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...

Oct
3

New Developments in DWI Law

Birchfield v. North Dakota

For years, lawyers in Minnesota have argued about the validity of the Minnesota Implied Consent Law and the corresponding criminalization of refusal to take a blood, breath, or urine test.  In Minnesota, as in many other states, in order to enforce laws against drunk driving, statute establishes that by applying for a driver’s license, you have impliedly consented to a test if there is probable cause to believe that you have been drinking prior to operating the vehicle.[1]  If you are asked to take a test and you refuse to comply, the refusal results in a more...

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...

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...

Apr
9

Solicitation of Prostitution – Morality Meets Deportation

Solicitation of Prostitution –  Morality Meets Deportation

The immigration consequences of a conviction for solicitation of a prostitute for several decades was not considered categorically a crime involving moral turpitude (hereinafter “CIMT”), although Wilson Law Group cautioned that it was potentially such a crime.  Recently, the Eighth Circuit issued an opinion in Gomez-Gutierrez v. Lynch definitively categorizing the 2006 version of the Minnesota solicitation of a prostitute statute as a CIMT. No. 14-3374, 2016 WL 362427, at*4 (8th Cir. Jan. 29, 2016).

Gomez-Gutierrez means that...

Feb
14

Crimes Triggering Visa Revocations while Traveling in the US

Wilson Law Group recently became aware of a disturbing new trend relating to non-immigrant visa (NIV) holders.  Those in the United States with student (F), employment-based (H-1B), exchange (J-1) visas, and investor visas (E-2), among others, are affected.  Those NIV holders who, during their stay in the US, are arrested for a minor criminal incident are receiving correspondence from the Department of State, often via email or phone, indicating their visas have been cancelled while they are still traveling in the United States.  The revocation messages indicate a foreign national may...

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...

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
16

DHS Prioritizes Removal of Individuals with DUI Convictions

There are many reasons not to drink and drive, but now we’ll give you one more. As part of President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform, the Department of Homeland Security has a new set of civil immigration enforcement priorities. The new priorities are divided into Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 priorities from highest to lowest. Tier 1 includes suspected terrorists, gang members, aggravated felons, and other top priorities for removal. Tier 2 includes individuals convicted of three or more misdemeanors, excluding minor traffic-related crimes, as well as individuals convicted...

Nov
18

St. Paul Skyway Arrest of Chris Lollie – Commission Declares that Use of Stun Gun was Not Excessive

Do you agree with the Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission that the St Paul police officers’ use of a stun gun on Chris Lollie in January 2014 was not excessive force? As you likely remember from his video of the events of that day, Mr. Lollie was confronted by security and St Paul police officers in January for sitting in the skyway in downtown St. Paul. He was in a public area, but security personnel and police officers wrongly told him that he was on private property. When he refused to give them his name and resisted arrest, they used a stun gun on him. The City later...

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