supreme Court recently declared that the state’s laws are not unconstitutional. So what are Minnesota revenge porn laws? And what can you do if you’ve been charged with the crime? What Is Revenge Porn? If you casually share an explicit image, even with no negative intent, you could receive revenge porn charges. Minnesota law defines the crime of revenge porn as intentionally disseminating an image of another person who is depicted in a sexual act or whose intimate parts are exposed, in whole or in part, when: The person is identifiable; The actor knows or reasonably should know that the person depicted in the image does not consent to the dissemination; and You obtained the image under circumstances when you knew or reasonably should have known the person depicted had a reasonable expectation of privacy. To define revenge porn, sex revenge porn laws clarify that the person in the photo can be identifiable from the image itself or by someone who looks at the image and identifies the person. This means that even if you can’t see the person’s face, any other identifying information—including text that might be included in the photo—makes the photo “identifiable” under Minnesota law. What Are the Penalties for Revenge Porn? Revenge porn laws in MN classify revenge porn as a gross misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the explicit sharing. Gross Misdemeanor Revenge Porn Revenge porn is often classified as a gross misdemeanor, with the following penalties: Up to a $3,000 fine; and  Up to a year in jail. Even this baseline revenge porn charge for the unlawful dissemination of an image can cost you significantly and damage your reputation. Felony Revenge Porn Sometimes, sharing explicit images becomes a felony. These factors upgrade revenge porn to a felony: The person experiences financial loss because of the photos; Images of the photo are posted online; Images of the photo are disseminated with the intent to harass the person; There’s an intent to profit from the dissemination of the photos; The photos are disseminated while committing another crime, such as theft; or The current offense is for a second or subsequent revenge porn offense. A theft charge could result when you send photos from the person’s phone or computer without authorization. This simple act could land you with a felony conviction. The statute defines harassment as any behavior that has a substantial adverse effect on the safety, security, or privacy of a reasonable person. This broad definition means that almost anyone could claim a violation of privacy when they see their intimate photos online. Felony revenge porn brings the following penalties: Up to a $5,000 fine; and Up to three years in prison. It doesn’t matter if the person consented to the photos; you can be charged if you share them with anyone, even without posting them online. Do You Need an Attorney? If you’ve been charged with Minnesota revenge porn, you need an attorney. One click of a keyboard can bring severe consequences, landing you in prison for years. Our criminal defense attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka have fought Minnesota revenge porn laws in courts, advocated for changes with the legislature, and received media recognition as some of the state’s leading authorities on revenge porn defense. We give every client personalized, skilled defense and will do our best to get your charges reduced or dismissed. Contact us today for a free consultation on your revenge porn charges.

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What Are the Minnesota DWI Laws?

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Car accidents involving the use of alcohol and drugs claim the lives of thousands every year. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, 72 individuals died in Minnesota car accidents involving drunk drivers in 2017. In addition, 2,389 people suffered injuries in alcohol-related car accidents. In an attempt to lower these numbers, Minnesota imposes serious penalties on drivers convicted of driving while impaired. If you’re accused of driving over the legal limit in MN, it is crucial that you hire a Minnesota DWI attorney to defend you against the charges. Otherwise, you could face very harsh penalties. Contact our office today to start with your free consultation. What Is Driving While Impaired? Minnesota Statutes Section 169A.20 prohibits motorists from driving, operating, or being in physical control of any motor vehicle while: Under the influence of alcohol; Under the influence of a controlled substance; Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more; Under the influence of an intoxicating substance that the person knows or has reason to know can cause impairment; Under the influence of any combination of two or more intoxicating substances; or Having BAC of 0.04 or more, if the vehicle is a commercial vehicle. While some states refer to these prohibitions as DUI laws, in MN they’re referred to as DWI laws. Additionally, Minnesota motorists commit an additional crime if they refuse to submit to a chemical test of their breath without a warrant, or a blood or urine test if police secured a search warrant. Consequences of DWI Convictions in Minnesota The criminal and administrative penalties for a DWI conviction in Minnesota depend on a number of factors, including: Your prior alcohol-related convictions; Your BAC level at the time of your arrest; and Whether any aggravating factors apply. Though prior DWI convictions enhance the penalties, only DWI convictions from the last 10 years are eligible. The potential penalties available in DUI convictions are described in more detail below. First Offense DWI First-time DWI offenders receive a misdemeanor conviction under Minnesota law. The misdemeanor carries the potential of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of $1,000. Additionally, the state suspends your driver’s license for a period of 90 days. If you plead guilty to DWI, the state reduces the suspension to 30 days. Certain factors can enhance even a first-time DWI conviction. These factors include: BAC at or above 0.16; Having a child in the car; or Both. If you commit these violations, you receive a gross misdemeanor. Gross misdemeanors carry the potential of up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. If your BAC was at or above 0.16, the state will suspend your license for one year without an option to shorten the period. Additionally, the state will impound your plates. Second Offense DWI Second-time DWI offenders receive a gross misdemeanor charge. Gross misdemeanors carry the potential of up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. Second-time DWI offenses carry a mandatory 30-day jail sentence. A second DWI conviction automatically results in either losing your license for an entire year or getting an ignition interlock restricted driver’s license. The state will also impound your plates. If your BAC was at or above 0.16, or you had a child in the car, the conviction still amounts to a gross misdemeanor. However, the license suspension/ignition interlock restricted license period extends to two years instead of just one. Additionally, the court will impound your plates and attempt to forfeit your vehicle. Third Offense DWI A third DWI qualifies as a gross misdemeanor as well, but convictions result in a 90-day mandatory jail sentence and harsher administrative penalties. After a third DWI, the state will cancel your driver’s license entirely. You can obtain an ignition interlock restricted driver’s license for one year once you enroll in drug/alcohol treatment. Upon completion of treatment, you can reinstate your normal driver’s license after two years. The state will also impound your license plates and forfeit your vehicle at the time of your conviction. Fourth Offense DWI A fourth DWI in a ten-year period qualifies as a felony. A felony DWI carries a mandatory 180 day sin jail and the potential of up to seven years in prison in addition to a fine of up to $14,000. Additionally, the state will cancel your driver’s license entirely. You can obtain an ignition interlock restricted driver’s license for one year once you enroll in drug/alcohol treatment. Upon completion of treatment, you can reinstate your normal driver’s license after two years. The state will also impound your license plates and forfeit your vehicle at the time of your conviction. Accused of Driving Over the Legal Limit in MN? Contact a DUI Attorney Today DWI convictions can result in serious criminal penalties. However, they can impact your life in other ways too. In fact, it can limit your job opportunities and increase the price of your car insurance premium. In some cases, issues exist that hurt the prosecutor’s chance of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. When this occurs, it’s vital that you have a DWI defense attorney on your side to advocate for having your charges lessened or dismissed entirely. Additionally, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can walk you through the process of your criminal case and answer any questions you have along the way.  The Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka has experience representing criminal defendants facing a wide variety of criminal charges. In fact, Attorney John T. Arechigo dedicates his entire practice to representing individuals charged with criminal violations. Contact us today so we can get started reviewing your case.

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Minnesota Criminal Process: An Overview

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Seek Advice from an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer to Help You Get Through This Complicated Process The Minnesota criminal justice system can be complicated. It can also be intimidating. You may hear words you are unfamiliar with that leave you wondering things like, What is an omnibus hearing in Minnesota? Learning more about the process can help take some of the stress off of you.  An experienced Minnesota criminal defense lawyer like John Arechigo from Arechigo & Stokka will help you get through the system. No defense attorney can promise a particular result in any case. However, you can rely on John’s extensive knowledge and experience to put you in a position to get the best results possible.  What Happens After an Arrest in Minnesota? There are two ways you get called into court in Minnesota for a crime. The first is an arrest. Whether the police arrest you with or without a warrant, they will bring you to jail for booking and fingerprinting. The law mandates that you must appear before a judge within 36 hours of your arrest. If your charge is a misdemeanor and you don’t go before the judge within 36 hours, you might get off with just a citation, or you could be released and charged at a later date. Otherwise, you go to court for your first appearance to address your release from custody. The other way the law gets people into court is through a summons. The court can issue you a summons and complaint. The summons specifies the date and time you have to go to court. If you don’t go when instructed, the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest based on your failure to appear.  What Is the First Appearance? The first appearance is an important step in the Minnesota criminal justice system. At this initial hearing, the judge will inform you of your rights. These rights are found in Rule 5 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure and include: The right to remain silent and not talk to police; A warning that anything you say can and will be used against you in later court proceedings; The right to a lawyer, including the right for a lawyer to appear if police put you in a lineup; The right to talk with your lawyer about your case; and The right to a trial by jury, or the right to waive a jury and have a judge decide your case. Also, the judge must ensure that you have a copy of your complaint and inform you of all of the charges pending against you. The judge also addresses your jail status at the first appearance. The judge will set an amount of bail that enables you to be released pending the resolution of your case. To be released, you will have to get someone to post the bond amount either alone or through the use of a bail bondsman. In some cases, the judge may release you on your own recognizance, which means that you don’t have to post any money to get out of jail. Whether you are let out with or without bail, the judge typically sets conditions of release that ensure you will come back to court to answer for your charges. Conditions will depend on the specifics of the charged case and can include not having contact with certain people, or not using alcohol or controlled substances. What Is an Omnibus Hearing? Rule 11 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure says exactly what an omnibus hearing is in MN. An omnibus hearing is also called a pretrial hearing or pretrial conference. In short, at an omnibus hearing, the court addresses several issues depending on the charges before the court.  At an omnibus hearing, the judge considers all motions filed by either party related to: Probable cause; Evidentiary questions; Exchange of discovery; Admissibility of prior bad acts of the accused; Admissibility of prior sexual conduct, if applicable; Issues of Constitutional rights; Admissibility of relationship evidence, if applicable; Procedural problems;  Aggravated sentencing considerations; and Any other issue that the court must resolve to ensure a fair trial. The defendant can waive the omnibus hearing. However, it is advisable to hold the hearing so that you can better understand the prosecutor’s position on your case. You can also get a preview of the evidence.  When Does the Court Hold an Omnibus Hearing? The court holds an omnibus hearing in felony and gross misdemeanor cases if the defendant did not enter a guilty plea at the first appearance. The court will start the omnibus hearing within 42 days of your first appearance. However, the court could start it within 28 days if you had a second appearance before the court, or if you otherwise demanded a speedy omnibus hearing. The court must hold the omnibus hearing in the district where the police allege the crime occurred.  The Probable Cause Determination One of the most important functions of a judge at the omnibus hearing is to decide if probable cause exists to go forward with the case. The prosecutor can call witnesses to testify. The defense has a right to call witnesses and cross-examine them as well. The judge can also take reliable hearsay evidence as part of the probable cause determination.  Keep in mind that probable cause is a low standard of proof. According to Rule 11, the judge has to decide if there is enough evidence to provide probable cause that the defendant committed a crime. The judge should look at the fairness of sending a person to trial based on the evidence the prosecutor has.  The judge can dismiss a criminal complaint for lack of probable cause. However, the judge has no authority to dismiss an indictment for lack of probable cause under Rule 11. Other Issues Decided at the Omnibus Hearing The omnibus hearing is a tool for streamlining the case. The purpose of this hearing is to resolve motions and case issues early, in...

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What Are the Degrees of Assault in Minnesota?

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Experienced Minnesota Defense Lawyers Explain the Types of Assault in Minnesota The crime of assault covers a large category of offenses. They are all serious crimes. You could go to jail and have to pay large fines no matter what degree of assault in Minnesota you face. Also, convictions for all types of assault have other consequences that can impact your daily life. Facing assault charges in Minnesota can be frightening. What should you do if you get charged for any degree of assault in MN? You need help from an experienced Minnesota defense lawyer. Criminal defense lawyer John Arechigo of Arechigo & Stokka has a well-earned reputation as a tenacious attorney. He will fight aggressively to protect your rights and get you the best possible outcome for your case. Degrees of Assault in Minnesota Before we discuss the degrees of assault in Minnesota, we should define the term assault. Minnesota statutes define assault as either: Any act committed with the intent to cause another person fear of immediate bodily harm or death; or Any intentional act that inflicts or attempts to inflict various degrees of bodily harm on someone else. In Minnesota, assault combines the concept of battery as well.  Assault in the First Degree Whoever assaults another and inflicts great bodily harm can be charged with First Degree Assault. “Great bodily harm” means bodily injury which creates a high probability of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily harm. A person convicted of First Degree Assault may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 20 years or to payment of a fine of not more than $30,000, or both. Using or attempting to use deadly force against a peace officer, prosecutor, judge, or correctional employee while they are in the line of duty also constitutes assault in the first degree. This is the most serious assault offense on the books. The penalty is a minimum mandatory 10-year prison sentence. The maximum prison sentence is 20 years. The law does not allow you to get out of prison until you serve your entire sentence, so once you’re sentenced, there is no parole or early release. The judge can also impose a fine of up to $30,000. The prosecutor has to prove you used deadly force to convict you of assault in the first degree. What does deadly force mean? Under Minnesota state law, force becomes deadly when the person intends to cause—or knows that the act creates a substantial risk of—death or great bodily harm.  Assault in the Second Degree Assault in the second degree is assault with a dangerous weapon. The penalty you face depends on the severity of the victim’s injuries. Assault with a dangerous weapon carries a prison term of up to seven years. There is a maximum $14,000 fine as well.  The maximum penalty becomes 10 years, and the fine increases to a maximum of $20,000 if the attacker inflicted substantial bodily harm to the victim with a dangerous weapon. In this case, substantial bodily harm means the fracture of a body part, temporary or substantial loss or impairment to a bodily function or organ, or an injury resulting in temporary but substantial disfigurement.  What makes a weapon dangerous? Moreover, any device designed to cause death or great bodily harm can be a dangerous weapon. A firearm, even unloaded, is a dangerous weapon. And ordinary items like a kitchen knife can become a dangerous weapon if someone uses it in a way that could kill or cause great bodily harm.  Assault in the Third Degree An assault that leads to substantial bodily harm is assault in the third degree. The penalty for assault in the third degree is no more than five years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. Assault in the third degree also applies to assaulting a minor. To prove the case, the prosecutor has to prove a pattern of child abuse, but there is no requirement of substantial bodily injury.     Assault in the third degree also applies when someone assaults a victim under four years of age and causes bodily injury to the child’s head, eyes, or neck, or inflicts multiple bruises.  Assault in the Fourth Degree Assault in the fourth degree can be charged as a gross misdemeanor or a felony. A gross misdemeanor is a kind of middle ground that is more serious than a regular misdemeanor, but not as serious as a felony. Assault in the fourth degree is a gross misdemeanor when a person assaults another in the performance of their duties as a public servant. Examples of public servants protected by this law are: Peace officers; Department of Natural Resource employees; School officials; Public employees with certain duties; Community crime prevention members; Vulnerable adults; Reserve officers;  Utility and postal workers; and Transit operators.  The maximum penalty is one year in prison and a fine of $3,000. However, assault in the fourth degree becomes a felony in some circumstances. For instance, inflicting demonstrable bodily harm or transferring or throwing bodily fluids on another person in the line of duty is a felony. Felony assault in the fourth degree carries up to three years in prison, and a fine of up to $6,000.  Assault in the Fifth Degree Assault in the fifth degree is also known as simple assault. Simple assault is a misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of up to 90 days. Simple assault becomes a gross misdemeanor if the accused has a prior conviction within the last 10 years for a domestic assault on the same victim. Committing a second domestic assault within three years is also a gross misdemeanor.   Committing three domestic assaults within ten years on the same victim or in three years on any victim is a felony.  The punishment for felony assault in the fifth degree is five years in prison and a fine of up...

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2nd Degree Drug Crimes – Penalties and Remedies

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

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Is Sexual Assault a Felony or Misdemeanor in Minnesota?

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

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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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