Keep Calm and Lawyer Up

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Perhaps the most important thing someone can remember to do when they find him or herself in the middle of a police encounter is to keep calm.   Getting into an argument with the police, no matter how right you may be, is not going to do any good.  The police will most likely describe you as being “uncooperative” or “combative.” Instead, keep calm and lawyer up.  Tell the officers that you would like to have your attorney present for any questioning.  After you have asserted your right to have an attorney present, the police cannot ask you anymore questions and the interrogation must end. Keep calm and lawyer up.

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How Long Can the Police Detain You?

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MOST PEOPLE WONDER HOW LONG CAN POLICE DETAIN YOU OR YOUR VEHICLE DURING A TRAFFIC STOP. The duration of the vehicle stop depends on the initial reason for the traffic stop and any other criminal suspicion that develops after the stop.   The Minnesota Supreme Court states that the duration of the vehicle stop must be temporary and cannot last any longer than is necessary to investigate the initial reason for the traffic stop.  However, there is no concrete time limit for a lawful length of a traffic stop. The police need to suspect other criminal activity separate from the reason for the initial traffic stop before they can continue to lawfully detain the vehicle beyond the time it would have taken to write a traffic citation.   Examples for Determining How Long Minnesota Police Can Detain You In determining how long can police detain you for failing to use a blinker while turning, the officer cannot approach the vehicle and ask the driver if there are drugs in the car.  That would be an unlawful expansion of the reason for the traffic stop.  The officer stopped the vehicle for not using a blinker, not because he suspected there were drugs in the car.  Before the officer can expand the duration of the traffic stop, he would need reason to believe there were drugs in the car.   If the officer thought he smelled marijuana in the vehicle then he could question the driver about having drugs.  In this situation, the officer could detain the driver as long as the officer acted to confirm his suspicions of drugs in the car.  How long police can detain you or your vehicle increases with each additional suspicion of criminal activity. THERE IS NO HARD-AND-FAST TIME LIMIT FOR A LAWFUL TRAFFIC STOP. The duration of the traffic stop will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding each individual traffic stop situation.  In one case, the Minnesota Supreme Court held a 61 minute traffic stop to be lawful under the circumstances. If you find yourself in the middle of a traffic stop, it is important to remember that you DO NOT have to answer any of the officer’s questions.  You have the absolute right to remain silent.  In most cases, it is in your best interests not to answer any questions.  Instead, simply tell the officer that you are not going to answer any questions without your Minnesota criminal defense lawyer present.   After that, call the St. Paul criminal defense lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka.  Our Minnesota criminal defense lawyers will advise you how to handle the situation and tell you what to say, if anything.  If you find yourself arrested or facing criminal charges following your traffic stop, our St. Paul criminal defense lawyers will investigate the reasons behind the initial traffic stop and the officer’s reasons for expanding the length of the stop.  If the officer unlawfully expanded the duration of your traffic stop, our St. Paul criminal defense lawyers will fight to have the evidence suppressed. Contact our Minnesota criminal defense lawyers today if you or someone you know recently faced an expanded traffic stop.

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Can Police Force You to Unlock Your Phone?

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Can Police Make You Use Your Fingerprint to Unlock Your Phone? Many newer smartphones allow owners to unlock their phone with the touch of their fingerprint. Smartphone manufacturers market the fingerprint lock as an advancement in security.  I would probably bet that a good number of people do not set a passcode lock on their phone because it’s annoying to have to enter a passcode to check your phone every ten minutes.  But, many more people probably would – and do – set up the fingerprint lock feature on their phone.  So, what’s the difference between a fingerprint and a passcode?  Well, when it comes to compelled police searches of your phone, the difference is enormous. Police Can Force You to Use Your Fingerprint to Unlock Your Phone Police can force iPhone – or any other smartphone equipped with fingerprint technology – users to unlock their iPhone if the iPhone is only secured by fingerprint security.  As long as the police have obtained a valid search warrant, they can command an iPhone owner to put her finger on the button and unlock the phone. Police Cannot Force You to Divulge Your Passcode to Unlock Your Phone If your iPhone is protected by a passcode, then the police cannot compel you to disclose the passcode for purposes of forcing you to unlock your phone.  It does not matter if they have secured a search warrant.  A search warrant cannot compel an iPhone owner to disclose the phone’s passcode.  The Fifth Amendment protects us from being forced by the government to provide evidence against ourselves.  This is the right against self-incrimination. Why the Legal Distinction Between A Fingerprint And A Passcode? Courts have drawn a legal line separating a fingerprint from a passcode.  Fingerprints are viewed as who we are rather than what we know.  A passcode is data stored in the brain, something we know.  Fingerprints, on the other hand (sorry, couldn’t resist), are much more accessible and make up our “biometric data.” This is a key distinction for purposes of compelled police searches.  Providing a passcode requires giving an oral statement to the police that potentially incriminates an individual.  Courts refer to this as a “testimonial statement.”  The Fifth Amendment gives us the right to remain silent and prevents the government from compelling a testimonial statement. Fingerprints are classified with DNA samples or voice samples.  This is not viewed as evidence you know; so, forcing you to put your finger on your iPhone is not the same as compelling a testimonial statement.  You’re not being forced to say something you know that potentially incriminates yourself. Moral of the story?  If you know you’re keeping potentially incriminating or unlawful information on your iPhone, best to lock it up with a passcode instead of a fingerprint. Schedule a Consultation With a Criminal Defense Lawyer Contact our criminal defense lawyers today for a free consultation.   Our criminal defense lawyers are licensed in Minnesota, North Dakota, and United States District Court.   If the police have unlawfully recovered evidence against you by illegally searching your iPhone, our criminal defense lawyers will fight to have the evidence suppressed.

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What is Domestic Assault Felony?

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What is Domestic Assault Felony? Domestic assault in Minnesota can be either a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or a felony. Felonies are much more serious charges, which usually result in greater fines and more time in jail or prison. Also, felons can lose their civil rights, such as the right to vote or possess a firearm. If you have been accused of any crime of domestic violence, please contact us today. We have extensive experience with felony domestic assault in Minnesota and can help defend you. What Is Felony Domestic Assault in Minnesota? Felony domestic assault is an aggravated version of misdemeanor domestic assault, so let’s start there. Misdemeanor domestic assault under is defined under Section 609.2242 as doing the following to a member of the family or household: Acting with the intent to cause another person to fear death or immediate bodily harm Intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily harm Members of family or household includes: Parents Children Spouses Former spouses Any blood relative Someone currently residing with the defendant or someone who has resided in the past Romantic or sexual partner Person the defendant is pregnant with or has already had a child with If this is a defendant’s first offense, then he or she will be charged with misdemeanor domestic assault. The charges get kicked up to a felony if this is the third or subsequent “qualified domestic violence-related offense” within a 10-year period. At that point, the defendant can be charged with a felony. You can also be charged with domestic felony assault if you strangled a person, even if this is your first domestic violence-related offense. What Counts as a Prior Qualified Domestic Violence-Related Offense? This is a broad category and includes the following: Violation of certain protective or restraining orders Murder (first or second degree) Assault Misdemeanor domestic violence assault Malicious punishment of a child Sending private sexual images without consent Female genital mutilation Terroristic threats or stalking Interference of emergency call Also, convictions of similar type offenses in other states will count. Two or more of any of these offenses in a 10-year period means you can be charged with domestic felony assault for your third offense. Punishment for Felony Domestic Assault in Minnesota A convicted felon faces the following punishments: Up to 5 years in state prison A fine of up to $10,000 Both Felons in Minnesota can also lose important civil rights. As an example, a felon cannot vote in Minnesota until he or she has completed their probation or prison sentence/parole. You will also lose your ability to lawfully possess a firearm and will be burdened with the stigma of a convicted felon. Contact Us Today If you have been accused of domestic felony assault, you need a passionate criminal defense attorney by your side. Contact Arechigo & Stokka today. We have helped many people accused obtain a favorable resolution, and we are anxious to help you in every way we can. We offer a free, confidential consultation.

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Domestic Assault Law in Minnesota

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Minnesota takes violence between family members very seriously, and the state has laws on the books to punish those who harm or threaten those they are close to. If you have been accused or arrested for domestic assault, you are looking at serious penalties, so you will need the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Arechigo & Stokka, our team has defended many people accused of domestic assault in Minnesota, and we can help you, too. Please reach out to a criminal defense attorney today to discuss your options. What is Domestic Assault? Domestic assault is essentially violence between family or household members and is different from assault between strangers. Minnesota’s domestic assault law is found at 609.2242, and states that domestic assault consists of: actions that cause (or were intended to cause) fear of imminent bodily harm or death intentional infliction (or attempts to inflict) bodily harm A family or household member is defined as: Spouse or former spouse Parent Children Blood relative Person who is residing in the home or with whom you have resided in the past A person you have a child with, regardless of whether you were ever married Romantic or sexual partner Man and woman if the woman is pregnant with the man’s child Under the law, a perpetrator does not have to physically touch the victim. Instead, waving a gun in the person’s face could qualify as an act “intended to cause fear.” Penalties for Domestic Assault in Minnesota Domestic assault is a misdemeanor offense that carries the following penalties: Up to 90 days in jail Fine of up to $1,000 Both A defendant can also lose their firearms if convicted. A judge will need to find that the defendant used a firearm in “any way” during the assault. If so, then the judge can order the defendant to forfeit the firearm for a specific amount of time. If the defendant has a previous domestic violence-related conviction within the past 10 years, then a subsequent conviction will be a gross misdemeanor, which carries up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $3,000. A third conviction in a 10-year period will qualify as a felony. Felonies carry punishment of up to 5 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both. Felons can also lose their civil rights, such as their right to vote while incarcerated or on parole. Protection Orders A family member might have gotten a protection order against you. If you violated the order at the same time as the assault, you are looking at additional penalties. For one thing, you can be immediately arrested by the police and held in jail subject to posting bond. You are also looking at a misdemeanor offense, including up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Criminal Defense Attorneys You Can Trust A domestic assault accusation is no small matter. Smart defendants will immediately meet with an attorney to review their case. At Arechigo & Stokka, we can help you understand your obligations under a protective order, and we can fight to get your domestic assault charge dismissed. Please contact us today for a free consultation.

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Supreme Court Limits Relief of Expungements in Minnesota

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The Minnesota Supreme Court has once again restricted the relief district courts are allowed to offer individuals seeking expungements in Minnesota. On May 22, 2013, the Court issued its decision in State v. M.D.T.  The Minnesota Supreme Court has taken the position that ordering agencies outside of the court system to seal their records of convictions is not a necessary judicial function inherent in the performance of a court’s duties.   If you were convicted of a crime in Minnesota, you may still be eligible to seek an expungement of the court records, but any records of that conviction maintained by agencies outside of the court system will likely remain open to the public. The Minnesota Court of Appeals issued a decision in the same case in 2012. There, the Court of Appeals held that district courts can use their inherent authority to seal the records held by executive agencies, such as police departments and the BCA, even in cases that resulted in convictions. However, the Supreme Court limited the reach of the Court of Appeals’ decision in its M.D.T. opinion. This means expungements in Minnesota may not offer the full relief people are seeking. At this point, it is going to be difficult if you wish to expunge all records that resulted from a criminal conviction in Minnesota. This doesn’t mean you can never get an expungement of criminal records kept by agencies outside of the court system. If criminal charges were filed but later dismissed, or if you were found not guilty after a trial, then you are still entitled to an expungement of all criminal records related to the charge(s), including any records kept by outside law enforcement agencies. The expungement relief offered in State v. R.H.B. still exists despite the Court’s ruling in M.D.T.   As noted in this site’s previous post, if criminal charges were dismissed or you were acquitted after trial, you are still presumed to be entitled to an expungement of all records maintained by the courts and outside law enforcement agencies. So, while Minnesota continues to offer a fairly significant amount of expungement relief, that relief has been reeled in a bit by the Court’s latest decision in M.D.T.  The exact expungement relief available will continue to depend on the facts and circumstances of each individual case. Contact Us Contact the Minnesota expungement lawyers at Arechigo and Stokka if you would like to discuss a possible expungement of criminal records. Our Minnesota expungement attorney will review the facts of your case and determine whether you qualify for expungements in Minnesota.

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Minnesota Passes New Revenge Porn Law

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As expected, Minnesota has passed a new revenge porn law. Minnesota will become the 33rd state to criminalize revenge porn. Lawmakers began debating a revenge porn law ever since the Court of Appeals declared Minnesota’s former criminal defamation law unconstitutional in our Turner case.  Lawmakers formed a revenge porn working group designed to gain input into what the new revenge porn law should look like.  Attorney John Arechigo was a member of the working group.  The new law takes effect August 1, 2016. NONCONSENSUAL DISSEMINATION OF PRIVATE SEXUAL IMAGES Minnesota’s new revenge porn law has been titled Nonconsensual Dissemination of Private Sexual Images. The law punishes anyone who intentionally disseminates a private sexual image of another. The law does not require the person disseminating the photo to actually know the other person did not consent to the dissemination. Rather, it’s enough if the circumstances show the person should have known the subject of the photo did not consent to the dissemination.   The law also does not require that the state prove the actor actually knew the subject had an expectation that the photo would remain private. The law makes a first-time offense without any aggravating circumstances a Gross Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES The act of disseminating private sexual images is treated as a felony punishable by up to three years in prison if there is sufficient proof of any of the following circumstances: the subject of the image suffered financial loss due to the dissemination the actor disseminated the image with an intent to profit off of the dissemination the actor maintained a website for the purpose of disseminating these types of images the actor posted the image on a website the actor disseminated the image with an intent to harass the subject the actor obtained the image through computer hacking the actor had previously been convicted of this offense. NEGLIGENCE VS. SPECIFIC INTENT The biggest question surrounding the new Minnesota revenge porn law is what’s referred to as the legal standard for punishment.  The nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images law punishes actors under a negligence standard in that it does not require proof that the actor acted with any sort of intent to harm the subject or intent to cause some level of emotional distress in disseminating the photos.  The law punishes the act of disseminating the images, regardless of the actor’s intent. Criminal laws typically require two elements before criminalizing conduct – the act itself and a level of criminal intent to commit the crime. Criminal laws typically do not punish innocent conduct, that is, conduct that may be a crime but the circumstances show the person did not act with the necessary level of intent to commit the crime.   This is essentially negligence. We usually do not criminalize negligence because there is not a sufficient level of criminal intent to actually commit the underlying criminal offense. Let’s use Theft as an example.  Theft requires proof that a person had property of another without the property owner’s permission and also had an intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession of the property. If the person possessing the property didn’t actually know they had the property, for example, then there clearly is no intent to permanently deprive the property owner of possession.  There is no guilty mind to punish. Minnesota’s new revenge porn law criminalizes negligence.  It does not require proof that the actor disseminated the images with any sort of underlying criminal intent.  This may very well turn out to be a fatal flaw in the law exposing it to a constitutional challenge. The new law also arguably encroaches on areas of free speech protected by the First Amendment.  Activists argue the law punishes conduct – the act of disseminating – and, therefore, does not encroach of free speech issues.  They argue the new revenge porn law essentially punishes conduct invading one’s privacy.  However, it is well established that distribution of photos, video, recordings, and other forms of media falls under the first amendment’s protection.   Expressive conduct – that is, behavior that combines some sort of conduct with a level of speech – can be protected by the first amendment.  Laws that punish the content of speech walk a fine line in terms of their constitutionality.  It will be interesting to find out how Minnesota courts will view the new revenge porn law.   Courts may very well find that the new law punishes speech.  If that is indeed the finding reached by a court, the state may have a hard time arguing the law is constitutional. EXPERIENCED MINNESOTA CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS Minnesota’s non-consensual dissemination of private sexual images is a new law.  It will take time for the courts to adapt and get a handle on the law.  We previously successfully challenged the constitutionality of the prior law punishing revenge porn.  The new law may have a number of constitutional shortcomings, as well.  Working with the legislative working group gives us the inside knowledge needed to challenge this law. CONTACT US If you are facing a charge under the new revenge porn law, please contact us to schedule a free consultation.

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Can You Go to Jail for Accidentally Killing Someone with Your Car?

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Yes, it is possible. Minnesota has a criminal vehicular homicide statute that criminalizes the accidental killing of someone in a grossly negligent manner or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This statute does not cover every accidental killing but will certainly apply to someone who was drunk or high or who was severely negligent. Penalties are very severe, as you would expect when someone dies. Atour firm, we defend these cases aggressively, but it is important that you understand the details of the law. Minnesota’s Vehicular Homicide Law You can find the statute atSection 609.2112. It defines criminal vehicular homicide as killing someone while operating a motor vehicle when one of the following aggravating factors applies: You operated the vehicle with gross negligence You operated the vehicle negligently while under the influence of drugs or a controlled substance You had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher You left the scene of an accident that you caused Your accident was caused by a defect in the vehicle and a peace officer had previously issued a citation or warning for defective maintenance These are basically the 5 bases that warrant a criminal vehicular homicide charge. Let’s look at some of them more closely. Gross Negligence Gross negligence is more serious than simple carelessness. For example, anyone could forget to check their rearview mirrors before backing up in a parking lot, which causes them to accidentally run someone over. This type of mistake, though, probably doesn’t qualify as gross negligence. Instead, gross negligence requires more blameworthy conduct. Generally, any action that a driver should know would cause a high risk of injury would qualify, such as running someone off the road by following too closely or dangerously trying to pass someone who is in a crosswalk. Impairment by Drugs or Alcohol There are several ways to qualify as sufficiently impaired. First, if you blow too high a number on a breathalyzer, then you are impaired for purposes of this statute. However, you can also qualify as impaired even if your BAC is under 0.08. The law covers situations where motorists operate a vehicle “negligently” while having some drugs or alcohol in their system. So, if you accidentally back up over someone after ingesting cocaine or heroin or drinking a beer, you could be charged with vehicular homicide. Leaving the Scene of an Accident If you caused an accident, you need to stop and render reasonable assistance. If you fail to, and the victim dies, you can be charged with criminal vehicular homicide. Can You Go to Jail for Accidentally Killing Someone in a Car Accident? Yes. In fact, you face a presumption of going to prison for 48 months if you are convicted of criminal vehicular homicide. If you are convicted of criminal vehicular homicide, you can face the following additional penalties: Up to 10 years in prison A fine up to $20,000 Both If you have a recent qualifying driving offense, the maximum imprisonment could be 15 years. Of course, not everyone convicted ends up in jail. A lot will depend on your criminal history. An aggressive criminal defense attorney can present your case to a judge in a way that helps get the most lenient sentence possible. Avoid Delay – Contact Us Arechigo & Stokka is a leading Minnesota criminal defense law firm that has tackled vehicular homicide cases. We will fight to get the most favorable resolution to your case, whether that is a dismissal, plea deal, or acquittal at trial. Contact ustoday to find out more. You can schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

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Drug & Narcotics

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Twin Cities Defense Lawyers Handling Drug & Narcotic Charges in Minnesota and North Dakota Being arrested for drug crimes in Minnesota can land you in a difficult spot. If you’re convicted, you could face hefty fines, extensive prison time, and other penalties including forfeiture of vehicles, cash, or other personal property. Plus, the lasting effect of a public drug crime conviction are consequences that could affect your life long after you’ve served your sentence. The best way to avoid these implications is to mount a solid strategy to defend your interests, which starts with retaining a drug attorney in MN who focuses on these types of cases. Our lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka, P.A. have successfully helped a number of clients facing serious drug charges avoid severe penalties. Our drug crime lawyers have kept clients out of prison & have successfully fought to recover clients’ vehicles & cash.  You should always remember how criminal cases work: you’re innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and there are defenses to drug charges. We can explore legal options after reviewing the details of your case, so please contact our St. Paul, MN office to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Minnesota drug attorney. You can also read on for some important information about these criminal proceedings. Types of Drug Crimes To understand how drug offenses work in Minnesota, you should realize the forms of conduct that are prohibited by drug laws. Under the statute on drugs and controlled substances, there are three types of acts that could lead to an arrest, including: Possession: This offense refers to having a controlled substance on your person, or otherwise within your control. Possession could be through a pocket, on your person, in parts of your vehicle, and in your home. In addition, you could be arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, including pipes, baggies, bongs, vape pens, and other items used to consume controlled substances. Manufacturing: Any act related to producing controlled substances is prohibited. This may include manufacturing, growing plants, storage, weighing, packaging, and any other conduct that relates to the manufacturing process. Trafficking: This type of drug offense pertains to business transactions surrounding the transfer of controlled substances to other individuals. Buying, selling, transporting, and related acts are prohibited, regardless of whether you were exchange money or some other item of value. From these descriptions, you can see that all three forms of drug crimes are defined very broadly under Minnesota law. Plus, there may be some overlap among them, potentially leading to more serious charges or multiple counts. Due to these complications, having skilled legal representation is critical to defending the charges. Different Degrees of Drug Charges in Minnesota Beyond the forms of conduct that’s prohibited by state law, there are also different degrees of offenses. The severity of the charges depends upon the type of drug and the amount. Minnesota uses a schedule of controlled substances, separating different drugs into five categories according to their accepted medical usage, risk of leading to addiction, and other factors. In general, the degree of the crime is a product of: Its listing on the Schedule of Controlled Substances ranging from I to V, with I as the most dangerous; The amount of the drug, by weight; and, What you were doing with the controlled substance, i.e., possessing, manufacturing, or trafficking. Specifically, the five degrees of drug charges in Minnesota are: Fifth Degree: Though it’s the least serious offense, you could still face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted for Fifth Degree drug crimes. This category includes possession of any amount of drugs on Schedule I through IV. Fourth Degree: A conviction for this offense classification could include incarceration up to 15 years, plus a maximum fine of $100,000. Sales and possession with intent to sell both fall in this category. Third Degree: The penalties increase to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for an offense in the Third Degree. These crimes typically involve higher amounts of Schedule I and II drugs. Second Degree: If convicted, you face up to 25 years incarceration and a $500,000 fine. Many of these offenses are based upon where the sales transaction took place, such as a school, park, or public housing zone. First Degree: You could be charged with this highest degree of criminal drug activity for larger amounts of the most dangerous drugs. For a conviction, a judge may sentence up to 30 years in prison, plus a $1 million fine. Do’s and Don’ts After an Arrest for Drug Crimes in Minnesota In the chaos of an arrest, you’ll have many questions about what to do and not do to protect yourself. The first task is to retain an attorney for drug charges, so request to speak with your lawyer right away. In addition, a few tips in the immediate aftermath of an arrest include: Do Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent: It’s critical that you avoid making any statements to arresting officers, even if you just want to express your innocence. Anything you say could harm your case, so exercise this very important constitutional right. Don’t Resist or Fight Police: Never try to avoid an arrest by interfering with officers’ efforts. Save this fight for later, in court, with your attorney. You could face additional charges if you resist or cause bodily harm. Do Refuse a Search of Your Home: If police arrive at your home or business to charge you, step outside the door and allow them to make the arrest. Never consent to a warrantless search, which could turn up additional evidence against you. Don’t Fall for Police Interrogation Tactics: Police may use tricks to get you to talk, perhaps by promising leniency, playing “good cop-bad cop,” or other tactics. It’s also common for narcotics investigators to promise your case will go away if you simply cooperate and either “give up your sources” or participate in a controlled by.  Please know the...

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I Was Arrested for DWI. Now What?

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What to Expect After a DWI Arrest in Minnesota When Is a Driver Arrested for DWI Released? On the night / day of your DWI, someone who has been arrested for DWI will typically be processed and then released to a sober person, so long as it’s your first DWI offense and your BAC test result was under .16.  If your BAC test result is over .16 when you were arrested, or if this is your second or third DWI arrest within the last ten years,  you will likely be held in jail and brought before a judge within a day or two. How Long Will I Lose My License? There are four different scenarios for how long you will lose your license: If this is your first DWI charge, you are over 21, your BAC test result was under .16, and you have no aggravating factors (such as a child in the car), your license will be revoked for 90 day If this is your first DWI arrest and your BAC test result was .16 or above, or you refused to take the breath test at the police station, your license will be revoked for 1 year. If you have had a prior impaired driving conviction within the last 10 years, and your BAC test result was .16 or above, or you refused the test, your license will be revoked for 2 years. If you have had four or more convictions, or you are otherwise considered a threat to public safety, your license can be canceled indefinitely. What About Going to Work or School?  Options for Continuing to Drive There are basically two options for someone convicted of a DWI to be able to get back behind the wheel. Restricted license or “work permit.” This permit only allows you to drive to very specific places; work, school, AA meetings or treatment and that’s about it.  Restricted licenses in Minnesota can be difficult to obtain, especially because of the availability of the second option… Ignition Interlock.  Commonly referred to as the “blow-and-go,” this is a device that is installed in your car that requires a breath test to start the car.  The service requires both an installation and monthly maintenance fee.  However, you can drive without restrictions, provided you pass the required breath test, once the ignition Interlock system is installed. Effects on Insurance Premium You will very likely face higher insurance premiums after being convicted of a DWI.  The timing of this can be fairly unpredictable, especially if you pay for your auto-insurance on a 6 month renewal as many drivers do.  You may want to shop around for insurance after a DWI conviction as there is a fairly wide range of how much a DWI on your record will affect your rates from company to company. Costs of Ignition Interlock System While using an ignition interlock system will allow you to get back to driving sooner, there are costs involved.  The installation of the system typically costs about $150 and the monthly monitoring can range from $60 to $150 per month, depending on the vendor. Talk to a Lawyer For Free If you have been arrested for a DWI in Minnesota, it can be hard to know how to take the first step.  What’s important to remember is that just because you were drinking and drove a car does not automatically mean you are guilty.  Every case is unique, which is why we offer a free initial consultation to review how Minnesota law applies to your situation and your options for moving forward. We offer free consultations for all criminal defense cases.  We’re licensed in both state and federal courts in Minnesota and North Dakota.   Give us a call to schedule your free case review.

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