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Minneapolis Criminal Defense Blog

What your teen needs to know about getting arrested

As a parent, you think that your teenager will never run afoul of Minnesota laws. But all it takes is one bad decision or miscalculation to land your son or daughter into legal hot water.

If that occurs, you want them to know how to act and behave to minimize any bad outcomes. Just as we teach our kids what to do in emergencies like school shootings or car accidents, so should we prepare them ahead of time for how to act if detained by the police.

The dangers of carrying a friend’s prescription medication

People do a lot of things for their friends without really thinking about the consequences. That could include a favor such as carrying or storing prescription medication for someone else. Maybe your friend has a roommate or spouse that they worry will steal their pills. It's also possible that they are trying to wean themselves off the medication and want to limit their access to it.

Regardless of why someone asks you to store their prescription medication, the truth is that their request places you at extreme legal risk. There is serious potential for legal consequences if you get caught in possession of your friend's medication. Minnesota law has very strict rules regarding controlled substances.

What's a hate crime, and what penalties exist for committing one?

Just this past week, an openly gay African-American actor from the television show Empire was allegedly approached by two pedestrians in Chicago, taunted with racial epithets and homophobic slurs, doused with a chemical and had a rope placed around this neck. Now police are searching for suspects to charge with hate crimes. There are many different types of actions that may fall under the umbrella of this offense.

According to 18 U.S. Code § 249, a hate crime is any type of perceived or actual bodily injury committed by one person against another because of their color, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, gender, race or religion.

Debate over recreational marijuana in Minnesota gets hot

Could Minnesota become the next state to legalize recreational marijuana?

Supporters and opponents of the bid to make recreational cannabis legal recently faced off in a shouting match that was caught on camera during a news interview at the State Capitol.

What is a grand jury and why are their activities secret?

If you've been advised that you're facing federal criminal charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minneapolis has likely forwarded you and your attorney a copy of your grand jury indictment as part of a discovery packet.

What exactly is a grand jury? What is the grand jury's role in your case?

How is drug possession penalized in Minnesota?

There are five types of felonies that apply to drug offenses in the state of Minnesota. County, state and federal lawmakers refer to narcotics possession by degree, with first being the most serious and fifth being the least serious of all these offenses. The penalties gradually increase depending on what type of crime a defendant is convicted of.

Fifth degree drug offenses

A Minnesota drug dealer is sentenced to 100-months for overdose

On Nov. 30, a 44-year-old Minneapolis resident received an 8-year sentence in fatal drug overdose case.

Prior to entering a guilty plea in November, the defendant had been accused of selling heroin that led to a 27-year-old Edina man's overdose death in 2017.

The 3 different aspects of plea negotiation

While almost everyone is familiar with a plea deal, many don't realize that there are actually three aspects of one that can be negotiated. This includes the facts, charge and sentence.

Fact bargaining is one of the most uncommon types of negotiation that takes place. It involves a defendant stipulating, or admitting, that certain aspects of the prosecution's case are accurate. A defendant may concede that some facts that a prosecutor intends to present at trial actually occurred as part of an agreement to ensure that others aren't introduced into evidence.

Judges aren't required to follow federal sentencing guidelines

Federal Sentencing Guidelines are a uniform set of nonbinding rules that all U.S. Attorneys are to use to guide them in making sentencing recommendations in criminal cases. It's ultimately up to the federal judge, however, to use their own discretion to decide how much they want to adhere to them when sentencing a convicted defendant.

These guidelines first started being utilized in the United States federal court system in 1987. The judge presiding over the case Payne v. Tennessee, 501 U.S. 808, 820 (1991), argued that these guidelines provide a "very precise calibration of sentences." They argued that they accomplished this by taking into account a variety of factors including harm and subjective guilt.

Civil asset forfeiture – the basics

Imagine that you are going to buy a car, not from a dealership, but from a private seller. Since there will be no financing involved, you withdraw $30,000 in cash and take it with you to meet the seller.

On the way there, a Minneapolis police officer stops you for a minor traffic violation. In the course of the traffic stop, the officer notices some of the cash protruding from a bag and begins to question you about the reason you are carrying so much money. Unfortunately, the office does not believe your story about purchasing a car and seizes the cash.

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