Mar
23

Stay of Adjudication Is a Ticket to Deportation - Johnson v. Minnesota

When a defendant in a criminal case pleads guilty in Minnesota, the law provides for several options as to what happens with that guilty plea.  One possibility is that although the defendant has admitted guilt, the judge does not adjudicate that person guilty – a Stay of Adjudication.  The Stay of Adjudication will be in place for a certain length of time, during which time the defendant will likely need to complete some terms of probation (such as classes or programming, community service, not picking up any new charges), but if those terms are successfully completed, then at the end...

Feb
26

Toxic Enhancement - DWIs and Mandatory Minimums

In Minnesota, a DWI is classifed as an enhanceable offense.  Enchanceable means is that each time you are convicted for a DWI the penalties get more serious. In fact, Minnesota law mandates jail penalties and actual confinement depending on the number of prior DWI convictions or alcohol related loss of driver’s license and the timing of each offense.[1]

First time offense: there is no mandatory jail time if it is first time offense.  A court will usually order a sentence, but often will stay the sentence (pause) the in custody portion if a person completing probation and programming. ...

Apr
15

Criminal Defense While Staying at Home - the State of the Courts

What is happening to my Case during the Pandemic? Like virtually every other aspect of society, the Minnesota court system is greatly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the emergency peacetime “Stay at Home” orders put into place by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz  during March through the middle of May, 2020.  During this public health crisis, we continue to work to protect the rights of persons accused of crimes, and to keep you informed of your rights and some adjustments the courts are currently making.  Here is a brief guide for some of your immediate questions.

Do I still have...

Jan
12

Second DWIs and Unexpected Ramifications – Limiting a Person’s Ability to Prove Good Moral Character

DWIs and related offenses are already offenses that have grave consequences.  These offenses impact driving authorization, insurance costs, and expose a person to heightened criminal charges in the future.  A misdemeanor will morph into a felony quickly for repeat offenders.

The consequences of DWIs are not limited to more commonly known issues, such as licensing.  DWIs are now becoming a direct threat to a person’s ability to fight to remain in the United States regardless of the size of the person’s family, hardship imposed, or other positive contributions a person has made to his...

Sep
29

Two New Minnesota Laws - Hands Free in More Ways than One

On August 1, 2019, several new laws related to driving went into effect in Minnesota.  The new “Hands-Free Cell Phone Law” responds to the growing number of incidents, accidents, and even fatalities caused by distracted drivers using their cell phones as they drive.  According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS), cell phones are the fastest-growing distraction to drivers.  The DPS reports that In the past five years, distracted driving contributed to nearly one in every five accidents, averaged 204 “life-changing” injuries per year, and caused 45 annual...

Feb
20

Why Timbs v. Indiana May Mean the End of the Line for Forfeitures in Minnesota

On February 20, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Excessive Fines Clause in the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution applies to civil forfeitures resulting from state criminal prosecutions. Timbs v. Indiana, __ U.S. __, No. 17-1091, (U.S. Feb. 20, 2019).

Minnesota, like most states, has civil forfeiture laws that allow the state to permanently take property from you when that property is used in connection with the commission of a crime.  For example, Minn. Stat. 609.5314 permits the state to take money, precious metals, or precious stones if they are found in...

Dec
3

Crimes and DACA - common issues that cause real problems

DACA recipients benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program which provides some immigration relief for children brought to the United States illegally at a young age.  If you have DACA, then the U.S. government essentially overlooks your illegal entry into the country and you can obtain a driver’s license, work permit and are protected from deportation – unless you get into certain kinds of trouble with the law.  What should you do if you have DACA and get charged with a crime?

While DACA offers protection from deportation, it is a fragile type of...

Jan
5

Don't Open the Door to Strangers!

It’s the middle of the night.  You are in bed, maybe asleep, maybe trying to get to sleep.  All of a sudden there is a banging on the door, and shouts of, “Police!  Open!  Police!”  Or maybe there is regular, constant knocking and someone asking, “Anyone home?  Hello?”  Startled, you jump out of bed, go to the door and open it.  Maybe you speak English, maybe you do not.  Two uniformed police officers are at the door and say there has been an accident, they need to see your son, your husband, or your wife.  What do you do?

Police cannot simply come into your house...

Nov
29

Avoiding Immigration Problems with Marijuana Tickets

  In Minnesota, there are many levels of marijuana related criminal charges. The amount of marijuana which a person possesses or sells determines the level of offense. Possession or sale of 42.5 grams or more of marijuana can lead to felony charges. Consequences for felony level marijuana related offenses range from a year and a day to 30 years in prison.

             Less serious marijuana related offenses include petty misdemeanor possession of a small amount of marijuana or misdemeanor possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle. Both possession of a small amount of marijuana and...

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