Dec
27

Refusal to Test in Minnesota - US Supreme Court to Review Implied Consent Statute

The US Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in Bernard v. Minnesota.  Bernard addresses Minnesota’s DWI refusal statute that makes it a crime to refuse to take a warrantless chemical test if law enforcement has probable cause to believe you have been operating a motor vehicle or boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Two years ago when SCOTUS decided Missouri v. McNeely ,133 S. Ct. 1552 (2013), DWI law seemed to be heading for big changes around the country and here in Minnesota. Unfortunately, McNeely has not had as much of an impact as we had hoped here in Minnesota...

Dec
27

The Importance of Enhancements in Criminal Sentencing

What is an enhanceable offense?  Under Minnesota Law, an offense is enhanceable if a conviction or a plea of guilty triggers a look-back period, which most commonly, lasts for ten years to punish someone for repeat conduct.  During the ten years immediately following a conviction, if you are charged with the same offense, the severity of the charge can be increased or enhanced based on the previous conviction.  This leads to greater consequences

In Minnesota, enhanceable offenses include, but are not limited to, the following: domestic assault, violation of a harassment restraining...

Apr
9

Expungement – once a felony, always a felony

In January 2015, a new expungement standard came into effect in Minnesota. The law expanded the types of crimes eligible for expungement.  It also gave courts broader power to seal records of State agencies instead of limiting the court to sealing its records anymore.

As with any new law, there were some gaps that left lawyers and judges with questions. The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently answered one of the big questions: how should the court treat felony convictions later deemed misdemeanors under Minn. Stat. § 609.13, subd. 1(2).  The question was how should the court treat the...

Sep
28

When is a Search not a Search? Police Use of GPS in Minnesota

When is a Search not a Search? One way in which the United States protects its people from being subjected to random whims of the State and errant police is by protecting our right to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures.”  This right is established in the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states, “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and...

Nov
25

When a BB Gun Is Not a Gun

In a case published on October 19, 2016, the Minnesota Supreme Court decided an issue long debated in Minnesota Courts: Is a BB gun a firearm under Minnesota Criminal Law. The issue was presented when the State charged Mr. Haywood with violating Minn. Stat. § 609.165, subd.1b, which criminalizes the possession of a firearm by an ineligible person. The Court’s analysis is also relevant to any case in which an individual is charged with possession or use of a firearm when the term “firearm” is not specifically defined by statute.

In the case, State v. Haywood, No. A14-1792, 2016 WL...

Sep
12

Immigration Consequences of a Fifth Degree Possession of a Controlled Substance Charge

A controlled substance charge in and of itself likely means that your noncitizen client has the attention of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), and that ICE will monitor the proceedings.  ICE may detain your client during the pendency of the criminal case, and the charge alone can cause your client to lose the ability to remain in the United States.  A controlled substance offense subjects a person to mandatory ICE detention with no chance of bond, depending on the facts, and even a favorable criminal outcome may still trigger immigration consequences.

Deportation

       ...

Mar
14

WLG Newsletter: "Domestic Assault-Fear: No Longer a Safe Plea for Non-Citizens"

WLG published a "crimmigration" newsletter in July 2013 which discussed the immigration consequences of pleading guilty to a "Domestic Assault-Fear" charge.  Below is the text in full.  A PDF version is available here: 137-105-wlg-newsletter-domestic-assault-fear-no-longer-safe-plea-non-citizens.pdf

Domestic Assault-Fear: No Longer a Safe Plea for Non-Citizens

July 2013

The attorneys at Wilson Law Group, leading practitioners of immigration law in North America, have encountered an important development affecting noncitizen defendants that has surfaced in the last few months. Specifically,...

Apr
30

The Byron Smith Trial in Little Falls, MN

By now you have probably heard the name Byron Smith, who is currently on trial in Little Falls, Minnesota, for shooting two teenage intruders on Thanksgiving Day 2012. In Minnesota, a homeowner has the right to use deadly force against an intruder if the homeowner is reasonably in fear of being harmed. That is the central question the jurors have to answer in the case – was Mr. Smith in reasonable fear of being harmed by the two unarmed teenagers? This case sparks memories of the controversial Treyvon Martin trial last summer in Florida where the defendant, George Zimmerman, was...

May
22

Effective Expungements – Legislative Change for Expungements

For years, individuals previously convicted of certain low-level crimes (also evictions, juvenile matters, etc.) and their attorneys have expressed legitimate concerns about the limited effects of Minnesota expungements. Under a previous and somewhat controversial decision of the Minnesota Supreme Court, district courts considering expungements only had authority to seal or destroy judicial records, leaving related records maintained by non-judicial sources open and accessible. This meant that records at police departments, business screening services, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension,...

Jun
4

Social Media and Criminal Charges

When you use social media, do you consider the potential legal consequences of your activity? Richard Alan Collier learned the hard way that posting about illegal activity on social media can lead to criminal charges. He voted absentee in both the Minnesota and Texas 2012 general elections and then bragged about it online. On June 3, 2014, Mr. Collier pleaded guilty in Galveston, Texas, to attempting to commit illegal voting. He was fined $4,000. Before your next tweet or post, take a moment to think about any legal ramifications your activity could have.

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