Minnesota Criminal Vehicular Homicide

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Criminal Vehicular Homicide in MN 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. Conditions to Consider When Charged There are 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 the 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. Contact a MN Defense Attorney  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.

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Workplace Assaults & Work Comp

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Co-workers don’t always get along.  Sometimes they fight.  Sometimes they get injured.   If they do get injured, the issue becomes whether the injury is covered by workers’ compensation insurance.  This issue can have major implications because workers’ compensation insurance covers wage loss, medical expenses, and compensates for permanent injuries. Minnesota Statute 176.011, subd. 16, provides: injury arising out of and in the course of employment…shall not include an injury caused by an act of a third person or fellow employee because of personal reasons and not directed against the employee as an employee, or because of the employment. Determining Whether Workplace Assaults Are Covered Under Minnesota Work Comp This basically boils down to whether the employee can show that the injury caused by the third person was intentional.   If the injury was caused by an intentional workplace assault, the next step is to determine if the workplace assault was motivated by the fact that the employee was an employee.   If the injury was caused as a result of a workplace assault that occurred for personal reasons, any loss will not be covered by Minnesota workers’ compensation insurance. Minnesota has developed a test for determining whether injuries suffered from a workplace assault are covered under work comp: Injuries are not covered under work comp if the assailant was motivated by personal animosity towards the victim arising from circumstances wholly unconnected to the employment. Injuries are covered under work comp if the workplace assault was motivated solely out of the activity of the victim as an employee. In the middle ground are cases where the workplace assault was directed against the victim neither “as an employee” nor for “reasons personal to him.”  These types of injuries are typically covered by Minnesota work comp. Consider Hiring A Work Comp Lawyer If You Suffered A Workplace Assault You may be entitled to a number of different types of work comp benefits if you suffered injuries in a workplace assault.   The video below explains why you should consider hiring an attorney for injuries sustained in a workplace assault.

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Medical Emergency Exception

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The final motor vehicle search warrant exception is known as the medical emergency exception. This search warrant exception is also referred to as a welfare check.   Under the medical emergency exception, the police may forcibly enter a closed vehicle if they see that the driver of the vehicle is unconscious, incoherent or otherwise non-responsive.  The entry of the vehicle is justified under the assumption that the police have a reasonable duty to check on the welfare of an unconscious occupant of a vehicle.   There must be a reasonable belief that the person is in immediate need of emergency aid before the police can enter the vehicle without a warrant.  If that belief if met, this exception allows the police to search the vehicle and the person without a warrant for purposes of discovering something that might aid in determining the cause of the person’s condition.   Evidence of a crime discovered during a search under the medical emergency exception is admissible under the plain view exception. COURTS WILL ANALYZE A SEARCH UNDER THE MEDICAL EMERGENCY EXCEPTION UNDER A TWO-PART TEST. First, a court will look at the facts and circumstances of the case and determine whether the officer was motivated by a need to render emergency aid.   If that first step is met, the court will then determine whether a reasonable person under the same circumstances would have thought an emergency existed which required emergency aid.   As is always the case, the burden is on the state to show that the warrantless police search was justified under this medical emergency exception. The scope of the search under the medical emergency exception will be limited to how quickly the searching officer can find information related to the person’s identity and possible medical condition.   Searches of briefcases and other containers in the vehicle may be justified under a need to identify an individual or to find a medical alert card that might assist in rendering aid to the person.  The search under this medical emergency exception must end when it is apparent to the officer that emergency aid is no longer needed. If you or someone you know recently had a vehicle searched by the police without a search warrant, contact our Minneapolis/St. Paul criminal defense lawyers for a free case review.   Our criminal defense attorneys will fight to suppress all evidence unlawfully discovered by the police.

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