What Is a Continuance for Dismissal in Minnesota?

    | Read Time: 4 minutes

The police and prosecution are not the same entity, even if they work together to bring charges in many instances. Police investigate alleged crimes and attempt to develop probable cause to arrest someone or to charge someone. The state prosecutors take over once a criminal case enters the court system. Prosecutors are sworn to uphold the ends of justice. In theory, they have the obligation to deliver a just result in every case. Through proper investigation, it is possible to convince a prosecutor that a conviction may not be necessary. Instead, agreeing to a continuance for dismissal can be the best option for the person accused of a crime.  Receiving the benefit of a continuance for dismissal is a very good outcome for a criminal case. However, prosecutors do not give them out in every case. Having a tough, experienced, and savvy criminal defense lawyer negotiate a continuance for dismissal in MN on your behalf could increase the likelihood the prosecution will agree to one. At Arechigo & Stokka, our award-winning criminal defense lawyers know the system well. Relying on their strong rapport and sterling reputation, Arechigo & Stokka criminal defense lawyers will work tirelessly for a favorable outcome, such as a continuance for dismissal, in your case. How Does a Continuance for Dismissal in MN Work? Minnesota law gives prosecutors the authority to charge people with crimes and recommend an outcome to the court. This is called “prosecutorial discretion.” Prosecutorial discretion gives the state’s attorneys a say in what charges they will prosecute. In other words, the idea of prosecutorial discretion means that prosecutors can overrule and change police charging decisions, including deciding not to prosecute a case at all.  Minnesota’s law stating that a prosecutor is the only one with authority to agree to a continuance for dismissal is a good example of prosecutorial discretion.  Why Is a Continuance for Dismissal a Great Result in Your Criminal Case? The state of Minnesota is not interested in prosecuting every case to the fullest extent of the law. Part of the reason is that the system would completely bog down if prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers could not plea bargain a case. Perhaps more importantly, the vast majority of people, especially many first-time offenders, do not deserve to go to jail. Those folks benefit greatly from a continuance for dismissal.  Having a criminal conviction on your record can have terrible consequences. You could lose your job, your home, your children, your right to carry a gun, and even your ability to remain in the U.S. if you’re not a citizen. Therefore, you need to do what you can to make sure you keep a clean record. A continuance for dismissal helps keep your record clean.  The procedure is straightforward. If your lawyer convinces the prosecutor your case is worthy of a continuance for dismissal in MN, then you have to sign a written agreement. As part of that agreement, the prosecutor has to talk with any alleged victim to get their input on the disposition. The judge must sign off on it as well.  If the judge consents to the terms of the continuance for dismissal, then the court will suspend the prosecution of the case. The length of suspension cannot be longer than the length of probation a judge could give after a conviction. What Does the Agreement Say? You, as the accused, must agree to obey all laws. The prosecutor could require you to do something in exchange for the continuance for dismissal such as attend drug treatment, pay restitution, or attend certain classes. The prosecutor might ask you to agree that some facts are true in the written agreement, but we can attempt to keep this admission out of the court record.  You must keep in mind that you are not pleading guilty to anything. The court will automatically dismiss the case when the continuance period is over if you meet all the conditions. You can work to expunge the case from your record shortly thereafter. That is a great result. The state cannot reinstate the charges against you ever again as long as you comply with the terms of the continuance agreement. You do not waive your constitutional rights when accepting a continuance for dismissal in MN. However, you must agree that you will not ask the judge for a dismissal for a speedy trial violation if the prosecution reinstates the case against you. What Can Happen If You Do Not Meet All the Conditions? Probation can be tough on people. Some folks are not accustomed to the structure that probation demands. If you violate probationary conditions after getting a continuance for dismissal, the court will put the case back on the trial list. The judge cannot sentence you to jail for the violation because there was no previous conviction entered against you. However, you will face criminal penalties if you are convicted of the crime.  Once back on the trial list, you have the chance to file pre-trial motions to suppress evidence and then take the case to trial if you decide that’s the best option for you. Working on Rehabilitation Can Shorten the Continuance Time Under subdivision 7 of Rule 27.05 of the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure, you can file a motion and ask the judge to dismiss your case early. The judge can dismiss your case if: Your lawyer asks the judge to end the dismissal period earlier than stated,  The judge gives each side a chance to argue its side of the case,  You have no new criminal cases, and  The judge finds probation worked for you.  The prosecution can object, but they might not in some cases. Each case is different, so you need to review everything carefully with your lawyer. Working with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Gives You the Best Chance to Receive a Continuance for Dismissal At Arechigo & Stokka, we fight for the best result for you. Our history of success speaks for itself. We have...

Read More

Defense for Charges of 5th Degree Assault in Minnesota

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

Minnesota 5th-degree assault charges are serious allegations. You face jail or prison time if a judge or jury convicts you of that crime. Additionally, you could receive probation, fines, and lose a laundry list of rights that you enjoy if you lose your case. Take swift action to prevent losing your case if you have charges alleging 5th-degree assault in MN by calling the dedicated and award-winning assault and battery defense lawyers from Arechigo & Stokka. Our criminal defense team has the experience and resources you need, as well as a track record of successfully defending clients in tough situations like yours. Do not wait to see if the state has a case against you before aligning yourself with a criminal defense lawyer who gives you the best chance to experience a favorable outcome. Contact us online or call (651) 222-6603 for immediate assistance. What Is 5th Degree Assault? Minnesota statutes section 609.224 defines 5th-degree assault as either a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony. The difference between the three charges depends on the presence of certain factors. Remember that no matter what degree of charge you face, you need to have a lawyer who will take the time to understand your situation completely.  Misdemeanor 5th Degree Assault A judge or jury could find you guilty of misdemeanor 5th-degree assault based on two theories. You are guilty of misdemeanor 5th-degree assault if the jury or judge finds that you either: committed an act while having the intent to cause fear in another person of immediate bodily harm or death; or  Intentionally inflicted bodily harm or attempted to inflict bodily harm on another. The maximum sentence you face for a Minnesota misdemeanor 5th-degree assault conviction is 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.  Gross Misdemeanor 5th Degree Assault in MN A gross misdemeanor carries the possibility of a one-year jail sentence, along with a fine of not more than $3,000, or both fine and imprisonment. Minnesota law indicates that committing a 5th-degree assault on the same person within the last 10 years qualifies as a gross misdemeanor if the previous crime qualified as a domestic violence offense.  Minnesota law also says that you can commit a gross misdemeanor if you commit a 5th-degree assault within three years of another domestic offense. In this case, the prosecutor does not have to prove that you committed the crime against the same person. Instead, any domestic violence incident can suffice. Under both scenarios, the prosecutor can use a juvenile finding of delinquency against you as a qualifying charge. 5th Degree Assault as a Felony Minnesota law ups the ante on repeat offenders. You could face a felony 5th-degree assault charge if you have two domestic violence convictions against the same person in 10 years. Also, you face a felony charge if you had two prior domestic violence convictions in the last three years, even if the events involved different victims. The prosecution can use juvenile delinquency findings on your record to build a felony case against you. The penalty for a conviction of 5th-degree assault in Minnesota as a felony is a maximum of five years in the state prison. The judge could assess a fine of not more than $10,000 or order both a fine and imprisonment.  We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to setup a consultation. 5th Degree Assault and Firearms Minnesota law prohibits a person from possessing a pistol with a prior conviction for 5th-degree assault, among other offenses. You cannot have a pistol for three years after a 5th-degree assault conviction. However, you can possess a pistol again if you do not pick up any charges within those three years.  Violation of this part of the law is a gross misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is one year in jail, a fine of $1,000, or both.  Why Is It Important to Vigorously Contest Charges of 5th Degree Assault in MN? A conviction for any offense, even a misdemeanor, can come back to haunt you. As we discussed, the prosecution can use a previous conviction to file enhanced charges against you. You face more severe penalties if you pick up another charge with a prior conviction for a 5th-degree assault.  By vigorously contesting your charges, you could prevent a conviction from appearing on your criminal record or your juvenile record.  Your right to possess a gun after any 5th-degree assault conviction is in jeopardy. You may get your pistol back if you do not commit any violent criminal offenses within three years. The statute clearly says that you retain your property rights to have a pistol. However, the law gives judges the power to restrict your ability to possess a firearm. Those aren’t the only problems you face. You could lose the right to vote after a felony conviction. Also, you could also lose your job or professional license or have difficulty finding employment if you have a conviction for a violent offense. You Must Take Charges of 5th Degree Assault in MN Seriously Start your defense immediately by contacting the experienced Minnesota assault and battery defense lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka. Waiting to see what happens could only make matters worse. Don’t wait to see if the alleged victim is going to cooperate with the prosecution of the case. Take control of your future instead. Contact Arechigo & Stokka at (651) 222-6603 today!

Read More

Public Defender vs Private Attorney | Which Is Better?

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

Being arrested and charged with a crime can be a terrifying experience. You may be thinking about legal representation and wondering what the differences are with a public defender vs private attorney. There are pros and cons to each, which is why it’s imperative to weigh your options carefully. In most cases, hiring a private attorney is better, especially if you are facing serious charges. To learn more, contact or call (651) 222-6603 to speak with a Minnesota criminal defense attorney today. What You Get With a Public Defender One of the most common things people ask at their initial consultation is, Is it better to have a public defender or a private lawyer? With a public defender, you are represented by someone who is paid by the government. You cannot choose who your public defender is. The upside with a public defender versus private attorney is you are not paying out of pocket for legal fees. Public defenders also work with the same prosecutors regularly, so they may be well-positioned to negotiate favorable plea agreements. Unfortunately, public defenders are almost always overworked and underpaid. With a heavy caseload, you aren’t likely to get a lot of time with your attorney. You may find yourself feeling like you have not had enough time to discuss your case with your lawyer. And not everyone is eligible for a public defender. You must fill out an application asking for a public defender to represent you. A judge will review your personal financial circumstances and determine whether you qualify for a public defender. What You Get With a Private Attorney When you hire a private defense attorney over a public defender, you can choose your own lawyer. That means you can interview multiple attorneys and find the one you connect with most. You can also choose someone with experience defending clients with charges similar to yours. With a public defender, you have no idea what types of cases they’ve handled in the past. A private attorney may have a lower caseload, and they can devote the time necessary to get a favorable outcome in your case. Usually, you will have an easier time contacting a private attorney than a public defender. The only real downside with a private attorney is the cost. You will be paying for legal fees and expenses, whereas a public defender is assigned to those who can’t afford to hire their own counsel. Why a Private Criminal Defense Attorney May Be Your Best Choice In almost every criminal matter, hiring a Minnesota criminal defense attorney is the better option. You have the benefit of an attorney who has the necessary skills and experience, and they aren’t struggling with unmanageable caseloads like most public defenders are. Your private attorney should have more time to investigate your case. Most public defenders are rushing from case to case, and may not have the time to carefully consult with each client. Serious criminal offenses require serious choices to be made during the course of the case. It’s important that you have time to talk through options with your lawyer before making impactful decisions. If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Minnesota, contact or call Arechigo & Stokka today at (651) 222-6603 to schedule an initial consultation. We have over a decade of experience helping clients just like you. Let us put our knowledge and expertise to work for you and build the best defense possible.

Read More

Minnesota Third-Degree DWI Penalties

    | Read Time: 2 minutes

What is a Third-Degree DWI in Minnesota? A third-degree DWI is a gross misdemeanor criminal offense in Minnesota. A gross misdemeanor is an intermediate-level criminal offense, above a misdemeanor and one step below a felony.   A third-degree DWI in Minnesota results if it is the driver’s second DWI offense within the previous ten years and the driver’s blood alcohol content is under .20.   A 3rd Degree DWI charge in Minnesota will also result if it is the driver’s first DWI within the last ten years and the driver’s blood alcohol content was a .20 or above or the driver refused to submit to testing or the driver’s blood alcohol content was .08 to .19 and there was a child in the vehicle at the time of driving. Third-degree DWI’s in Minnesota are serious. If an officer gave you a third-degree DWI charge in Minnesota, our DWI defense lawyers can help. We know of potential defenses are ways to reduce the sentence your case may come with. Contact us online or call 651-362-4355 or 701-639-6522 today to set up a consultation. Third-Degree DWI Penalties in Minnesota If sentenced to thirty days in jail, you must serve at least forty-eight consecutive hours in jail.  You may then be eligible to serve the remaining twenty-eight days on work release or on electronic home monitoring if you qualify for these alternative programs. Thirty days in jail is the minimum; depending on the facts and circumstances of your Third Degree DWI case, as well as any prior DWI convictions, the state may seek more than the thirty-day minimum jail sentence.  In addition to jail time, you will also face an increased length of probation and higher fine as well as alcohol monitoring. You may also lose your license for two years if it is your second DWI offense within the last ten years and your blood alcohol content was .16 to .19.  You may be eligible to drive during your revocation period with the use of an ignition interlock. These revocation periods are not reduced if you plead guilty to the 3rd Degree DWI charge. Contact a Minnesota DWI Attorney Today Contact us online or call 651-362-4355 or 701-639-6522 to speak with our Minneapolis and St. Paul DWI lawyers today if you or someone you know is facing a third degree DWI in Minnesota. Our criminal defense attorney will thoroughly review your 3rd Degree DWI and do everything we can to get your driver’s license back and help you avoid a DWI conviction. Frequently Asked Questions

Read More

What to Do If Workers’ Comp Overpays You

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

Workers’ compensation insurance provides medical benefits and wages to workers who suffer a work-related injury or illness. Minnesota requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Failing to maintain workers’ compensation coverage results in steep fines for employers and, in some cases, a lawsuit. In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 63,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in private industry employment in Minnesota alone. In fact, Minnesota workers suffered injuries and illnesses at a significantly higher rate than the national average. Qualifying for Workers’ Compensation Benefits Workers’ compensation provides the following benefits to ill or injured employees: Costs of medical care, including treatment, equipment, supplies, and transportation to and from appointments; Lost wages; Vocational rehabilitation, including training, education, and support if you need to transition to a new occupation; and Death benefits. Minnesota workers labeled as “employees” rather than “independent contractors” are authorized to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, the employee bears the burden of proving that their illness or injury was caused by work-related factors. Finally, be sure to notify your employer within 14 days of a workplace accident, or you could lose your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits The amount of compensation paid to injured or ill workers depends on the level of disability the worker suffers.  Temporary Disability Temporary disability benefits are available on a temporary basis to individuals expected to recover from their work-related illness or injury.  A temporary total disability (TTD) is a temporary disability that prevents individuals from working in any capacity for some period of time as a result of their illness or injury. TTD benefits pay two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly wage with a maximum of the 2021 statewide average weekly wage (SAWW) of $1,232. Employees can collect TTD benefits for up to 130 weeks in most circumstances. An ill or injured individual with a temporary partial disability (TPD) is able to work in a part-time or modified capacity despite their injury. TPD benefits include two-thirds of the difference between your earnings at full capacity and your modified earnings. The state provides TPD benefits for a maximum of 275 weeks. Permanent Disability A permanent disability occurs when an individual is not expected to fully recover from their work-related illness or injury.  Permanent total disability (PTD) involves injuries/illnesses that are permanent and so severe that they prevent a worker from ever obtaining gainful employment for the remainder of his or her lifetime. PTD benefits pay two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly wage with a maximum of the 2021 SAWW of $1,232. Workers with a permanent total disability receive PTD benefits until they reach retirement age, which Minnesota presumes to be age 72 for injuries after October 2018.  . Permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits aim to compensate injured workers for permanent loss or impairment of a bodily function. These benefits are typically not dependent on loss of wages or the individual’s ability to work. To qualify for PPD, Minnesota requires the injured worker to show that the permanency of the injury is causally related to the injury itself. The amount of PPD benefits depends on the type and severity of permanent disability suffered by the injured worker. What If I Receive Workers’ Compensation Overpayment? Workers suffering from severe work-related injuries or illnesses could receive a substantial award of workers’ compensation benefits to cover the cost of their medical costs and rehabilitation, not to mention their lost wages. But what happens if a workers’ comp overpayment lands in your bank account unexpectedly?  Receiving benefits beyond what you are entitled to may seem like a good problem to have. However, if not remedied, a workers’ compensation overpayment creates multiple issues for the injured worker. Minnesota law allows individuals who receive workers’ compensation to keep the overpayments as long as the individual who received the overpayment did so in good faith. That means that the individual cannot purposely attempt to defraud the insurance company. While the workers’ comp overpayment does not have to be returned to the insurance company, the insurance company can adjust future payments to recoup the overpayment by reducing future workers’ compensation checks by no more than 20%. If you believe an insurance company issued a workers’ compensation overpayment to you, contact a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to determine what steps you should take next. Hiring a Workers’ Comp Attorney in the Event of Overpayment Since its founding in 2007, the Criminal Defense and Workers’ Compensation Law Office of Arechigo & Stokka has committed its practice to direct, personalized representation coupled with the determination to understand the intricacies of each individual case. We have helped countless injured workers maximize their recovery and navigate the complicated workers’ compensation claims process. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Read More

Equipment Malfunction at Work: What to Know

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

As an employee, your employer must provide you with a safe work environment. In some situations, a careless manufacturer puts workers at risk. Every day, equipment malfunctions place many individuals at risk for severe machine injuries. If injured due to an equipment malfunction, it is crucial to promptly speak to a personal injury attorney and discuss your rights. You may have a right to seek workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries.  What Is the Most Common Injury Caused by Working Machines Unsafely? Various injuries may result from equipment malfunction at work. Some of these accidents may result in severe and permanent injuries affecting your ability to work in the future. Some common machine injuries caused by equipment malfunction include the following: Crush Hazards. When two heavy objects move toward each other, they create a crush hazard. In some accidents caused by this type of machinery, the machine injuries occur when a body part comes into contact with the moving parts. Shear Hazards. Shearing machines cut and punch heavy-duty materials. Many workers suffer severe injuries when a body part comes into contact with the blade or other part of the shearing machine. Nip Hazards. Conveyor belts represent a common type of machine causing nip hazards. When one or more rotating parts come into contact with a body part, this may result in devastating injuries.  People operating heavy machinery suffer severe injuries every year, including amputation, lacerations, abrasions, and crushing injuries. Fatalities may also occur as a result of equipment malfunction. Many machine injuries render workers unable to work and provide for their families. An experienced personal injury attorney works to obtain the benefits you deserve, so you may continue to provide for your family. Additionally, these benefits enable you to focus on your recovery, so you can get back to work. What Is Workers’ Compensation?  Workers’ compensation provides workers with multiple benefits when rendered unable to work due to injury or illness. These benefits include the following.  Wage-Loss Benefits Wage-loss benefits serve to compensate an injured worker for lost income due to a work-related injury. These benefits typically pay a percentage of a worker’s total wage without tax consequences. Many also refer to these benefits as disability benefits. The severity of your injuries determines what benefits you receive and for how long. Medical Benefits  Medical benefits simply serve to reimburse a person for medical bills expended due to their work-related injury. Medical benefits include coverage for the following expenses: Medications,  Nursing home care,  Hospitalizations, and Medical equipment. The medical benefits available depend on the length of care required due to your injuries. Vocational Rehabilitation Vocational rehabilitation includes work retraining, employment services, career counseling, and tuition for work-related continued education. You may be able to claim these benefits in situations where your injuries prevent you from returning to your previous employment.  Permanent Disability Benefits  Permanent partial and permanent total disability benefits serve to pay for the loss of your future earning ability due to your work-related injury. These may also benefit a person suffering the permanent loss or use of a body part. Benefit payments are based on a disability rating assigned to you by your doctor. Disputes arising as a result of permanent disability benefits commonly occur. Therefore, retaining a qualified personal injury attorney can help ensure you receive the benefits needed to assist you in moving on with your life.  Every workers’ compensation case includes a unique set of facts. However, many people receive a denial of their workers’ compensation claims. Without these benefits, you and your family may be left without support. Even in cases where your employer and workers’ compensation insurance company admit liability due to your machinery injuries, you may not receive the benefits you require. Disputes may arise over your entitlement to medical care, wage loss benefits, rehabilitation benefits, or permanent benefits.   Contact Us After a severe and traumatic injury due to an equipment malfunction, it is vital to contact a personal injury attorney. For over twenty years, the attorneys at Arechigo and Stokka have strived to provide the highest caliber legal representation to clients in their time of need. We work to understand each client’s circumstances and analyze the unique facts surrounding their case. Over the years, our firm has earned the trust of hundreds of clients. The attorneys at Arechigo and Stokka receive many new clients through past client referrals. Contact us today for a free consultation! Let us get to work to assist you in receiving benefits after an equipment malfunction.

Read More

Workers’ Comp Settlements for a Back Injury in Minnesota

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

Back injuries can severely disrupt your life and cause long-term health problems. Unfortunately, back injuries frequently occur in the workplace and are commonly reported for workers’ comp claims. Back pain alone costs employers almost $100 billion every year. If you suffered back injuries due to a workplace accident, an experienced Minnesota workers’ comp attorney can help you secure the compensation you need to cover the costs of your treatment.  Contact us online or call (651) 222-6603 today to get started. Common Workplace Back Injuries Back injuries commonly occur in the workplace, even in jobs requiring little or no physical labor. Back injuries can include damage to your spinal cord, muscle injuries, and damage to the nervous system. Common back injuries in the workplace include: Herniated discs, Muscle strains and sprains, Pinched nerves, Fractured vertebrae, and Degenerative disc disease. Back strains and sprains are common and can occur through even the slightest movements. In fact, many workers who complain of lower back pain spend most of their days sitting. Herniated discs are also common and particularly harmful. Our spinal cords are composed of bones called vertebrae, which are separated and cushioned by discs. These discs absorb shock when we place strain on our spinal cords through physical movements. A herniated disc occurs when the inner portion of the disc pushes out and ruptures the outer disc layer. When this happens, the ruptured disc pushes on the nerves in the spine, producing sometimes intense pain. Herniated discs can occur through a single event or over time through the degeneration of the spinal column. Common Causes of Workplace Back Injuries Back injuries in the workplace can occur through a variety of different events. Some of the most common causes of workplace back injuries include: Improper technique when lifting heavy objects, Sudden movements, Working too fast, and Repetitive motions that strain the back. Improper lifting technique commonly results in workplace back injuries. Lifting heavy objects without properly engaging the leg muscles places undue strain on the spinal cord. This often leads to back injuries such as herniated discs. Herniated disc settlements for workers’ comp may involve large payments to cover the full extent of rehabilitation and medical treatment. Can I Receive Workers’ Compensation for My Back Injury? If you suffer a workplace back injury while performing your job duties, you may be entitled to Minnesota workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation coverage normally includes: All medical costs associated with your injury, Lost wages, Disability payments, and Ongoing rehabilitation. Calculating workers’ compensation benefits is complicated. To ensure you receive a fair workers’ comp settlement for your back injury, you should speak with a qualified attorney before signing any agreement.  Can My Employer Deny My Workers’ Compensation Claim? While most workers’ compensation claims are approved, employers can deny their employees workers’ comp benefits. Your employer’s insurance company will assess whether the employer is responsible for paying for your treatment. In some cases, the insurance company may advise the employer to deny the claim. Some common reasons for denial of workers’ comp benefits include: Failing to file a claim in time, The injury did not occur in the workplace, Drugs or alcohol were involved, or The employee contributed to or caused their own injury. Denial of your workers’ comp claim is not the end of the story. An experienced attorney can help you appeal your denial and fight to receive the compensation you deserve. Contact a Qualified Minnesota Workers’ Comp Attorney Today If you suffered a workplace back injury, you should seek immediate medical attention. Untreated back injuries can lead to long-term health problems. After you receive medical treatment, contact the experienced attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka to help you handle your workers’ compensation settlements for your back injury. Our dedicated staff cares deeply about our clients, and we will always place your interests first. Our team will answer your questions and provide you hands-on legal services every step of the way. For a free consultation, call our office at (651) 222-6603 or fill out an online form today. 

Read More

Minnesota Sexual Assault Vs Sexual Battery Laws

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

Anyone accused of a sex crime will face a great deal of uncertainty and will likely have a lot of questions. The laws in this area vary from state to state, and there is a lot of misleading information on the topic. Because of this, we have tried to provide answers to some of the common questions that arise. However, because a conviction carries serious consequences, a person accused or charged with a sex crime should contact an experienced Minnesota criminal sexual conduct defense attorney as soon as possible. Assault Vs Battery Under Minnesota Law In general, assault and battery are two separate crimes in Minnesota. Typically, assault involves a threat of any violence that causes fear of physical harm. On the other hand, battery is the physical act itself. For example, a threat to punch someone is assault, while the punch is the battery.  Minnesota criminal law does not divide the two into separate crimes. In Minnesota, you can face a relatively similar criminal charge for physically attacking someone as you would if you threatened to assault someone. On the other hand, threatening violence with the intent to terrorize a person is a separate crime. There are subtle differences in the law between a threat and a physical act that can drastically change the type of criminal charge you may face. Sexual Battery Vs Sexual Assault Some states also use assault and battery to define sex crimes.  When this is the case, sexual assault typically involves less severe behavior, such as non-consensual sexual touching. Sexual battery, on the other hand, generally refers to more serious criminal behavior, up to or including rape. Minnesota Sexual Assault Laws In Minnesota, crimes of sexual assault, sexual battery, and rape are all classified as criminal sexual conduct. Criminal sexual conduct can be in the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth degree. First-degree criminal sexual conduct consists of the most serious criminal behavior, such as rape and child sexual abuse. Consent Consent is a critical determining factor in assessing whether a sexual conduct crime has been committed. It is also a common defense against such accusations. Because of this, consent (or lack of) is often a hotly debated and confusing element in a sex crime case. In Minnesota, consent is agreeing, in words or actions, to any sexual act. A prior relationship—sexual, romantic, or otherwise—by itself does not consent to any sexual act. However, the existence of a prior romantic relationship may help form the foundation for the explanation of consent as a defense to an accusation of sexual assault. Additionally, consent cannot be freely given if an individual is incapacitated or impaired in some way. For example, someone cannot always freely give consent if they have a developmental disability or mental illness. A person also cannot freely give consent when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, whether or not they chose to use them. Defenses Defenses against an accusation of criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota include innocence, insanity or mental incapacitation, mistaken age (in very limited circumstances), and, most commonly, consent.  Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in St. Paul, MN Today An accusation or conviction of a criminal sex offense is a serious matter. These crimes are aggressively prosecuted in Minnesota and should not be taken lightly. Charges can range from a misdemeanor to a felony, and a conviction can carry a sentence of up to thirty years imprisonment.  If you or a loved one has been accused of committing a criminal sex offense, you need a detail-oriented, accessible, and thorough attorney with experience in the area. Arechigo & Stokka has successfully defended hundreds of clients in criminal cases. Many successful defenses have involved accusations of sex crimes, including high-profile cases in this area.  We are dedicated to being there for you every step of the way and pride ourselves on the access we give our clients. Contact us online or call (651) 222-6603 today or to speak with our experienced attorneys. Read testimonials from prior clients, check out our Youtube channel, Facebook profile, or Twitter account to get to know us, and contact our firm today.

Read More

Workers Comp Lawyer Fees in St. Paul MN

    | Read Time: 5 minutes

[WATCH] Tips For Making Sure Your MN Workers’ Compensation Claim is Paid Transcription: Since they’re trying to save money, insurance companies don’t like to pay out claims. Because of this, they’ll try to come up with reasons to deny or undervalue them. If you were injured at work, try your best to not give the insurance company any reason to deny your claim. Here are some tips to avoid getting your workers’ compensation benefits wrongfully denied. First, report the injury as soon as possible. State workers’ compensation laws often require you to report work injuries within 30 days. Second, gather the names of potential witnesses. If anyone witnessed your injury, get their names and contact information so they can verify your story. Third, get medical treatment immediately. Most insurance companies assume that if you don’t seek medical attention, then you weren’t really injured. Fourth, explain how you got hurt. Give details to your medical provider and the insurer about how the injury happened. We recommend having an attorney with you whenever you contact the insurance company. Fifth, fill out your employer’s accident report form. If you do not fill out an accident report with the company’s insurer, they may try to deny your claim. Sixth, sign a limited medical authorization for the insurer. This allows insurers to have copies of your medical records relating to your work injury. Seventh, attend all your doctor’s appointments. If you skip doctor’s appointments, the insurer may try to terminate your benefits. For more information about workers’ compensation claims, contact Arechigo & Stokka today. We’ve helped hundreds of workers throughout Minnesota get the benefits they deserve. HOW MUCH DO WORKERS COMP LAWYERS CHARGE? St Paul, Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorney Fees Become Governed By Statute This means that unlike in, for example, a personal injury case, where the attorney has some discretion over what to charge for a fee, the Minnesota legislature heavily regulates what a Minnesota work comp attorney can charge.   There are several different types of Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer fees which we’ll explain below. Minnesota Workers’ Comp Contingency Fee This is one of the main methods for payment of Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney fees.   Minnesota Statute § 176.081, subd. 1(a) permits these fees.   For injuries from 1995 to October 2013, this section permitted a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer a fee of 25% of the first $4,000 and 20% of the next $60,000 of compensation awarded to the injured employee so long as the fees are calculated on genuinely disputed claims or portions of claims.   All fees for legal services pertaining to the same injury are cumulative and may not exceed $13,000. Fees for obtaining disputed medical or rehabilitation benefits are included in the $13,000 limit. In October 2013, the statute was amended to state that a fee for legal services of 20% of the first $130,000 of compensation awarded to the employee is the maximum permissible fee. Denied a Workers’ Compensation Claim? Call us today for a free and confidential case analysis. You can reach us at 651-222-6603, we are ready to help. We’ll take care of everything else. Submit the short form below to setup a consultation. Irwin/Roraff Fees The statute went under modification in 1995 to provide that the $13,000 limit on work comp attorney fees was the maximum possible fee for all legal services related to the same injury, including attorney fees paid for by the employer/insurer.   In Irwin v. Surdyk’s Liquor, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that the limitations on attorney fees in the 1995 amendments to the Minnesota Statute were unconstitutional in that they impinged upon the court’s inherent power to oversee attorneys and attorney fees. Fees in Excess of Maximum  Under Irwin, to get a fee more than the statutory limit, the court set forth a list of factors to consider the compensation judge in the determination of Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney fees: The amount involved Time and expense necessary to prepare for trial The responsibility assumed by counsel The expertise of counsel The difficulty of the issues The nature of the proof involved The results obtained MN Workers’ Compensation Fees on Intervenor Recoveries  These are usually companies that have provided medical treatment or wage replacement benefits such as a short-term disability plan. Minnesota Statute § 176.361, permits any “person” who has an interest in any matter before the Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals, Commissioner or compensation judge, such that the person may either gain or lose by an order or decision, to file an application or motion to intervene.   Issues arise whether and to what extent an intervenor must contribute to the attorney fees or costs incurred in establishing the injured employee’s entitlement to Minnesota workers’ compensation benefits that result in a recovery for the intervenor.   The main case involved in this issue is Edquist v. Browning-Ferris. The St. Paul Statutory Scheme for MN Workers’ Comp Fees The Statutory Scheme That Outlines Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorney Fees Is to the Benefit of Injured Workers: A Minnesota workers’ comp lawyer is only entitled to make a claim for workers’ compensation attorney fees on genuine disputes. This means that if you hire a work comp lawyer at the beginning of your claim, and the employer/insurer does not dispute anything (wage loss, medical, etc.), the work comp attorney cannot make a claim for fees.   Also, many attorney fees and rates become paid for by an employer/insurer.   For example, if an injured worker’s doctor requests to perform an MRI, the insurer denies payment, and the Minnesota work comp lawyer succeeds in getting the MRI paid for, those fees become paid for by the insurer/employer. Because of this, it is important for an injured employee to obtain a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer at the beginning of the case for a few reasons.   One, many different time deadlines exist that you must adhere to and failure to adhere to them can adversely affect the case.   Second, if a dispute does arise, our MN workers’ comp attorney has all the information...

Read More

Can My Employer Contact My Doctor Without My Consent?

    | Read Time: 3 minutes

Suffering from any sort of injury can put a serious damper on your life. Injuries can bring medical bills, psychological trauma, missed wages, and a number of other unsavory things with them. Workplace injuries are no exception. Luckily, in most situations, if you injure yourself at work, your employer is liable to cover any damages you suffer. Employers in the United States have a special type of insurance called workers’ compensation (often referred to as “workers’ comp”) that covers workplace injuries specifically. In fact, workers’ comp insurance is compulsory in the US. Sometimes, employers are not as forthcoming in some workers’ compensation claim processes as they are in others. After all, the more injuries that their workers’ comp insurance has to cover, the greater their insurance premiums become. As a result, if you suffer an injury at work that is not a visible emergency, your employer may not believe you. Even with a doctor’s note, employers sometimes don’t believe that you have an injury or think you are exaggerating your injury. This often happens when you discover your injury outside of work. In this situation, how do you proceed? Generally, your medical records are private, but your employer has to verify the injury somehow. Can your employer call your doctor? Can any employer call a doctor to verify a note? Read on for guidance on workers’ compensation, privacy, and your employer from the award-winning workers’ compensation team at Arechigo & Stokka. How Does HIPAA Apply to Workers’ Compensation? As noted, for the most part, our medical records are private. They are covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The HIPAA contains privacy rules that apply to certain types of individuals and legal entities. Those entities, which include medical care providers and insurers, possess confidential medical records. The aforementioned entities are only allowed to disclose medical records, without your authorization, to certain parties in specific circumstances. One of the circumstances explicitly mentioned on the CDC website is workers’ compensation.  Can My Employer Call My Doctor Directly? Generally, your employer should not contact your doctor directly. In a perfect world, your employer would find a note from your doctor enough evidence of an injury. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Your employer may still feel the need to contact your doctor, even without your authorization. The situations where a workers’ compensation insurer, state administrator, employer, or other entity involved in workers’ compensation systems can contact your doctor without authorization are as follows: As authorized by and to the extent necessary to comply with laws relating to workers’ compensation; If such a disclosure is required by any other state or federal law; To obtain payment for any health care provided to the injured or ill worker. As you can see, these situations may very well apply to your employer and their insurer when they need to verify an injury for purposes of workers’ compensation. So yes, your employer or their insurer can sometimes directly contact your doctor without your authorization. You can always directly authorize your employer to contact your doctor. If that is what you choose to do, you will need to give your doctor the name of the person you are authorizing to contact them. Can My Employer Call My Doctor and Access the Entirety of My Medical Records? No. The information that an entity covered by the HIPAA privacy rules can disclose in the aforementioned situations is limited. The HIPAA requires that covered entities only disclose the minimum medical information necessary to accomplish the workers’ compensation purposes. This includes the minimum amount of information necessary for payment purposes. Thus, your employer should have access to very specific, minimal information contained in your medical record. A HIPAA violation would occur if your employer were to access the entirety of your medical records.  Does My Employer Have to Follow My Doctor’s Orders? Yes, your employer absolutely has to follow your doctor’s orders. It is critical that your employer do so. Not only can your employer face fines otherwise, but your injury may worsen and they may end up with a lawsuit on their hands. After your initial treatment, your doctor will put together a recovery plan for your injury. The recovery plan will include what sort of work, if any, that you are authorized to do while recovering. If your employer can accommodate you at a different position in the workplace, they should do so. If your injury worsens or you become unable to do the new job you were given, it is critical that you contact your doctor as soon as possible to update your work authorization and recovery plan. For Help With Your Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Claim For help with any aspect of your Minnesota workers’ compensation claim, go with Arechigo & Stokka—the small firm that gets big results. There is no room for error in your claim, so there is no substitute for experience. Our workers’ compensation team has decades of experience helping injured individuals recover as quickly as possible and maximize their workers’ compensation benefits in the process. If you suffered an injury at work, don’t wait to get legal help. Reach out to us at Arechigo & Stokka for a free consultation regarding your workers’ compensation claim today.

Read More