Minnesota Terroristic Threats Statute

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

TERRORISTIC THREATS (THREATS OF VIOLENCE) The Minnesota Terroristic Threats statute punishes anyone who “threatens, directly or indirectly, to commit any crime of violence with purpose to terrorize another or in reckless disregard of the risk of causing such terror.” The offense is a felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison.   In order to convict someone under the Minnesota Terroristic Threats statute, the state must prove that the defendant (1) threatened to commit a crime of violence; and (2) made that threat with either (a) specific intent to cause extreme fear in another, or (b) reckless disregard of the risk that it would have that effect. THE MOST COMMONLY SEEN THREAT THAT LEADS TO A CHARGE OF TERRORISTIC THREATS IS A THREAT TO KILL SOMEONE. During an argument – domestic or otherwise – if a person tells someone, “I’m going to kill you,” or “You make me so mad, I could kill you sometimes,” or any type of similar threat to commit a crime of violence, the speaker will almost certainly face a charge of Terroristic Threats under the Minnesota Terroristic Threats statute. THE SPEAKER’S INTENT AND THE CONTEXT IN WHICH THE THREAT WAS MADE CAN BOTH BE A DEFENSE TO A CHARGE OF TERRORISTIC THREATS. As noted above, the state has to prove that the speaker made the threat with either a specific intent to cause extreme fear in another or with reckless disregard of the risk of causing extreme fear in another. The context in which the threat was made is a factor in determining the speaker’s intent. In State v. Balster, the Minnesota Court of Appeals noted that the context in which it is uttered determines whether the speaker intends the literal meaning or a harmless expression of anger, frustration, or annoyance. This is sometimes referred to as “transitory anger.” “TRANSITORY ANGER” IS NOT FOUND IN THE MINNESOTA TERRORISTIC THREATS STATUTE, BUT IT IS A PART OF THE HISTORY OF THE CRIME OF TERRORISTIC THREATS IN MINNESOTA. Prior cases have concluded that the Minnesota Terroristic Threats statute is designed to punish threats that are “more serious than would be covered by petty offenses like disorderly conduct or breach of the peace.” The statute is not intended to apply to “the kind of verbal threat which expresses transitory anger rather than [the] settled purpose to carry out the threat or to terrorize the other person.” Most Terroristic Threats charges will turn on whether the state can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant made the threat with the required intent to make the subject of the threat extremely fearful.  The defendant, through his or her lawyer, would most certainly urge the jury that the speaker’s threat was a harmless expression of anger, frustration, or annoyance. CONTACT US Contact our Minneapolis criminal defense lawyers for a free consultation if you or someone you know if facing a charge under the Minnesota Terroristic Threats statute.  We’ve had terroristic threats charges dismissed for clients. We know how to defend against this charge.

Read More

Minnesota DWI Penalties

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

THE TYPES OF MINNESOTA DWI PENALTIES YOU COULD POSSIBLY FACE DEPEND ON THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF EACH INDIVIDUAL DWI CASE. Minnesota DWI penalties include both criminal penalties and civil penalties.   Criminal DWI penalties refer to actually serving time in custody, whether it’s in jail, at the workhouse, or an out-of-custody program such as Sentence to Service or electronic home monitoring. Civil Minnesota DWI penalties include the loss of your driver’s license, license plate impoundment and the forfeiture of your vehicle.   The length of jail time and driver’s license revocation periods will depend on the type of Minnesota DWI you are facing, the driver’s blood alcohol content in that particular case, as well as any prior DWI convictions. THERE ARE FIVE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MINNESOTA DWI CHARGES, AND EACH CARRIES THEIR OWN SET OF MINNESOTA DWI PENALTIES. A person’s first DWI offense with a blood alcohol content below a .16 will typically result in a 4th Degree DWI charge.  This is a Misdemeanor level criminal offense, which is the lowest level criminal offense in Minnesota.  The penalties for a 4th Degree DWI are the least restrictive of any DWI charge. A 3rd Degree DWI is a Gross Misdemeanor.  A person will face a 3rd Degree DWI charge if it is their second DWI offense within a 10 year period and their blood alcohol content was below .16 OR it is a first DWI offense but their blood alcohol content was above a .16 or the driver refused to submit to testing or there was a child in the vehicle at the the time of arrest.  The Minnesota DWI penalties for a 3rd Degree DWI begin to include jail time and lengthy driver’s license revocation periods. A 2nd Degree DWI is also a Gross Misdemeanor.  A person will face a 2nd Degree DWI charge if it is their third DWI offense within a 10 year period and their blood alcohol content was below .16 OR it is their second DWI offense and an aggravating factor exists, such as a blood alcohol content above .16, a refusal to submit to testing, or the presence of a child.   Mandatory Minnesota DWI penalties begin to kick in on a second DWI offense within a ten year period of the first. These mandatory penalties include lengthy jail time, lengthy driver’s license revocation periods, and the possible forfeiture of your vehicle. A 1st Degree DWI is a Felony.  A person will face a 1st Degree Felony DWI if it is their fourth DWI offense within a 10 year period.  A conviction of 1st Degree DWI carries significant penalties, including possibly serving time in prison. This post is only an introduction into Minnesota DWI penalties.  Check back for future posts with a more in-depth explanation of the Minnesota DWI penalties associated with each type of Minnesota DWI charge.

Read More

Minnesota DWI Field Sobriety Tests

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

A TYPICAL DWI ARREST WILL USUALLY INVOLVE THE USE OF DWI FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS. In order for a police officer to require an individual to submit to DWI field sobriety tests, the officer must have observed something that lead to a reasonable suspicion that the person was driving or operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.   If alcohol impairment is suspected, a police officer will almost always ask the driver if she has been drinking tonight.  A “yes” answer to this question allows the officer to legally expand the traffic stop and to request the driver submit to DWI field sobriety tests.   Other observations of bloodshot and water eyes, slurred speech or an odor of alcohol from the driver’s breath may also be enough to request DWI field sobriety tests. A DRIVER’S PERFORMANCE ON THE DWI FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS WILL DETERMINE WHETHER THE POLICE OFFICER HAS PROBABLE CAUSE TO ARREST THE DRIVER FOR SUSPICION OF DWI. The officer will look for a number of different cues depending on the type of DWI field sobriety tests the officer administered.  Just as important, an officer also observes a driver’s ability to listen and follow instructions almost as much as the person’s ability to perform the DWI field sobriety tests.  The officer will make note if the driver has to ask for the instructions to be repeated or begins the DWI field sobriety tests before the officer finishes the instructions.   It is important to follow the officers instructions as closely as possible when requested to perform DWI field sobriety tests. THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF DWI FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS ARE KNOWN AS THE ONE-LEG STAND, WALK-AND-TURN, AND HORIZONTAL GAZE NYSTAGMS OR HGN. A preliminary breath test, or PBT, is also commonly used to develop probable cause for a DWI arrest.  The officer is not required to request a certain number of type of DWI field sobriety tests.  Given a number of circumstances – such as the time of day or night, weather and road conditions, driver’s physical condition, etc. – the officer may request only one type of DWI field sobriety test.  In these cases, probable cause for the arrest should be closely scrutinized. Whenever an officer has a driver to submit to DWI field sobriety tests, the officer is required to complete detailed DWI reports that document the driver’s performance on the chosen test.   It is important to get copies of these reports and review the officer’s assessment.  If the officer’s squad car was equipped with a video or audio recording device, it is also important to get copies of the recordings to see whether they support the officer’s report. If you have been arrested for a DWI, it is important that you contact an experienced Minnesota DWI lawyer as soon as possible.  Our experienced Minneapolis / St. Paul DWI lawyers will review all aspects of your DWI case, including your performance on the DWI field sobriety tests.   If you successfully passed the DWI field sobriety tests, our DWI lawyers will fight to have your DWI case dismissed.

Read More

Inventory Search Exception

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

ANOTHER MOTOR VEHICLE SEARCH WARRANT EXCEPTION IS KNOWN AS THE INVENTORY SEARCH. An inventory search of a vehicle occurs when the police are impounding a vehicle.  As long as the vehicle is being lawfully impounded, the police can search the vehicle as long as the search is conducted pursuant to a standard departmental policy.   An inventory search does not authorize the police to conduct a search for evidence inside the vehicle. A search for evidence requires a search warrant or the search must fall under some other search warrant exception.   The point is, the police cannot justify a search for evidence under the inventory search exception.  As long as an inventory search is a routine procedure of the impounding law enforcement agency, then the search does not require a warrant or probable cause.   However, if the police happen to find evidence of a crime, say drugs or guns, during the inventory search, that evidence can be used against you and is admissible in court. COURTS VIEW INVENTORY SEARCHES AS ADMINISTRATIVE, RATHER THAN INVESTIGATIVE. This is why a search warrant is not required.  The purpose of an inventory search is not to uncover evidence of a crime.  Although it may seem like that, and it may seem like police use the inventory search as a pretext for searching for evidence, on its face, courts have attached an administrative purpose to an inventory search.  Courts have determined that the primary purpose of a departmental policy authorizing an inventory search is to protect the property owner’s property while in police custody, to protect the police against fraudulent claims of stolen or vandalized property, and to protect police personnel from potentially dangerous items. IN ORDER FOR AN INVENTORY SEARCH TO BE VALID, THE INITIAL IMPOUNDMENT OF THE VEHICLE MUST BE LAWFUL. If the tow is unlawful, our Minnesota criminal defense lawyers will argue to a judge that any evidence found during the inventory search cannot be admissible.  Also, the departmental policy authorizing the inventory search must be sufficiently limited so as to not give the police officer unlimited discretion as to where or what or how to search the vehicle.  There is no clear-cut rule on whether an inventory search authorizes the opening and/or searching of locked or closed containers found in the vehicle.  The departmental policy must be examined in order to determine whether the police conducted a lawful inventory search of closed or locked containers.   Our Minnesota criminal defense lawyers will investigate the policy and fight to protect the privacy of your vehicle and its contents. CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS YOU CAN TRUST Contact our Minneapolis/St.Paul criminal defense lawyers if you feel your vehicle was illegally towed or search by the police.   Our lawyers will review the facts and circumstances of the search of your vehicle.  If unlawful, our criminal defense lawyers will fight to have the evidence suppressed.

Read More

First Appearance in Minnesota Criminal Court

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

It’s important to make sure you report to the correct courthouse for your first appearance in Minnesota criminal court.   Where your crime was alleged to have been committed will determine which courthouse you must report to.  You can check the Minnesota state court website here for a list of courthouse locations. The severity level of the crime you have been charged with determines what happens when you make your first appearance in a Minnesota criminal court.  If you have been charged with a Misdemeanor, your first court appearance is called an Arraignment.   Most common Misdemeanors include: First-time DUI offenses, Lower level Theft offenses, Disorderly Conduct, Some first-time Assault and Domestic Assault offenses, and Common driving offenses, such as driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license or no insurance. What happens in the courtroom? When you appear in court for your Arraignment, the judge will want to accomplish two things. Appearing in court reassures the judge that you know you have been charged with a crime that you must come to court for. The judge will want to know if you have an attorney to represent you, whether you want to apply for a public defender, or if you plan to represent yourself.   You will also have a chance to discuss your charges with the prosecuting city attorney. However, your Arraignment is typically not your best chance to explain your side of the story because the prosecutor will be busy with other cases that day.  The prosecutor may give you an offer to resolve your case during your Arraignment appearance, but it is unlikely that the offer will be an attractive one.  If you decide to resolve your case at your Arraignment appearance, make sure you understand the consequences of doing so.  There are different resolutions for criminal cases; many result in a conviction of some sort which then results in a criminal record. If you don’t want to accept the prosecutor’s offer at your Arraignment, enter a not guilty plea. The court will give you another court date called your pre-trial for which you must return to Minnesota criminal court.  You will typically get more attention from the prosecutor at your pre-trial court appearance.  If there are any police reports or witness statements stemming from your case, you can get copies of those from the prosecutor after your Arraignment and before your Pre-trial. Gross Misdemeanors and Felonies Under Minnesota Law If you have been charged with a Gross Misdemeanor or Felony, your initial appearance in a Minnesota criminal court is called a First Appearance.  Gross Misdemeanors and Felonies can include repeat DUI offenses, repeat Domestic Assault charges, and many violent crimes and drug offenses.   The judge will also review your case to determine whether the allegations of your case warrant holding you in jail while your case is pending or, if the judge decides to release you from custody, whether any conditions of your release are necessary.  If you have been charged with any sort of Domestic Assault or Assault and are released from custody, the judge will issue a No Contact Order prohibiting you from having any contact with the alleged victim(s). At a First Appearance, you will typically not have an opportunity to talk to the prosecutor to try to resolve your case.  This is because many other issues and consequences are involved when a person has been charged with a Gross Misdemeanor or Felony.  After your First Appearance, the court will give you a return court date for what is called an Omnibus Hearing.  You do not have to enter a plea of any sort at your First Appearance. Hire a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer It is in your best interests to have an experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney with you at your Arraignment or your First Appearance in a Minnesota criminal court.  Going to court can be an intimidating experience for many people.  The judge is not your legal representative and cannot give you legal advice.   The same is especially true for the prosecuting attorney.  The prosecutor represents the City or County that has filed charges against you and will not have your best interests in mind. Find an Attorney You Can Trust The St. Paul criminal defense attorneys at Arechigo and Stokka will appear with you at every Minnesota criminal court appearance and aggressively represent your best interests.   Contact our Minnesota criminal defense lawyers today for a free consultation.

Read More

Federal Revenge Porn Law Announced

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

A federal revenge porn law has finally been announced.   This law has been expected for about a year. The delay shows the difficulty in creating criminal laws that potentially intrude on 1st Amendment free speech issues. The full text of the federal revenge porn law, titled the Intimate Privacy Protection Act, can be found here. The federal crime is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. SIGNIFICANCE OF FEDERAL REVENGE PORN LAW At last check, there are approximately 16 states that do not have a state revenge porn law.  The federal law would give victims of revenge porn in those states a chance to address alleged revenge porn activity.  The federal law would also give law enforcement the support of federal authorities to track down revenge porn activity in multiple states and in navigating online sources of revenge porn. FIRST AMENDMENT CONCERNS Unlike most state revenge porn laws, the proposed federal law does not require evidence that the photographs or videos be distributed with any sort of intent to harm or harass the subject of the media.  Rather, the proposed federal revenge porn law would punish theact of distributing the media with disregard for the other person’s consent to the distribution.  This lack of requiring evidence of specific criminal intent may potentially expose the law to a constitutional challenge.  This is the same problem Minnesota’s revenge porn law may face. The ACLU has challenged state revenge porn laws on grounds that they infringe on constitutionally protected free speech, most notably convincing Arizona to re-draft its revenge porn law.  The ACLU points out that the type of language in the proposed federal revenge porn law could lead to overzealous prosecutions.  Requiring evidence of criminal intent eliminates the risk that revenge porn prosecutions would infringe on free speech. Currently, it doesn’t seem that the federal revenge porn law has the support of the Senate. The House author is still seeking a sponsor in the Senate. Several states have active revenge porn laws, including Minnesota.   Contact our lawyers today to discuss an aspect of the Minnesota revenge porn law.

Read More

Do I Have to Let Cops in My House?

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

One of the most common questions I get asked is, “Do I have to let cops in my house if they knock on my door and tell me they need to come in?” The short answer: no. Oftentimes, police will approach a residence because they have some questions for someone they believe lives at that home. Even if you happen to be the target of their investigation, you are under no obligation to answer their questions or let them into your home. You do not even have to open your door. Do I Have to Let Cops in My House? Short Answer: Not Without a Warrant. If you do open the door, the police will most likely ask you if you are either the person they are looking for or if that person is inside the home. Again, you do not have to answer their questions and you will not get in trouble for simply saying no. If you say no, the police will then most likely ask you if they can come inside and look around. They ask this question because they are looking for evidence that the person they are looking for lives at that address. They will look around for pieces of mail with the subject’s name, photographs, or any other identifying information. If they see anything that leads them to believe the person they are looking for lives there, the police will use that information and apply for either an arrest warrant or a search warrant. Before the police get into your house without a warrant, there must be lawful consent to enter from a person with authority to let the police into the house. If they do not have an arrest warrant or search warrant, the police cannot enter a home without valid consent from a homeowner or other lawful resident. If the police ask to come in and you tell them that they do not have your permission to enter the home, they are legally prohibited from entering your home. If they choose to ignore your refusal and enter the home, any evidence they may find inside the home will likely be inadmissible in court. If you are a parent and the police knock on your door and tell you they need to talk to your child, again, you do not have to let them into the house. Ask the police if they have a warrant to enter your home. If they have a warrant, they must give you a copy of it; if they do not have a warrant, simply tell them they do not have your permission to enter your house. The same rules apply if you live with roommates and the police show up looking for one of your roommates. Contact a MN Criminal Defense Lawyer Today The next time you ask yourself, “do I have to let cops in my house,” tell yourself not without a warrant. If you find the police knocking on your door, the safe course of action is to call the Minnesota criminal defense attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka. Our Minnesota criminal defense lawyers will be able to find out why the police are at your house and, if necessary, could notify them that we represent you or a resident. Unless they have a warrant, they will no longer be able to attempt to make contact with the subject of their investigation. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day by a Minnesota criminal defense lawyer. Do not hesitate to contact our Minnesota criminal defense attorneys if the police are looking for you. If the police entered your home without a warrant, our Minnesota criminal defense lawyers will offer a free consultation to determine whether the police had a right to enter your home. If not, our Minnesota criminal defense attorneys will fight to have any evidence collected suppressed.

Read More

I Was Arrested for DWI. Now What?

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

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.

Read More

Minnesota DUI Arrest

    | Read Time: 5 minutes

The first encounter you will have with the police if you are arrested for a Minnesota DUI will most likely be on the side of a road or perhaps in a parking lot.   The officer will most likely allege that you committed some sort of driving or traffic violation that prompted the stop of your vehicle.  After stopping your vehicle, the officer will approach the driver’s side window.  If the stop is occurring during the night, the officer will most likely shine the squad car’s spotlight toward your vehicle limiting your ability to see anything behind you. Upon approaching your vehicle, the officer will ask you to roll down your window.  You do not have to roll your window all the way down.  Only crack your window enough so that you and the officer are able to hear each other and to pass your driver’s license and insurance card to the officer.  The reason why a police officer will ask you to roll your window all the way down is so that he can get a better smell of the inside of your vehicle and of your breath to determine whether he detects an odor of alcohol.  An odor of alcohol on a driver’s breath is one reason that officer can order the driver of a vehicle out of the vehicle to perform roadside sobriety tests.  This helps establish probable cause for a Minnesota DUI arrest.  Again, do not roll your window all the way down; just crack it a bit. The officer will then ask for your driver’s license and proof of insurance.  Hand both cards to the officer through the cracked window.  The officer will then most likely make small talk by asking you where you are coming from, where you are going, what you were doing, etc.  You do not have to answer his questions.  In fact, you shouldn’t say anything at all.  Again, the reason the officer is asking you these questions is to determine whether he notices an alcoholic odor that might justify arresting you for Minnesota DUI.  If the officer suspects you might be impaired, he will almost certainly ask you if you have been drinking tonight.  Do not answer this question and absolutely do not admit to drinking if you were.  Even if you have been drinking, you do not have to answer his question and you will not get in trouble for saying no.  This is the biggest reason people get arrested for a Minnesota DUI.  Once a driver has admitted to drinking prior to driving, that’s all the reason the officer needs to run you through the roadside tests. If the officer thinks you have been drinking, he will order you out of your vehicle to perform roadside sobriety tests.  A common roadside sobriety test is what is called the PBT.  This is the smaller handheld breath test that an officer gives at the side of the road.  After inserting the breath tube into your mouth, the officer will most likely yell to keep blowing or blow harder.  Do not blow as hard as you can.  A heavy breath sample can produce a distorted result.  Simply blow at a constant, steady breath until told to stop. You can decline to perform any of the roadside sobriety tests; however, doing so will almost certainly result in your arrest for suspicion of Minnesota DUI.  If you refuse the roadside sobriety tests, you will most likely be placed under arrest and taken to either the police department or a hospital for further testing.  You do not have the same option to decline a test at the police department or hospital that you do at the side of your car.  Refusal to take a chemical test at the police department or hospital is a separate crime apart from the DUI, and, in some cases, is an even more severe crime than the DUI itself. After arriving at the police department or hospital, the officer will go over an Implied Consent Advisory with you.  This is sort of like a short and sweet version of your Miranda rights.  It is important to keep in mind that you have the right to talk to a Minnesota DWI attorney before deciding whether to take the test.  Take advantage of this.  If you tell the officer you want to talk to a Minnesota DUI lawyer, he will give you a phone and phone book and a “reasonable amount of time” to contact a Minnesota DWI lawyer.  You will not have a set time limit to contact a Minnesota DUI attorney, but the officer is required to give you a decent amount of time to try to get a hold of someone who happens to be awake. After this, the officer will ask you if you will submit to either a blood, breath, or urine test.  You do not get to choose which type of test you want to take.  The officer gets to choose which type of test he will give you.  However, if you are offered a blood test and have a fear of needles or some medical reason why you cannot give blood, then you can refuse and the officer is required by law to then offer you a urine test.  You will not have the same choice if initially offered a breath test.  If offered a breath test, the officer will have you place your mouth around a tube coming from a machine and tell you to blow.  Once the machine starts capturing your breath sample, it will begin to make a beeping sound to indicate it is receiving a sufficient sample.  Regardless of this, the officer will most likely be seated next to you yelling at you to blow harder, harder, harder.  You do not have to blow as hard as you can.  Once you hear the machine begin to beep, try your best to maintain that level of breath until told to stop.  This will help to minimize the chance the machine produces a...

Read More

Minnesota Criminal Vehicular Homicide

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

CRIMINAL VEHICULAR HOMICIDE The Minnesota criminal vehicular homicide statute punishes someone who causes the death of another while operating a motor vehicle under one of several conditions.   The criminal vehicular homicide statute, while punishing an action that causes the death of another, is different from murder or manslaughter.  There is a distinction between the intent and the risks the person took in a charge of criminal vehicular homicide versus murder or manslaughter. A person is guilty of criminal vehicular homicide in Minnesota if the person causes the death of another as a result of operating a motor vehicle in any one of the following conditions: In a grossly negligent manner; In a negligent manner while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance; While having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more; In a negligent manner while knowingly under the influence of a hazardous substance; In a negligent manner while any amount of a Schedule I or II controlled substance, other than marijuana, is present in the person’s body Where the driver who caused the collision leaves the scene of the accident; or Where the driver had actual knowledge that a police officer had previously issued a citation to the driver that the vehicle was defectively maintained, the driver knew that the defective condition was not remedied, the driver had reason to know that the defective condition caused a danger to others, and the death was caused by the defective maintenance. THERE A NUMBER OF CONDITIONS IN WHICH A PERSON COULD FACE A CHARGE OF MINNESOTA CRIMINAL VEHICULAR HOMICIDE. The most common situation occurs when a drunk driver causes an accident that results in the death of another.  This was most recently highlighted in the Amy Senser case.  This act fits a charge of criminal vehicular homicide in Minnesota under a number of the conditions listed above. The level of the driver’s culpability will largely depend on the facts of each individual Minnesota criminal vehicular homicide case.  If the driver’s BAC was under .08 and the driver did not previously use a Schedule I or II controlled substance, then the entire set of circumstances that led to the collision and death will need to be vigorously investigated.  Or, if the driver is charged with criminal vehicular homicide in Minnesota because of the presence of a controlled substance, it is an affirmative defense that the driver used the controlled substance according to the terms of a valid prescription. A DRIVER CHARGED WITH MINNESOTA CRIMINAL VEHICULAR HOMICIDE WILL NEED TO PREPARE A STRONG DEFENSE TO AN ACCUSATION OF GROSS NEGLIGENCE. Gross negligence will depend on all of the circumstances that led to the collision and resulting death, including time of day, road conditions, traffic conditions, speed of everyone involved, etc.  If convicted, the driver faces a presumptive sentence of at least 48 months in prison. You will want an experienced lawyer on your side if you are facing a charge of criminal vehicular homicide.  Our St. Paul criminal defense lawyers are familiar with the issues and defenses in a criminal vehicular homicide case.   The lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka will aggressively defend you if you have been charged.

Read More