Giancola-Durkin, P.A.

Anoka County Criminal Law Blog

Are breath test results reliable?

When a driver is stopped under suspicion of DWI, they will often be given a breath test to gauge their blood alcohol level. These tests are a common part of drunk driving investigations here in Minnesota and across the country. Their results can have long-lasting ramifications for drivers. Blowing over the legal limit can leave Minnesota drivers facing an automatic license suspension and serious charges. But just how accurate are these impactful tests?

A recent New York Times investigation gives an answer many may find troubling. It points to widespread accuracy and reliability issues when it comes to the use of breath tests in the U.S.

DWI charges can have major consequences for student athletes

Being accused of drunk driving is a very high-stakes situation. This is especially the case for student athletes. Along with the typical legal penalties for DWI, such individuals can be facing additional impactful consequences that can have major impacts on their life and future.

Minnesota sees record level of struck patrol vehicles

It is important for drivers here in Minnesota to exercise care when driving near police cars, including following the “move over” rules when such vehicles are on the shoulder with their lights on. Being accused of acting improperly could lead to serious consequences. And police in the state very well may be especially on the lookout for unsafe conduct around stopped police cars due to a trend that this year has been seeing: An increase in state patrol vehicles getting hit.

According to recent numbers, so far this year, there have been 32 incidents of a vehicle hitting a Minnesota state trooper car. All involved stopped patrol vehicles.

Police increasingly focused on vape cartridge crimes

The recent health concerns related to vaping have had many effects. This includes an increased focus by law enforcement on a certain class of drug crimes. Specifically, police have recently been upping their investigatory and enforcement efforts against illegal THC-laced vaping cartridges. It is thought such cartridges may be connected to the recent mysterious lung illness that has arisen in connection to vaping.

This new focus can be seen in the many major police raids involving the seizure of such cartridges that have occurred across the U.S. in recent months. What is thought to be one of the largest such raids occurred here in Minnesota. In Anoka County, around 77,000 cartridges were seized following an undercover investigation.

How long does the predator registration requirement last?

Being convicted of a sex offense comes with many major long-term consequences here in Minnesota. For certain crimes, this includes having to register with the state’s predatory offender registration program. Being on this registry can have deep impacts on individuals. It can greatly impact how they are viewed within a community. It could also impact where they can live, as some cities in the state have rules restricting where people on the registry can reside.

How long is a person convicted of a qualifying sex offense required to be on the registry? Today’s post will go over some of the basic rules on this.

How Minnesota is combatting opioid overdoses

Minnesotans have become more aware of the dangers of prescription medication overdoses over the last decade. Despite having the -lowest overdose rate in the country in 2017, law enforcement isn’t content with that number. Opioid overdoses kill hundreds of people in-state alone and a new initiative looks to reduce that number closer to zero.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has opened a new office in Duluth where medication overdoses have increased. This partnership will allow local law enforcement to combat the effort by giving them access to the DEA database.

Pot arrests down, but convictions steady, in Minnesota in recent years

Recent years have seen a lot of changes in both policies and public opinion regarding marijuana here in the U.S. Given this, one might wonder if Minnesota has seen any notable shifts in how common it is for people to face arrest and major consequences in relation to pot over this time. Statistics cited in a Star Tribune article from earlier this year shed some light on this.

According to this data, after a long period of flat rates, Minnesota saw a big drop in marijuana arrests after 2014. Since then, arrests have been staying at a relatively lower level. As an example, in 2017, there were over 2,000 fewer pot-related arrests than was the case in 2014.

Minnesota currently seeing upped DWI enforcement

With summer coming to an end and Labor Day weekend approaching, the next couple of weeks may be ones full of festivities for many Minnesotans. However, in the midst of all this fun, it is very important for individuals to be careful about how they act on the road. Missteps could lead to serious consequences, such as being accused of drunk driving.

Police in Minnesota are particularly on the lookout for DWI right now. The state is in the midst of a wave of increased DWI enforcement. This campaign started last Friday and is scheduled to go until Labor Day. Over 300 police agencies in the state are participating in it.

Minnesota’s sex crime laws just got stricter

At the start of this month, a slew of new laws went into effect here in Minnesota. This includes a range of statutes that toughen the state’s laws related to sex offenses.

For one, what qualifies as a sex offense has been expanded. There had previously been an exclusion in the state’s sex crime laws for the intentional touching of a person’s clothed buttocks with sexual/aggressive purpose. This exclusion has been removed, so such actions are now considered fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Minnesota violent crime rates drop in 2018

If you listen to the news each day, you might think that Minnesota is drowning in crime. It seems that every day brings a new murder or assault, but what's the real picture? We know news outlets cover violent crimes because they shock us and grab our attention, but how well do these stories inform our understanding of what's actually happening?

The truth is that violent crime fell by 6.7% in 2018. This is according to the official report compiled by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. But violent crimes are only one part of the larger picture. To understand the type of justice they should expect, Minnesotans need that larger view.

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