Felony Charges Dropped

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A CLIENT’S FELONY CHARGES WERE DROPPED BY THE RAMSEY COUNTY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE TODAY. The client was facing felony animal cruelty charges.  The charges stemmed from a falling out the client had with a former roommate.  The ex-roommate left behind a bunch of personal belongings, including a pet python snake. After my client and his wife asked the ex-roommates to leave their house, the ex-roommate began threatening to kill my client and his family.  The ex-roommate’s threats were serious enough to compel my client to obtain a Harassment Restraining Order and Order for Protection against the former roommate.  My client and his wife also called St. Paul Police to make arrangements for the ex-roommates to pick up their belongings. Arrangements were made for a specific date and time, but the former roommates came several hours after the agreed-upon time.  My client had placed the snake in its cage outside covered with a blanket.  Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on your view of snakes) the snake died before its owners came to pick it up.  The former roommates called the police to report the death of the snake.  As a result, my client ended up facing felony animal cruelty charges. THE STATE ORIGINALLY OFFERED TO REDUCE THE CHARGE TO A MISDEMEANOR IF MY CLIENT PLED GUILTY. We declined the offer and continued to challenge the charge.  After additional information was brought to the prosecutor’s attention, it was clear that my client never acted with intent to harm that snake.  In fact, given the circumstances, my client probably went above and beyond what most people would have done in his situation.  The felony charges were dropped at today’s court appearance. THIS CHARGE PROBABLY SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN FILED AGAINST MY CLIENT IN THE FIRST PLACE. After being retained, we started to gather all the information that led to the death of the snake.  Once this information was presented to the prosecutor, the felony charges were dropped. HIRE ONE OF ST. PAUL’S BEST ATTORNEYS TODAY If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, call our St. Paul criminal defense lawyers today.  Our Minnesota criminal defense lawyers provide a free consultation.  If retained, our St. Paul criminal defense attorneys will prepare an aggressive defense.  Call today.

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Do I Have to Let the Police In My House?

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DO I HAVE TO LET THE POLICE IN MY HOUSE? In a word, no.  The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches, which includes the entry of a home by police without a warrant.  Courts have historically given homes the highest level of protection under the Fourth Amendment.  Homes have such a strong privacy protection that the Supreme Court has said, “The physical entry of the home is the chief evil against which the wording of the Fourth Amendment is directed.” WHAT IF THE POLICE HAVE AN ARREST WARRANT? Whether police can enter a home with an arrest warrant to search for a suspect depends on whose home the police want to enter.  An arrest warrant can authorize police entry of a home if the police have an arrest warrant for a suspect, know where the suspect lives, and want to enter the suspect’s home to locate the suspect.  For example, the police have an arrest warrant for John Doe for an alleged crime of terrorist threats and they know John Doe lives at 123 Main Street in Minnesota.  The arrest warrant would authorize the police to enter 123 Main Street to look for John Doe. However, police do not have the same authority to enter a home with a search warrant if they are looking for a suspect at a residence other than the suspect’s.  Say the police show up at 456 Main Street in Minnesota and tell the homeowner they have an arrest warrant for John Doe and want to come in and look for Mr. Doe.  The homeowner does not have to let the police into the home.  The one catch here is if police are able to prove that they had a reasonable belief that the suspect resided at 456 Main Street and also had a reasonable belief that the suspect was at the home at the time the police demanded entry.  This combination of circumstances can justify police entry of a home with an arrest warrant. An arrest warrant does not authorize police to search contents of a home.  If police are justified in entering a home with an arrest warrant, they are limited to looking for the individual.  This would not include opening drawers, for example, because there is no possibility of a suspect hiding in a drawer. WHAT IF THE POLICE HAVE A SEARCH WARRANT? A homeowner does not have the same protections against police entry if the police have a search warrant.  A search warrant must be signed by a judge.  This means the police have submitted an application and affidavit to a judge stating why they think evidence of criminal activity will be found in a particular residence.  A judge reviewed the search warrant application and officer’s affidavit and determined that the police were likely to find the evidence they are looking for a particular residence.  Once signed by a judge, the search warrant gives the police authority to enter the home against the consent of the homeowner. The scope of authority, in other words, exactly where the police can search, will depend on the nature of the evidence the police are seeking.  If the police have a search warrant authorizing the search of a home for a stolen TV, for example, they would not be allowed to open drawers because there’s no reasonable likelihood of finding a TV in a drawer. ARE THERE OTHER REASONS THE POLICE CAN ENTER A HOME WITHOUT A WARRANT? Minnesota law allows the police to enter a home without an arrest warrant or search warrant in a handful of limited and unique circumstances. First, and maybe not so unique, is if the homeowner consents and freely and voluntarily allows the police to enter the home. The police may also be allowed to enter a home without a warrant or consent if they are in hot pursuit of a fleeing suspect. The police must have observed the suspect enter the residence they want to enter. The police may also enter a residence without a warrant if they are concerned for the safety of human life or to prevent the destruction or loss of evidence. FREE CONSULTATIONS Our Minneapolis-St. Paul criminal defense lawyers have successfully fought back against the illegal entry of a home.  Our Minnesota defense attorneys have had evidence suppressed and charges dismissed based on unlawful searches of a home.  Call us today if you’d like a free consultation.

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Client Avoids Prison After 3rd Degree Murder Charge

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OUR MINNESOTA CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS KEEP CLIENT OUT OF PRISON A recent client from Minneapolis, B.H., was facing a lengthy prison sentence after she was charged with contributing to the death of a young man who overdosed on drugs he bought from our client.  B.H. was charged Great Bodily Harm Caused by the Distribution of Drugs, 3rd Degree Murder, and Second Degree Manslaughter after it was discovered she had a role in J.C.’s death.  The charges were all serious felony offenses and carried several years in prison. J.C. OVERDOSED ON FENTANYL The evidence of this case showed the J.C. had known B.H. from prior mutual contacts.  In October of 2014, J.C. traveled to B.H.’s home in Minneapolis.  J.C. knew that B.H.’s partner was sick with cancer and had a prescription for Fentanyl to help with the pain.  J.C. offered to purchase some of the unused Fentanyl patches from B.H.  B.H. agreed, mostly because she and her partner needed the extra money.  B.H. did not know that J.C. had serious addiction problems and a history of previous suicidal overdose attempts.  J.C. purchased the Fentanyl in Minneapolis and returned to his home in rural Minnesota.  He was found dead a couple days later.  J.C. overdosed on the fentanyl he obtained from our client. PLEA NEGOTIATIONS A prominent Minneapolis criminal defense lawyer asked us to co-counsel B.H.’s case.  We have experience arguing the types of motions that are needed to help keep a client facing prison from spending several years behind bars.  After internal discussions with co-counsel, we agreed that the best course of action would be to approach the prosecuting attorney with an early proposed resolution.  We hoped that the time and work the prosecutor might avoid with an early resolution would help us get a favorable starting point for our client.  It worked. The prosecutor ultimately agreed to dismiss the 3rd Degree Murder charge and the 2nd Degree Manslaughter charge.  Part of the reason behind the dismissals was the early proposed resolution, but we also hinted at our defense – and we think the prosecutor recognized the legitimacy of the defense. To convicted B.H. of the 3rd Degree Murder charge, the prosecutor would have to prove that her actions of selling the Fentanyl to J.C. was the proximate cause of J.C.’s death.  Proximate cause is a legal term that essentially means the primary cause of the resulting harm or injury.  It was our position that B.H. did not have any knowledge that J.C. was going to use the Fentanyl in the manner he did.  J.C. smoked several of the patches and was found with additional patches inside his mouth.  With his history of suicide attempts, it was clear that J.C. was battling his own very serious personal demons.  If the case proceeded to trial, we intended to argue that J.C.’s own actions were as much a part of the result as B.H.’s.  I think the prosecutor recognized it might have been tough to prove that B.H.’s actions were the primary cause of death.  As a result, we struck a deal that called for B.H. to plead guilty to Great Bodily Harm Caused by the Distribution of Drugs. B.H. FACED SEVERAL YEARS IN PRISON A conviction of Great Bodily Harm Caused by the Distribution of Drugs carries a sentence of several years in prison.  The offense is known as a “presumptive commit.”  A criminal offense that is a presumptive commit is one where it is presumed that the offender will go to prison if convicted.  The only way to avoid prison is to convince the judge that your client does not deserve to go to prison (for a number of different reasons and/or circumstances) and the goals of sentencing will be better served by placing the person on probation. The other Minneapolis criminal defense lawyer and filed several motions to keep our client out of prison.  After a lengthy and emotional sentencing hearing, the judge granted our motions.  He agreed that the circumstances of the case, as well as B.H.’s clean criminal record and her ability to succeed on probation, warranted placing her on probation instead of sending her to prison.  B.H. was sentenced to 10 years of probation, ordered to serve 120 days in the county jail, and pay a $50 fine. While some people may take issue what they might perceive to be the lenient sentence, it really was the right outcome.  B.H. is not a drug dealer by any stretch of the definition.  She did not need to go to prison to appreciate her mistake or to be punished for her actions. Minnesota criminal offenses carrying a presumptive commit to prison require the knowledge and creativity of an experienced Minneapolis criminal defense lawyer.  Our defense attorneys have successfully helped a number of deserving clients avoid prison and atone for their mistakes on probation.  Call us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Minneapolis criminal defense attorney.

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Minnesota DWI Penalties

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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 time of the 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.

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Minnesota DWI Field Sobriety Tests

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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.

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Inventory Search Exception

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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.

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First Appearance in Minnesota Criminal Court

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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.

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Federal Revenge Porn Law Announced

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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.

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Do I Have to Let Cops in My House?

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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.

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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.

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