Giancola-Durkin, P.A.

Anoka County Criminal Law Blog

Will Minnesota relax its strict marijuana laws?

Across the United States, laws surrounding marijuana are becoming more accepting. Some states are decriminalizing the drug, while others have made the recreational sale or use of marijuana completely legal. Minnesota is one of many states that have legalized this substance for medical use only. Even with the legalization of medicinal use, the laws and penalties surrounding this drug are severe compared to other states.

Racial disparities growing in this key area of the criminal justice system

Sadly, there has been a long history of racial disparities in the criminal justice system here in the United States. Recent years have seen some of these disparities begin to shrink. Prison admission and arrest rates are down among black individuals.

However, there is one major area where, rather than decreasing, racial disparities have been increasing. This is length of time served in state prison.

What changes has Minnesota's medical marijuana program seen?

While marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, many states have legalized the drug for medical purposes. Minnesota is among these states. The state legislature approved the legalization of medical marijuana in 2014, and the state's medical marijuana program started the following year.

Since this time, the rules surrounding this program have not stayed stagnant. Rather there have been a range of changes. Today, we'll discuss two notable shifts that have occurred.

Can I enter Canada with a DWI?

With winter approaching and temperatures getting colder, you have already started planning your ice fishing trips this year. But if you plan on heading north of the border to the frozen lakes of Canada, a DWI conviction may stop you.

A DWI in Minnesota can mean that other countries won't allow you across the border. To enter Canada with a DWI, you may have to pay extra fees or take a rehabilitation course.

Hate crimes down in Minnesota, according to FBI numbers

Being accused of a hate crime can expose a person to especially severe consequences. According to recent FBI numbers, Minnesota has recently seen a small decrease in such offenses.

The FBI data indicates that, in 2018, law enforcement reported 126 hate crimes in the state. This nearly 15 percent less than the total from the prior year. Hate crime numbers were also down nationally last year.

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.

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