Can You Get a DUI on a Bike in MN?

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Is it Possible to Get a DUI on a Bike in MN? In Minnesota, you will not violate any DUI laws by riding a bike under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as long as the bicycle is purely human-powered. Our state laws only care whether you operate a motorized vehicle while intoxicated. However, as motorized bikes become more popular, bicycle DUIs are on the rise. Riding a gas or electric-powered bike with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or above could land you behind bars. In fact, you could face the same severe penalties that you would if you drove your car while intoxicated. This includes fines, driver license suspension, and possible jail time. With the help of a DUI lawyer in Minnesota, you can possibly reduce or eliminate charges. Contact our criminal defense attorneys for a complimentary consultation. Consequences of Driving a Bike While Impaired Even if your bike is pedal-powered, you can get into trouble if you drink or do drugs before a ride. Drugs and alcohol impair your reflexes and your concentration. You might: Have an accident with a pedestrian or another cyclist; Get hit by a car, resulting in serious injuries or death; or Cause an accident, potentially opening yourself up to a negligence lawsuit. If you ride a bike powered by an electric or gas motor, the potential consequences become much more serious. DUI charges carry the threat of jail and hefty fines, even for a first offense. You could face the suspension of your driver license and have to pay a substantial fee to get it reinstated. Your insurance rates will increase, and your conviction will appear on your permanent record, potentially affecting your career as well as your finances. Finally, any Minnesota DUI conviction (even on a motorized bike) counts as a prior offense. Should the police arrest you in the future for drinking and driving, your bicycle DUI will qualify you for stiffer penalties, including the potential for felony DUI charges. CAN YOU GET A DUI ON A BIKE IN MN FAQ What to Do If You Get a DUI on a Bike If you get a DUI while riding a bike, treat the situation as seriously as you would any other DUI or DWI charge. The police and prosecutor may suggest making the situation go away by offering a plea deal. In exchange for entering a guilty plea, for example, they may offer to take potential jail time off the table. Although this might sound good to you at the time, you will still face all the other direct and indirect penalties associated with having a DUI conviction. Before agreeing to a deal or providing a statement to the police, contact a Minnesota DUI lawyer to discuss your charges. Talk to a Minnesota Bike DUI Lawyer Getting a DUI on a bike may sound harmless, but before you make any decisions about your case, talk to a Minnesota DWI lawyer. At Arechigo & Stokka, we take the time to answer your questions and help you make the right decision for your future. We fight for the legal rights of our clients, working throughout the process to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today to schedule your no-cost consultation.

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Is a DWI a Felony in MN?

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When is a DWI a Felony in MN? Not every DWI is a felony in Minnesota. You can face charges for felony DWI, but a series of aggravating factors is required to trigger a felony DWI in Minnesota. In fact, a large percentage of DUI/DWI crimes in MN are felonies. But even if the court finds you guilty of a misdemeanor, the penalties you face can be life-changing. In addition to the potential for going to jail, you will have to pay substantial fines as well as court costs and fees. You could lose your driver license, your license plates, or even your vehicle. With the help of a DUI defense attorney, these charges can potentially be reduced or eliminated. Contact our office today to discuss your specific case and possible defenses. What Is a Misdemeanor DWI? Typically, you will face misdemeanor charges for your first DWI offense. If any aggravating factors apply to your arrest, however, the court could charge you with a gross misdemeanor. Aggravating factors include: Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.16 or above, Having a child age 16 or under in the car, Refusing to submit to BAC testing, and Having prior DWI convictions. Upon conviction for misdemeanor DUI/DWI, you could face 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Although penalties are less harsh than the penalties for a felony, a gross misdemeanor DWI conviction could earn you up to one year in county jail. You will also face monetary fines up to $3,000 as well as a lengthy suspension of your driver license. What Is a Felony DWI in MN? In Minnesota, you will face felony DWI charges under any of the following circumstances: You have a prior felony DWI conviction on your record; You had a prior felony vehicular injury or homicide conviction involving impairment; or You had three or more DWI convictions in the past ten years. Although you may associate DWI with drinking and driving, you face the same penalties if you drive while under the influence of a Schedule I or II drug in any amount. Costs & Consequences of Felony DWI Upon conviction for a felony DWI in MN, you face up to seven years in a state prison and as much as $14,000 in fines. If you have prior felonies on your record, your penalties could be much worse. Further, the prosecutor can tack on additional charges based on the circumstances of your arrest. With a felony conviction, you also face years of supervised probation, long-term alcohol monitoring, and a host of administrative penalties. Administrative penalties may include: The cancelation or revocation of your driver license, The requirement to install an ignition interlock device on all your vehicles, Impoundment of your license plates, and/or Forfeiture of your vehicle. You will have a permanent criminal record, which can interfere with your ability to get a job or rent a home. You will also struggle to find affordable insurance coverage as a convicted DWI offender. When Should You Contact a Minnesota DUI Lawyer? Any DWI arrest – felony or misdemeanor – can substantially affect every aspect of your life. Don’t risk your future by agreeing to a deal with the prosecutor or trying to represent yourself in court. The Minnesota felony DWI lawyers of Arechigo & Stokka understand how frightening this experience can be, and we are here to help you. We have assisted hundreds of clients facing misdemeanor and felony DUI/DWI charges. Let us put our extensive knowledge, experience, and resources to work for you. Still have questions to see if your Minnesota DWI charge is a felony? We offer a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to answer your questions and help you make the right choice for your future. Contact us today to learn more.

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What You Should Know About Minnesota Whiskey Plates

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Understanding Minnesota Whiskey Plates Did you know that getting a DWI in Minnesota can cost you your car’s license plates as well as your driver’s license? If the police impound your license plates, you cannot drive unless you obtain a special registration plate, commonly called a “whiskey plate” in Minnesota. Readily identifiable, Minnesota DUI license plates are white and start with the letter “W.” These conspicuous plates carry stigma you may prefer to avoid, if possible. They also draw the scrutiny of law enforcement wherever you go. You must retain the plates for at least one year but possibly longer depending on your circumstances. Why You Get a Whiskey Plate in Minnesota In Minnesota, you must get DUI license plates if the police impound your standard plates for any of the following reasons: A DWI arrest with a DWI prior conviction or license revocation in the last ten years; DWI arrest with two or more DWI convictions in the past (any period); DWI arrest with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.16 or above; Commercial DWI arrest (BAC of .04 or above) with a DWI prior conviction or license revocation in the last ten years; DWI arrest with a minor child (under age 17) in the car; or Driving on a license suspended or revoked for drunk driving. Worse, the DWI license plate law applies to both the driver and the owner of the vehicle. This means that the police can impound your vehicle’s plates for a year or more, even if someone else got a DUI in your car. What It Means to Have a Minnesota Whiskey Plate Minnesota lawmakers believe that forcing repeat offenders to display MN whiskey plates raises law enforcement’s awareness of a driver’s past. However, these plates also publicly broadcast sensitive information about your past. If friends or family members borrow your car, they too will face elevated scrutiny. Law enforcement officers cannot legally stop your vehicle simply because you have a whiskey plate in MN. Nevertheless, you will face constant scrutiny from the police, as officers may watch you more closely than other drivers, looking for justification to make a traffic stop. Officers need to have only a reasonable suspicion that you violated a traffic law to pull you over. Worse, you must also pay the state a hefty fee to put the plates on your car and yet another fee to take them off. When Should You Contact a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer? Once the police impound your regular plates, you must apply for whiskey plates if you hope to drive your car again. Fortunately, you do have an alternative: you can petition the court to have the impoundment order reversed. Because you have limited time to challenge an impoundment order, contacting a criminal defense lawyer may be in your best interest. An experienced DWI lawyer understands the process and can protect your legal rights. The Minnesota DWI attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka have more than two decades of experience. They can put that experience to work, helping you to fight a DWI. They can also help you avoid having to put Minnesota whiskey plates on your vehicle. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.

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Malicious Punishment of a Child Charges in Minnesota

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Malicious punishment of a child charges in Minnesota are those directed at a parent, guardian, or caretaker. The charges typically result from the manner in which a child was disciplined.  These charges can be a felony or gross misdemeanor. There is a lot of gray area in the definition of the crime itself. Facing a malicious punishment charge can be terrifying, especially if you feel you’ve done nothing wrong as a parent. If you are facing charges for malicious punishment of a child, read on to understand your options. Note that all charges can potentially be reduced or eliminated with the help of a criminal defense lawyer. We recommend contacting us right away if you have been charged with malicious punishment of a child. How the Law Defines Malicious Punishment of a Child In Minnesota, malicious punishment of a child is defined as follows: A parent, legal guardian, or caretaker who, by an intentional act or a series of intentional acts with respect to a child, evidences unreasonable force or cruel discipline that is excessive under the circumstances This definition would include child abuse. Malicious punishment of a child in Minnesota often depends on the particular circumstances surrounding the incident. The basis of the crime is using unreasonable force or cruel discipline on a child. What a court or jury would consider excessive force or cruel discipline may be different in different situations.  Additionally, there are two other elements of the crime. The parent, guardian, or caretaker must have acted intentionally, and the force or cruelty must have been excessive. In other words, the state’s proof of this crime may not be as clear as it seems. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is critical in this situation. Malicious Punishment of a Child Charges Malicious punishment of a child in Minnesota can be either a gross misdemeanor or a felony. A gross misdemeanor is possible when the punishment results in “less than substantial bodily harm.” The charge may be enhanced to a felony in the following circumstances: The child was under the age of four, and the punishment caused bodily harm to the  head, eyes, neck, or caused multiple bruises to the child’s body; Punishment resulted in substantial bodily harm to the child; Punishment resulted in great bodily harm to the child; or  If the person charged committed the crime within five years after the end of their sentence or disposition from a conviction for a previous, specific crime (listed in the statute). The state of Minnesota defines the various harms as follows: Bodily harm: “physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition;” Substantial bodily harm: “bodily injury which involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, or which causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or which causes a fracture of any bodily member;” Great bodily harm: “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.” The penalties will depend on the specific charge. Penalties for Malicious Punishment of a Child For a gross misdemeanor charge of malicious punishment of a child, the person convicted can receive a sentence of jail time of one year or less, a fine of $3,000 or less, or both. In the cases of felony to a child under four, a felony resulting in substantial bodily harm, or a prior conviction, the person convicted can receive a prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of $10,000, or both. For a felony resulting in great bodily harm, the person convicted can receive a prison sentence of up to 10 years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both. Why Hiring an Attorney is Critical Hiring an attorney for malicious punishment of a child charges is critical. As mentioned above, the particular circumstances are highly relevant to this crime. Additionally, there may be specific legal defenses available in your case that an experienced attorney can help you with. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Minnesota will thoroughly investigate your case and mount the best defense possible. Contact Arechigo & Stokka, P.A. If you are facing charges for malicious punishment of a child, contact the experienced attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka, P.A. We offer free consultations and will assist you every step of the way. We have a history of success in reducing or eliminating all manner of criminal defense charges, including defending our clients in the Minnesota Supreme Court. Contact us today to get started.

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5th Degree Drug Possession in MN – What Are the Consequences?

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What is 5th Degree Drug Possession in MN? If you are facing 5th degree drug possession charges in the state of Minnesota, you might be unsure of what to do. Because of the complicated categorization of drug offenses, it can be confusing to understand your charges. It’s always important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. Your attorney can go over your charges with you and mount a strong defense. At Arechigo & Stokka, P.A., we have decades of experience handling these types of charges for our clients. In this article, we’ll discuss 5th degree drug charges in Minnesota, as well as possible consequences and defenses. Remember that with the help of a criminal defense lawyer, charges can potentially be reduced or eliminated. If you face drug possession charges, we strongly recommend that you contact us as soon as possible. Being charged with drug possession can be a complex legal process. Fill out the free and confidential form below with some brief details of your charge so we can review the details of your drug charge. What Are 5th Degree Drug Charges in MN?  In the state of Minnesota, there are five different degrees of drug charges. The degree of the crime depends upon the amount of substance in question. It also depends upon whether the substance was being sold or manufactured. 5th degree drug charges are the least serious. 5th degree drug charges only include those for possession or sale. However, 5th degree drug charges can be either a felony or gross misdemeanor.  Felony 5th degree drug charges in Minnesota are for the sale of drugs or possession of larger amounts of drugs. Gross misdemeanor charges are those for possession of a small amount of drugs. In other words, if the cops arrested someone because they were selling marijuana, mixed drugs, or one of the drugs on Minnesota’s Schedule IV list, they might charge the person with felony 5th degree drug sale. If they arrested someone who was in possession of any of the drugs on the schedule I, II, III, or IV list (in greater than the amounts listed for gross misdemeanor charges), they might charge the person with felony 5th degree drug possession. If it is someone’s first offense, and they possessed less than 0.05 grams of heroin or less than 0.25 grams (or one dosage unit) of another controlled substance, they might charge the person with 5th degree gross misdemeanor possession.  What Are the Consequences for 5th Degree Drug Possession?  The consequences for 5th degree drug possession in Minnesota will depend on whether the charge was a felony or gross misdemeanor.  Gross misdemeanor possession charges are punishable by up to one year in jail, a $3,000 fine, oandr forfeiture of property related to the crime, like cash obtained. Felony 5th degree drug possession charges are punishable by up to five years in jail or a fine of up to $10,000, or both.  However, the consequences you face outside the justice system may be worse. You may experience difficulty adjusting to life after your conviction. It could be difficult to find work or housing. You may also lose certain privileges, such as voting rights or the ability to lawfully possess a firearm. Because the consequences of 5th degree drug possession can be so severe, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.  Choosing the Right Drug Offense Attorney Your choice of attorney will be the single most crucial factor in defending your drug charges in Minnesota. Several defenses may be available. The experienced attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka, P.A. will thoroughly investigate your case and work tirelessly to defend you. Possible strategies for defense include the following. Investigating Entrapment Depending on the situation, entrapment may be a viable defense if officers tricked you into buying or selling drugs. Analyzing the Chain of Evidence We analyze the chain of evidence to assess whether the drugs were actually in your possession. Examining Due Process  We determine whether law enforcement complied with due process. We ensure that the arresting officers did not violate your constitutional rights, such as your right to be free from unreasonable searches. Assessing Legal Possession If you had a legal prescription for the substance but were not able to present it at the time of your arrest, you may still be able to get the charges dropped later. Our Case Results Our drug defense attorneys have had a number of drug charges dropped or reduced after a thorough investigation into the police conduct that resulted in the discovery of the drugs. Charges have been dropped or reduced because of the unlawful search of a motor vehicle, insufficient probable cause to support a search warrant to search a home, unlawful seizures and pat searches of an individual, and unreliable informants providing information to police. Our criminal defense lawyers have also kept clients convicted of serious 1st degree drug crimes out of prison after successful downward dispositional arguments. Felony Drug Possession Felony Drug Possession Charges Dismissed For Unlawful Police Entry of Home THE FACTS: Client was charged with felony drug possession for drugs found during a search of his home. Police responded to a report of an injured female in the front yard of the residence. A bystander was with the female and had called the police. The caller did not provide any information concerning any activity at the residence. Responding officers recognized the female and knew her boyfriend was the client. The officers also knew the client had a prior history of drug charges and lived at the nearby residence. Officers walked up to the front door of the residence and found the door unlocked. The officers did not bother asking for any permission to enter the home. Instead, the officers opened the front door and entered the residence and proceeded to walk throughout the residence. A number of controlled substances were located in various areas of the residence. Ther officers did not...

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What is a Downward Departure?

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If you face a conviction for a felony offense, you may worry about sentencing requirements. Minnesota uses a formula known as sentencing guidelines to determine recommended sentences for felony crimes. Guideline sentences are not mandatory, but they are presumptive. While a judge is supposed to follow the guidelines, you still have options for a lighter sentence. In some cases, a judge can use discretion to reduce the severity level of your conviction. This concept, called downward departure, happens when a judge departs from required sentencing guidelines and chooses to impose a lesser sentence using a downward departure. The judge may have many reasons for a downward departure, such as a first-time offense or extenuating circumstances. A good criminal defense attorney attempts to persuade a judge to use lighter sentencing. If you think lighter sentencing should apply to your case, you may ask, “What is a downward departure?” To understand legal options for Minnesota sentencing, you should know a few things about a downward departure. Here, we will discuss the following to help you gain a better understanding of downward departure: What are Minnesota sentencing guidelines? What sentencing factors does a judge consider? Why would a judge choose to grant a downward departure? Hear it From an Expert – John Arechigo – 2019 Attorney of the Year John Arechigo, a practicing criminal defense attorney in St. Paul, explains what you should know about downwards departures. Recently, John Arechigo was named the 2019 Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer. He sheds some useful insight based on his years of experience within the criminal defense. So, before deciding to hire any criminal defense attorney to consider if you are hiring an attorney with the experience you need to get the court ruling you deserve. What Are Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines? Sentencing guidelines are common across the United States. As lawmakers realized some offenders received unfair sentences, they began writing sentencing guidelines. These guidelines give a judge suggested or mandatory sentences for each crime. Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines first went into effect in 1980 and continue to be revised and renewed. The latest guidelines went into effect in August of 2019. The sentencing guidelines seek to promote consistent sentencing and public safety while reducing judicial bias factors. Different Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines are used for “standard” offenses, sex offenses, and drug offenses and outline minimum and maximum sentences using a grid system that accounts for a person’s prior criminal history and the severity of the current sentencing offense. The sentencing guidelines are advisory to the court, meaning they are not mandatory. The guidelines allow a judge to depart from suggested sentencing when “substantial and compelling circumstances” arise. It is a criminal defense attorney’s job to effectively convince a judge that such compelling circumstances apply to your case. What Sentencing Factors Does a Judge Consider? Downward departure means an offender receives a more lenient sentence than the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines recommend. Judges consider the following factors before allowing a downward departure sentence. Public safety. This is the primary factor in downward departure sentencing. A judge wants to protect the public from crime. Retribution. This sentencing element punishes the offender for their crime. The severity of the retribution should be proportional to the seriousness of the offense and the offender’s prior criminal record. Incapacitation. This sentencing goal takes away an offender’s ability to commit future crimes by keeping the offender in prison. Deterrence. This element attempts to deter criminal behavior by the threat of harsh sentencing. In theory, if a judgment is too light it may not deter people from committing additional crimes in the future. Restitution. This objective tries to pay the victim or society back for the harm done. Restitution comes in three forms: monetary, community service, and service to victims. Offenders with short criminal histories who committed non-violent crimes might be eligible for restitution, like community service. Rehabilitation. This goal seeks to reform the convicted individual in an effort to eliminate future offenses upon release from prison. Rehabilitation services include substance abuse, education, and mental health services. Some prisons may not have rehabilitation services. The absence of rehabilitation resources does not justify a longer prison sentence. A judge balances these factors when determining whether a downward departure is appropriate for an offender. Why Would a Judge Choose Downward Departure? A judge can depart from suggested sentencing grids in two ways: Aggravated Durational Departure. This occurs when a judge orders a sentence at least 20 percent higher than the sentence in the grid. Mitigated Durational Departure. This occurs when the court orders a sentence that is more than 15 percent lower than that suggested on the grid. Your criminal defense attorney will argue for substantial and compelling circumstances that necessitate a mitigated durational departure. This is a significant downward departure. This means your sentence will become at least 15 percent lighter than sentencing guidelines suggest. A plea bargain is a form of a downward departure. A plea bargain involves a defendant pleading guilty for a lesser charge in exchange for a lighter sentence. This moves the case through the court quickly and spares a defendant from facing a maximum sentence. Another situation that may invite downward departure sentences is when a defendant cooperates with the prosecuting attorney. This could mean that the defendant provides information that helps the prosecution with their case. The defendant could assist with the current case or another case, causing the prosecution to request a downward departure sentence. A judge may also consider reasons for a downward departure in these situations: The defendant was an accomplice to the crime. The defendant didn’t understand the criminal nature of the act. The defendant has a mental disorder that requires specialized treatment. The victim initiated or provoked the crime. The defendant committed the crime under duress. The defendant was too young to understand the consequences of criminal behavior. The need for restitution to the victim is greater than the need for prison time. After applying a downward departure sentence, the judge completes a departure report explaining...

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Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Laws

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When you’re going about your day at work and performing job-related tasks, the last thing you expect is to suffer injuries in a workplace accident. However, statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that these incidents are more common than you think. According to a report on State Occupational Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities for 2017, there were 72,500 recordable cases in Minnesota regarding medical conditions resulting from work-related activities. The implications extend far beyond the physical pain and into financial consequences, as employees experienced 36,600 days away from work. Fortunately, Minnesota workers’ compensation laws protect employees who are unable to work because of illness or injury. Monetary benefits are available, though they’re not automatic. You must successfully navigate the claims process, which can be complicated. To increase your chances of quick approval and prompt payment, it’s wise to retain a Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney for assistance. A summary of the relevant laws may also be helpful. Legal Obligations for Minnesota Employers Under MN workers’ compensation laws, all employers must procure insurance policies to cover the losses of eligible employees who suffer from work-related ailments. As such, your first step in seeking monetary benefits is filing a claim with the worker’s comp insurance company. You don’t have to prove that your employer was at fault, but you must meet strict eligibility rules to qualify. Eligibility Under MN Workers’ Comp Laws The primary consideration for purposes of qualifying for benefits is your status. Most workers will be eligible, even those that are part-time. The exception is for individuals who work as independent contractors, as separate from the employer’s business. The second key to qualifying for workers’ comp benefits is the incident or work-related factors that led to your medical condition. Both injuries and occupational illnesses are covered by state laws. Aside from eligibility, you should note that there are deadlines and time restrictions you must obey to ensure you get the workers’ comp benefits you deserve. You need to inform your employer within 14 days after a workplace accident, or you could lose your rights. Benefits for Qualifying Employees If you qualify, there are multiple monetary benefits you may be entitled to receive: The costs of medical care, including all treatment, equipment, supplies, and transportation expenses to and from appointments; Lost wages, which are a percentage of your income that you lose because of being unable to work; and, Vocational rehabilitation, to provide training, education, and other support if you need to move into another occupation because of your injuries. In addition, death benefits are available for family members of workers who lose a loved one because of a workplace accident. Schedule a Free Consultation with a Skilled Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Lawyer To learn more about your rights under Minnesota workers’ compensation laws, please contact Arechigo & Stokka, P.A. to speak to a member of our team. You can call 651-222-6603 or visit our website to set up a complimentary case evaluation at our St. Paul, MN office. We’ll be in a better position to advise you once we review your unique circumstances.

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Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines

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Overview of Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Though judges may seem to have considerable leeway in sentencing individuals who have been convicted of crimes, real-life circumstances are very different from what you see in films. Minnesota, several other US states, and the federal government have implemented sentencing guidelines to assist judges in handing down punishment. These sets of rules are designed to ensure fairness and consistency, so that bias doesn’t adversely affect basic principles of justice. Like their counterparts in other jurisdictions, the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines are extremely complex and take various factors into account in determining penalties for a conviction. For this reason, it’s important to retain experienced legal counsel as early on in the criminal process as possible. Your Minnesota criminal defense attorney can defend your interests in the underlying crime and will strive to obtain a favorable outcome when it comes to sentencing. In addition, you may find it useful to review some basic information about how sentencing works under Minnesota criminal laws. [DOWNLOAD] Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines E-Book Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Chart Overview of Minnesota Sentencing Commission and Guidelines Back in 1978, Minnesota lawmakers enacted the first legislation in the US regarding a set of rules to assist judges in sentencing. The statute created the Minnesota Sentencing Commission, a government body that implemented another first in the country: The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines went into effect in 1980. Since that time, the number of convicted felons who were sentenced according to the rules grew from 5,500 to 18,288 felony offenders in 2017 – according to the Commission’s 2019 Report to the Legislature. The Commission is charged with establishing the Guidelines and updating them on an annual basis, with the primary goal being public safety. A secondary objective of the sentencing system is to promote uniformity and ensure that decisions on punishment are not motivated by race, gender, or other constitutionally protected classifications. By applying the Guidelines, sentencing is more likely to be neutral, logical, and consistent. As will be described in further detail below, the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines encompass a grid system that assesses the severity of the crime and the individual’s criminal history. The product of this analysis is a presumptive sentence, though a judge can exercise some discretion within a limited range of potential punishments. Under designated – mostly rare – circumstances, a court can depart from the presumptive sentence. Over the decades since the Guidelines went into effect, they have been largely successful in meeting the stated objectives of the Commission. The 2019 Report indicates that Minnesota has consistently ranked in the top three US states with the lowest imprisonment rates; the state has earned this accolade in all but one of the 37 years spanning from 1980 – 2016. In addition, Minnesota’s imprisonment rate in 2016 was around 190 for every 100,000 residents in the state. This number is less than half the rate of all other states, which was 387 per 100,000 residents. Because the system created by the Guidelines results in some of the lowest rates of incarceration, your situation may not be as grim as you think. Of course, the outcome will depend on the specifics of your case. A skilled criminal defense attorney can work to develop a strategy that takes the best possible advantage of the Guidelines. [Video] Overview of MN Sentencing Guidelines John Arechigo – Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Presumptive Versus Maximum Sentences The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines are developed around the concept of “presumptive” sentences. The term comes from the fact that the punishment is presumed to be appropriate for all typical cases, after accounting for the individual’s criminal history and the severity of the offense for which he or she was convicted. Within the presumptive sentence, there are two important factors: The presumptive duration, which is a defined sentence length as measured in months; and, The presumptive range of punishment, starting from a point 15 percent lower and 20 percent higher than the presumptive duration. What our clients say… ★★★★★ “They were also upfront and honest with me regarding the severity of my charges. I was informed about ALL of the possible directions that I could take in the legal system as well as the consequences and benefits what would accompany each course of action.” Abigail P. ★★★★★ “I was so happy when John took my case, I was kept Informed of all of his every intentions, plans, and his recommendations was well thought out. My case was over in a timely manner and I felt like he was working in my best interest.” Kiki H. ★★★★★ “I was so happy that we chose John to be our attorney! He was with us every step of the way helping us get the best outcome possible. I was very pleased with how responsive John was to our needs, even responding to my emails and texts during odd hours of the day. “ Nicole B. ★★★★★ “Very Responsive attorney , always available by phone, email, or text. Helped me Expunge a case. Best decision I ever made.” Rae C. When applying the factors of the two-part test explained below, the judge will come to a designated spot on the Sentencing Guidelines Grid – which contains the presumptive duration and presumptive range for individuals convicted of Minnesota felonies. In a typical case, one that doesn’t encompass unusual circumstances, the judge will use the presumptive duration. However, where there are factors that reflect unfavorably on the convicted individual, the court can sentence up to the presumptive range limit. Likewise, when the person’s actions justify a reduced sentence, a judge may issue a sentence on the low end of the presumptive range. In addition, the court is required to abide by rules related to the statutory maximum sentence. For Minnesota felonies, the statute will usually use the phrase “imprisonment for not more than X years.” This language defines the maximum sentence a judge can issue. Two-Part Determination Under Minnesota Criminal Laws The core of the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines is the Grid, a table with...

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What’s the Difference Between DUI and DWI in Minnesota?

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Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorneys Assisting Clients with DUI and DWI Cases If you were charged with DUI or DWI in Minnesota, you must understand the severity of the charges you are facing and the difference between DUI and DWI.  In some states, there is a distinction between a DUI and a DWI for legal purposes. However, a DWI—or driving while impaired—is the charge that most people will face for drunk or drugged driving in Minnesota. A Minnesota DWI defense attorney can get started on your case. History of DUI and DWI Laws in Minnesota What’s the difference between a DUI and DWI in Minnesota? There is no difference—a person charged with drunk, drugged, or intoxicated driving will face DWI charges. Over the years, Minnesota criminal law charged drivers with the crimes of “driving while intoxicated” and later “driving under the influence.” Since 2001, anyone charged with one of these offenses will face charges for “driving while impaired” or DWI. Understanding Minnesota’s DWI Law Under Minnesota law, a person can face DWI charges if that person violated the state’s DWI law. The law states that it is unlawful to “drive, operate, or be in physical control of any motor vehicle anywhere in the state” while one of the following is true of the driver: The driver is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any intoxicating substance; The driver has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher (the standard for DWI charges in most states); The driver has any amount of a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance other than marijuana in his or her body; or The driver is driving a commercial vehicle and has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or higher. It is also unlawful to refuse to submit to a chemical test if law enforcement stops you on suspicion of a DWI. Consequences for DUI and DWI Convictions in Minnesota The consequences of a DUI vs. DWI conviction depend on a variety of factors. The following are examples of consequences for a DWI conviction: First offense under 0.16 alcohol concentration: Misdemeanor that can result in 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and a license suspension for up to 90 days; First offense with 0.16 alcohol concentration or higher: Gross misdemeanor that can result in up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $3,000, a license suspension for up to 1 year, license plates impounded, and the possibility of a required ignition interlock device; Second offense in 10 year period under 0.16 alcohol concentration: Gross misdemeanor that can result in up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $3,000, a license suspension for up to 1 year, license plates impounded, and the possibility of a 30 day mandatory jail sentence and the possibility of a required ignition interlock device; Second offense in 10 year period with 0.16 alcohol concentration or higher: Gross misdemeanor that can result in up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $3,000, a license suspension for up to 2 years, license plates impounded, vehicle forfeited, the possibility of a 30 day mandatory jail sentence, and required ignition interlock device; Third offense in 10 year period: Gross misdemeanor with penalties of up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $3,000, the possibility of a mandatory 90-day jail sentence, license canceled, license plate impounded, and vehicle forfeited; and Fourth or more offense in 10 year period: Felony offense that can result in up to 7 years in prison, a fine of up to $14,000, license cancellation, license plate impounded, and vehicle forfeited. Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Minnesota Do you need help defending against DUI or DWI charges? A Minnesota DWI defense attorney can assist you.  Contact Arechigo & Stokka today for more information, or contact us at 651-401-7926.

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Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Guide

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Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Assisting Clients in Minnesota If you are injured on the job in Minnesota and cannot return to work due to the severity of your injury, you may be eligible to file a claim for Minnesota workers’ compensation. Under Minnesota law, most workers who sustain serious injuries or illnesses in the course of their employment are eligible to seek Minnesota work comp benefits. However, there are some exceptions to the rule, and there are very specific guidelines that govern when and how an injured worker must file a claim. Filing a workers’ comp MN claim can be extremely complicated, and there are various reasons that your claim can be denied. With the help of a workers’ compensation MN attorney, you can ensure that you take all necessary steps in the initial process of filing your claim. If you have already filed a claim and are facing a denial of benefits, one of the dedicated attorneys at our firm can assist with your appeal. Do not hesitate to get in touch with the experienced Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka to learn more about how we can assist with your case. [DOWNLOAD] Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Free Guide What is Workers’ Compensation in Minnesota? Workers’ compensation insurance is a type of insurance that most employers in Minnesota are required to carry, and it can provide coverage to employees who sustain illnesses or injuries on the job. When an employee gets hurt at work or as a result of his or her employment, that employee can file a workers’ compensation claim in order to seek benefits. Typically, workers’ compensation coverage can compensate an injured employee for a portion of his or her lost wages, as well as medical coverage for the injuries, suffered on the job. Injuries must be work-related injuries, or arise out of the course of employment, in order to be eligible for coverage. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (MDLI) defines a work-related injury as “any condition that is caused, aggravated, or accelerated by employment activities.” Traumatic injuries, gradual injuries, and occupational diseases all may be covered by workers’ comp. For example, an injury that happens on a job site typically will be covered. If a worker drives a vehicle as part of his or her job duties, then injuries sustained in a traffic crash also may arise out of the worker’s job and may be covered by workers’ comp. However, injuries sustained in a crash on the way to work will not be eligible for workers’ comp MN coverage. MINNESOTA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION REQUIREMENTS FAQ Mandatory Coverage: Who is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Minnesota? Generally speaking, most employers in Minnesota are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. To be clear, Minnesota has what is known as mandatory coverage when it comes to workers’ comp. As such, most employers who hire other people to perform services are required to buy workers’ compensation coverage or self-insurance. Even employers who only hire minors or non-citizens are required to have workers’ compensation coverage under the mandatory coverage provisions. In some cases, even volunteers are covered by workers’ comp. However, there are some exceptions. While these exceptions are limited mostly to certain small business situations, the following are some examples of employers who may be exempt from purchasing workers’ compensation insurance under Minnesota law: Sole proprietors: If a person is a sole proprietor of a business, that small business owner is not required to have workers’ compensation coverage for herself or for close family members working in the business (such as children, a spouse, or parents). However, it is important to be clear that a sole proprietor is required to have workers’ compensation coverage for other employees. Partnerships: Businesses that are structured as partnerships, similar to sole proprietorships, tend to be exempt from coverage for the partners and for close relatives of the partners who are employees of the business. Executive officers in closely held corporations: In some closely held corporations, an executive officer is exempt from workers’ compensation coverage. However, numerous requirements must be met in order for the executive officer to be exempt. Managers in LLCs: Managers of limited liability companies (LLCs) are, in some situations, exempt from mandatory coverage for workers’ compensation. Other parties may be exempt, and it is important to confirm with an experienced workers’ comp MN lawyer whether coverage is mandatory. Just because a person is exempt does not mean that the person cannot elect to provide workers’ compensation coverage. If an employer is exempt but elects to provide coverage, then any employees who are covered can be eligible to file a claim. Types of Disability Benefits Provided By Workers’ Compensation Workers’ compensation benefits tend to provide compensation for four different types of disability benefits: Temporary total disability: Your injury prevents you from returning to work in any capacity, but you are expected to recover (at least in part) from your injury. Temporary total disability benefits, or TTD benefits, pay two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly wage with a maximum of the 2019 statewide average weekly wage (SAWW) of $1,112.00. Typically, TTD benefits are paid for a maximum of 130 weeks. In some cases where an employee is in a vocational rehabilitation program, TTD benefits can be extended. Temporary partial disability: Your injury prevents you from returning to work in your full capacity, yet you are able to return to work in a part-time or modified capacity. You are also expected to recover from your injuries. Compensation is two-thirds of the difference between your earnings if you were at full capacity and your modified earnings. TPD benefits typically are available for a maximum of 225 weeks. Permanent partial disability: Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits are designed for injured workers who suffer a permanent disability, but your disability does not prevent you from working entirely. For example, most permanent partial disability benefits involve the loss of function of part of the body. The amount of PPD benefits depends upon the type of permanent...

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