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St. Paul Criminal Defense Law Blog

Is stalking illegal in Minnesota?

When a person believes someone is stalking them, or finds verifiable proof of stalking, it can often feel paralyzing to the victim. Stalking is a behavior based on violating someone's boundaries or safety to give the stalker some degree of control or release over their victim. Not only is this behavior clearly unethical, it is also a crime in many states, including Minnesota.

Stalking is a serious crime, and some types of stalking even qualify as felony offenses. If, for instance, a person stalks a victim because of some discriminatory reason such as race, sexual orientation or religious persuasion, courts often rule such behavior to be a felony.

Civil asset forfeiture: How it dovetails with a DUI/drug charge

If arrested and charged with a DUI/DWI, law enforcement will usually tow and impound your vehicle. Getting it back can prove more difficult than you ever imagined.

The state brings a civil forfeiture action in a separate civil proceeding to seize your property - the vehicle you were driving or cash allegedly associated with a drug crime. Depending on the value of your vehicle or the amount of cash, the case may even proceed in conciliation court. In this blog, we will discuss reforms along with why the numbers have held steady.

What you should know about 'eSearch Warrants'

Here in Minnesota, law enforcement officers have to get a search warrant in order to require someone suspected of driving under the influence to have one's blood or urine tested. Further, it is a crime in itself to refuse a Breathalyzer test, regardless of whether a driver was indeed driving drunk. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that requirement to be constitutional.

When it comes to getting a search warrant ordering a blood or urine test, one catch has been the difficulty in tracking down a judge to sign such a warrant and the time required to drive to the judge and back to where the suspect is -- particularly when someone is stopped in the wee hours of the night in a rural location. By the time a warrant is obtained and the blood test administered, alcohol and other substances could have dissipated from the body -- making prosecution more difficult, if not impossible.

How do federal drug schedules work?

The federal government classifies illegal drugs according to five different "schedules." These schedules organize drugs into classifications based on the federal government's perceived:

  • Potential for abuse
  • Level of safety
  • Potential for addiction
  • Whether the drug has a legitimate medical purpose.

Here is a closer look at the first three drug schedules:

Make sure you pay for purchases this holiday

Now that the holiday season is starting, it is imperative that shoppers take the time to make sure that they are paying for the purchases they make. A shoplifting charge is something that could ruin your holidays.

You should realize that shoplifting encompasses more than just taking items from the store without paying for them. While that is one action that will almost certainly lead to criminal charges, there are a couple of others you should know about.

Know your options for dealing with a drunk driving case

The penalties for drunk driving in Minnesota are fairly harsh. Even on a first conviction, you are looking at a 90-day jail term, a fine of up to $1,000 or both. On top of the criminal penalties that you face, you also have to think about administrative penalties that start out at 90 days without your driving privileges.

You have options for your defense. Think about the case against you and figure out how you can introduce questions about those claims. Consider anything that could be used to show that your rights were violated.

Drug trafficking is often problematically linked to total amounts

Drug possession charges should be taken seriously, but they're generally less seriously than charges for distribution or drug trafficking. The latter is a felony charge, and it can have a drastic impact on your future, along with higher fines and longer jail terms if convicted.

Considering the gap between the charges, you'd think it would take a lot to jump from one to the next. However, that's not always the case. The police don't necessarily have to catch you selling drugs to charge you with trafficking. They can often do it if you have a lot of drugs in your possession.

Wrongful conviction compensation law found unconstitutional

The wrongfully convicted have a tremendously difficult time reintegrating into society.

Aside from the prejudices they face from some people who will always believe that they are guilty or escaped sentence on a technicality (no matter what the facts), they also have to face starting their lives over with virtually nothing and few resources.

Understanding the stalking laws in Minnesota

Minnesota's anti-stalking law prohibits a person from harassing someone to the point where he or she feels threatened, frightened, persecuted, oppressed or intimidated. Stalking is a gross misdemeanor and there is potential for someone convicted of the crime of stalking to spend up to a year in jail.

The following acts can result in a gross misdemeanor charge of stalking:

  • Showing an intent to injure someone, damage his or her property or impede someone's rights by committing an act that is unlawful
  • Following a person by using any type of technology
  • Continually returning to someone's property when he or she hasn't the authority or permission to do so
  • Continually texting or calling someone
  • Repeatedly sending letters or packages

What is DWI court and is it right for you?

If you are facing DWI charges, you may have the option of entering DWI court rather than traditional court. DWI court is a program intended for repeat offenders and offenders struggling with chemical dependency. It is designed to combat addiction and provide long-term solutions that are more effective at breaking habits than traditional penalties are.

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Saint Paul, MN 55101

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