Supreme Court Limits Relief of Expungements in Minnesota

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

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Undocumented Workers and Workers Compensation

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Many undocumented workers in Minnesota who suffer injuries at work are nervous about filing a work comp claim. They do not know whether filing a work comp claim will alert authorities to their illegal presence in the United States. Minnesota law has addressed this issue. Status as an undocumented worker does not prohibit an injured employee from receiving workers compensation benefits. MINNESOTA SUPREME COURT SAYS UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS CAN RECEIVE WORKERS COMPENSATION BENEFITS. In 2000, an employee by the name of Fernando Correa suffered a lower back injury while at work.  Correa underwent several surgeries and received wage loss benefits.  In 2001, Correa’s employer and insurer terminated the Correa’s position based on his lack of legal authority to work in the United States.  They also petitioned to discontinue his wage loss benefits. Following a work comp hearing, the workers compensation judge rejected the employer’s argument that the employee’s wage loss was due to his unauthorized status and the employee was awarded wage loss benefits. The matter was appealed to both the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court.  The Minnesota Supreme Court held that as long as the employee was able to document a diligent job search, then he was entitled to workers compensation benefits even though he was an undocumented worker. The case was then sent back to the Minnesota Work Comp Court of Appeals to decide the case in light of the decision from the Minnesota Supreme Court. The issue became whether undocumented workers can conduct diligent job searches under Minnesota workers compensation law to trigger receiving work comp benefits.  Correa’s employer argued that there is a fundamental and insurmountable problem in providing appropriate rehabilitation and job search assistance to undocumented workers, and further argued that it is a federal crime under the Immigration Reform Control Act for an individual to recruit or refer an undocumented worker for employment. The Minnesota Work Comp Court of Appeals held that the employee’s undocumented status does not by itself prohibit him from receiving workers compensation benefits.  The Court of Appeals held that a workers compensation judge, in determining the eligibility of workers compensation benefits for undocumented workers, must conduct an analysis of the employee’s physical condition, level of permanent partial disability, age, training, experience, and the type of work available in the community. In summary, an injured employee’s status as an undocumented worker does not, by itself, prohibit receiving workers compensation benefits. However, status as an undocumented worker is a factor a judge can consider as it pertains to wage loss benefits because it could impact the ability to conduct a diligent job search. HIRE FARMINGTON MINNESOTA’S BEST WORKERS COMP ATTORNEYS If you are an undocumented worker and have suffered a work injury and have reservations about filing a claim, please contact our office for a free consultation

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Minnesota Passes New Revenge Porn Law

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

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Workplace Injuries

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One of the key ideas behind workers’ comp laws is that the employer provides a benefit to an employee that covers any on-the-job injury, regardless of what that injury may be and without having to determine who was at fault. The fact is that there are real limits behind the type of injury and even how the injury occurred. Such an exclusion occurs when an employee is injured while engaging in an illegal activity or if the injury was self-inflected. If the injury occurred while the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then they will not be covered. An employee may also not be covered if they were engaging in a restricted activity. However, there are many injuries that are covered by workplace accidents and they can happen on or off the employer’s property. If you have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits to help you pay your living expenses, as well as provide you with the medical care and vocational services that you need. OBTAINING COMPENSATION FOR YOUR WORKPLACE INJURY A work-related injury doesn’t need to occur on the employer’s property. If an employee is at another facility, traveling on the job, working off-site, in an automobile during a work-related activity, or doing anything that is considered related to their job, then the injury can be classified as work-related. Even if an illness doesn’t show up for years, it may still be considered compensable. This can include respiratory issues, mesothelioma, or cancer. Illnesses that include the flu, a headache that is believed to be the result of something on the job, or complications from a mosquito bite are examples of illnesses that are not considered compensable through workers’ comp. Mental illnesses may also be covered if they are the result of an event that occurred on the job. There is a great deal of scrutiny when it comes to these cases. However, what is not compensable are emotional injuries that occur from something such as defamation or discrimination. PROTECTING YOUR RIGHTS When you do decide to file a workers’ comp claim, what an employer can’t do is retaliate against you for filing a workers’ comp claim in the way of firing or demotion. If a claim is denied due to bad faith, then your Minnesota work comp attorney will get to the bottom of the matter as soon as possible and be able to get results for you. Throughout the entire process, your rights will be protected, your interests will come first, and everything will be done for you to receive the benefits that you deserve. CONTACT A ST. PAUL WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYER Workplace injuries can be devastating. You go to work as usual and expect to come home as usual. Instead, something happens that results in a serious injury. From there, medical care is needed and so is financial support in order to pay for living expenses. If you need to file your claim, the help of a workers’ comp attorney will improve the accuracy of the claim. If you have been denied, then you can appeal that denial. To learn more about your workers’ comp filing options, contact Arechigo & Stokka at 651-222-6603 to schedule a free consultation.

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

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

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Drug & Narcotics

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

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Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct

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MINNESOTA CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT LAWS COVER AN EXTREMELY BROAD AMOUNT OF BEHAVIOR. Minnesota criminal sexual conduct offenses are charged in degrees of seriousness, ranging from extremely serious felony first-degree offenses to gross misdemeanor fifth-degree offenses. The level of offense depends on the nature of the circumstances, the allegations, the amount of available evidence supporting the allegations, and the prior history – if any – of the charged individual. FIRST DEGREE CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree is the most severe sex crime in Minnesota.   A first degree Minnesota sex crime can be charged under any of the following circumstances: Sex or sexual contact with a person under 13 years old if the actor was more than 36 months older Sex with a person 13 to 16 years old if the actor was more than 48 months older Sex with a person under 16 years old if the actor had a significant relationship with the individual The use or threat of great bodily harm to accomplish sexual penetration The complainant suffered a personal injury during un-consenting sex This offense is most commonly charged in situations involving child molestation, child sexual abuse, and forcible rape. A mistake of age is not a defense to a charge of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree.  Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st-degree MN – Penalty: This offense carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, and possibly longer if other aggravating factors exist. SECOND DEGREE CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree covers all of the circumstances of a first-degree offense but does not require sexual penetration.   This sex crime punishes sexual contact under any of the circumstances of the first-degree offense.   A mistake of age is not a defense.   Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd-degree MN – Penalty: A second-degree sex crime conviction carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. THIRD DEGREE CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree punishes sexual penetration under any of the following circumstances: The complainant is under 13 years old and the actor is no more than 36 months older The complainant is at least 13 years old but less than 16 years old and the actor is no more than 24 months older The complainant is at least 16 years old but less than 18 and the actor is more than 48 months older and in a position of authority The complainant is at least 16 years old but less than 18 and the actor has a significant relationship with the individual The complainant is a patient of a psychotherapist and there is an active psychotherapist-patient relationship The actor is a member of the clergy and the complainant was seeking the actor’s advice or counseling The actor knows or has reason to know that the complainant is mentally impaired, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct is most commonly charged in situations where people have been drinking and a person – usually female – claims that someone had sex with her when she was either passed out or unable to withhold her consent. It’s always tough to know what really happened in these circumstances.   It’s not uncommon for both parties to be intoxicated during a sexual encounter and not really remember the details of the incident. It can be frightening to find yourself charged with a sex crime for what seemed like a consensual sexual encounter. A mistake of age is a defense, but only to a charge under the second bullet point and only if the actor is no more than 120 months older than the complainant.   In this situation, the burden is on the actor to prove that the actor reasonably believed the complainant to be at least 16 years old.   A mistake of age is not a defense under any of the other circumstances.   Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd-degree MN – Penalty: This offense carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. We’ve successfully defended sex crimes.  See Some Results FOURTH DEGREE CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Fourth Degree covers all of the circumstances of a third-degree offense but does not require sexual penetration.  This sex crime punishes sexual contact under any of the circumstances of the third-degree offense.   The same limited defense applies.   Criminal Sexual Conduct 4th-degree MN – Penalty: This offense carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. FIFTH DEGREE CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Fifth Degree punishes non-consensual sexual contact and masturbation or lewd exhibition of genitals in the presence of a minor. A first-time offense is a gross misdemeanor offense. A felony charge will be filed if the person has a previous fifth-degree conviction. Minnesota criminal sexual conduct crimes are some of the most serious crimes in the state. Not only does a defendant face lengthy prison sentences, but registration requirements are triggered by a sex crime conviction as well. Theses cases involve complicated evidentiary rules.   The use of witness testimony, prior out-of-court statements of a complainant or defendant, and the prior sexual history of a complainant or defendant can be very difficult to navigate.   The more serious sex crimes also almost always involve complex scientific evidence, such as DNA. HIRE ONE OF THE BEST DEFENSE LAWYERS IN ST. PAUL MINNESOTA A conviction of a sex crime can have a life-altering impact.   You need a St. Paul, Minnesota criminal defense lawyer who knows how to prepare an aggressive defense.   Contact us today for a free consultation. Frequently Asked Questions Section:

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I Was Arrested for DWI. Now What?

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

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What Happens at a Work Compensation Hearing?

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In most work injury cases, the injured worker’s attorney and the representatives from the workers’ compensation insurance provider negotiate a settlement for past wages, medical bills and any other benefits you may be eligible for. In a small percentage of cases, where the insurance company and the lawyer representing the injured worker cannot come to an agreement, the case will go to a hearing. Purpose of a Workers’ Compensation Hearing The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether the injured worker is eligible for work comp benefits. Both sides (the injured worker and the insurance company denying their benefits) present their evidence to a work comp judge who will decide whether or not the requested benefits should be awarded to the injured worker. Process of a Workers’ Compensation Hearing The process is similar to a court room but less formal than a traditional court of law. While it’s not required, it is certainly suggested that you have an attorney for the hearing.  Before the hearing, both sides will typically exchange whatever evidence they are bringing to the hearing. The hearing is overseen by a workers’ comp judge; there is not a jury present.  When you have the workers’ compensation lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka on your side we will help you prepare for, and successfully work through your workers’ compensation hearing. Evidence that will Be Introduced at a Work Comp Hearing During the hearing both sides will present evidence including medical records, statements from the hospital, witness testimony, reports, photos or videos. The judge will then make a ruling within 60 days of the hearing.  Outcomes of a Workers’ Compensation Hearing After the hearing either you will have been granted the benefits that you requested, or if they were again denied, then we can work towards filing an appeal.  Free Consultation for Injured Workers Only a small percentage of work injury claims go all the way to the point of having a hearing. You do not have to wait until the point of the hearing to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer.  You can hire an attorney to help you through the entire process. This can often put you in a much better position to negotiate a favorable settlement before the need for a hearing even arises.  It costs $0.00 to hire a work comp lawyer to represent you. We are paid a percentage of the recovery we secure on your behalf, so if you do not win, you pay nothing. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about your options and the benefits that may be available to you.

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Jury Finds Client Not Guilty of Threats of Violence

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We recently wrapped up a week-long jury trial representing a client who was charged with a single count of Threats of Violence. This offense was formerly known as Terroristic Threats.  It’s a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. OUR CLIENT Our client was a 37-year-old male. This was his first criminal offense of any kind. Our client had formerly worked as a video editor for Hubbard Broadcasting, specifically KSTP-TV, for the last 10 years. He consistently had positive annual performance reviews. Our client was fired in late April 2017 after a disagreement with his producer over an error on a news video. Hubbard attempted to characterize the termination as “for cause,” thus making him ineligible for unemployment benefits. Our client successfully appealed the denial of unemployment benefits on his own. Hubbard attempted to argue that our client engaged in misconduct during his disagreement with his producer, but the unemployment law judge found Hubbard’s explanation wasn’t credible. The unemployment law judge found our client matter-of-factly told his producer how he felt and did not engage in employee misconduct.   Our client returned to Hubbard in November 2017 in an attempt to get his job back.  His unemployment was about to run out and he was having difficulty finding work. Hubbard refused to give him his job back. A Hubbard security officer attempted to call our client to tell him to stay away from the Hubbard campus after our client was seen at a picnic table on June 10, 2018. That was a Sunday. Our client had sat at a picnic table at Hubbard, had a cigar, and reminisced about his old friends and mentors. He did not have contact with anyone on that date. THE CASE The security officer attempted to reach our client for several days, leaving a few voicemails asking our client to call him back. Our client finally returned the security officer’s calls on June 29, 2018. In response to being told to stay away from Hubbard, our client told the security officer “you need to change your f-ing policies, you know what happened in Maryland.” This phone call took place a day after the tragic shooting at the Maryland Gazette newspaper. The statement on the phone call was the basis for the Threats of Violence charge. The state accused our client of making a threat to commit a crime of violence. A charge of Threats of Violence can be a difficult charge for the state to prove at trial. As we all know, the state carries the burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In a trial on a charge of Threats of Violence, the state has to identify which specific crime the defendant threatened to commit. And it can’t just be any crime; it has to be what’s known as a crime of violence. A crime of violence has a very specific definition under the law. In this case, the state chose to rely on a threatened crime of Second Degree Assault with a Dangerous Weapon that caused others to fear immediate bodily harm or death. THE TRIAL We didn’t deny that our client made the statement on that June 29, 2018 phone call.  Rather, we argued at trial that our client’s statement did not constitute a threat. The state chose to focus the overwhelming majority of its case and witness testimony on events that happened back in 2017. The state presented witness after witness from Hubbard Broadcasting who all testified that our client was terminated for engaging in a heated discussion with his producer, that our client wasn’t happy when he was fired, and that he returned in November 2017 to ask for his job back. We knew what the state’s plan was before trial – it was going to try to paint our client as a disgruntled former employee who couldn’t get over being fired. This was so far from the truth, so disingenuous, and so unfair. It was actually sad to watch what they were trying to do to our client. On top of that, Hubbard hired a big shot criminal defense lawyer to help prepare their witnesses to testify. It was an absolute hit job. Thankfully, the jury was able to see through the state’s efforts to get a conviction. The jury’s patience seemed to grow thinner and thinner with each new witness who came in and talked about irrelevant stuff that happened in 2017. We hardly had any cross-examination questions for some of these witnesses, in an attempt to drive home the message to the jury that their testimony had nothing to do with this case.   The one witness we did spend some time cross-examining was the lead investigator, Sgt. Peterson. Sgt. Peterson conceded that the phone call was vague, that our client never said he was actually going to go to Hubbard Broadcasting, that our client never referred to any particular individual, that our client never mentioned any weapon, never said he was going to do something with a weapon, and that the location of our client was not known during the phone call.  Sgt. Peterson acknowledged that there was insufficient probable cause to believe our client had committed the offense of Threats of Violence. The sole issue for the jury to decide was whether the statement our client made on the June 29, 2018 phone call constituted a threat to commit Second Degree Assault with a Dangerous Weapon. We vehemently reminded the jury of its task during closing argument. We told the jury to disregard all testimony on issues occurring in 2017. In addition, we argued that our client never threatened to do anything. He made a comment out of anger in the heat of the moment after being told he wasn’t welcome at Hubbard. There is a drastic difference between making a statement out of anger – even a comment made in poor taste referring to a mass shooting – and actually threatening to threaten someone with a dangerous...

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