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Minneapolis Criminal & Family Law Blog

Thousands may face more jail time for Minnesota DWI convictions

If you are arrested for drunk driving later this year, you are more likely to go to jail than ever before, if convicted. In an effort to reduce the number of drunk driving crashes in the state, Minnesota revised a law that will send about 3,000 additional drivers to jail each year, according to the Star Tribune.

If your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08 or greater, you will be charged with a misdemeanor. If convicted, you may face up to 90 days in jail and the loss of your driver’s license for 90 days. If you had a few additional drinks before getting behind the wheel, a BAC of .2 currently bumps the charge up to a gross misdemeanor, which can lead to one year in jail and the loss of your license for one year.

Defending against mail and wire fraud, P.2

In our last post, we began speaking about mail and wire fraud statutes and the importance of working with an experienced attorney to build a strong defense case. Because there are very particular requirements that must be met to fulfill the elements of these crimes, it is important to carefully scrutinize the evidence with the assistance of a skilled defense attorney.

In terms of intent, it is important that defendants who made a deceptive or untrue communication in good faith to mount a strong defense at trial. Deceptive statements made without the intent to deceive do not satisfy the intent element of the charge, though statements made with intentional disregard to the truth are not made in good faith, nor is it good faith if there is intent to deceive but the defendant believes the victim will likely be unharmed or profit from the communication. 

Defending against mail and wire fraud

One of the realities of the criminal process is that prosecutors generally do everything they can to seek criminal penalties for an offender. In many cases, prosecutors try to tag as many charges on a defendant as possible in order to maximize penalties, even if charges are largely duplicative. One area where this frequently happens is with fraud cases.

Whether a defendant is facing criminal charges for mortgage fraud, tax fraud, insurance fraud, health care fraud, or some other form of fraud, it is not at all uncommon for prosecutors to tack on mail and wire fraud charges. Under federal law, mail and wire fraud have essentially the same elements, other than the difference in the means of communication.

What is the difference between legal separation and divorce?

If you are considering a split from your spouse, your main options to ensure you are legally protected are legal separation and divorce. While most people overlook legal separation, it can be the right choice for some people.

Right now you may be wondering what the difference is.

New law can keep medi-pot users out of jail, if they can sign up

Minnesota's new medical cannabis law went into effect on July 1, to the great relief of many sufferers of epilepsy, cancer and other medical conditions. Now, patients able to obtain a doctor's medical certification for a qualifying condition can legally possess and use cannabis-based medicines in oil, pill or liquid form.

For those hoping to benefit from the drugs, the news that they can take them without fear of criminal drug prosecution is an enormous relief. As we've mentioned before, however, they aren't immune from prosecution for behavior related to medi-pot; diversion of the drugs to others, or lying on the required forms, are still illegal. 

Why self-care is especially important for women both during and after a divorce

These days, it seems that every time you pick up a magazine or turn on the television there's an article or segment about how to reduce stress in one's life. While it's virtually impossible to avoid stress altogether, researchers have found that when an individual is under stress, he or she excretes elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Overtime, increased and elevated levels of cortisol have been linked to a myriad of adverse health side-effects including heart attacks.

Given the link between stress and heart problems, the findings of a recent Duke University study, that also points to a link between divorce and heart attacks, aren't too surprising. According to the findings, women who experienced a divorce at some point in their lives "were 24 percent more likely to get a heart attack over women who did not."

Change in MN DWI laws, signals stiffer penalties

Summer in Minnesota is hard to beat as winter-weary residents emerge from their homes to gather with family and friends and head out to enjoy barbeques, festivals and time at the cabin and lake. For many Minnesota residents, these summer traditions are often enjoyed while having an alcoholic beverage or two.

Law enforcement officials in Minnesota take drunk driving very seriously, a fact that is reflected in the state's drunk driving arrest and conviction rates as one in "seven licensed Minnesota drivers has at least one DWI." What's more, at 40 percent, the state "has the highest DWI recidivism rate" in the country. A soon-to-be enacted law will likely serve to increase these already staggering statistics.

Why a spouse's job may actually reduce the likelihood that he or she will stray

Prior to the women's liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s, many U.S. women fulfilled the roles of homemakers and stay-at-home moms. Today, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that more than 57 percent of women age 16 and older work outside the home and a record number report earning more than a spouse or being the sole breadwinners in their households.

While U.S. women spent decades relying on men for their financial needs and security, a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut finds that today, regardless of sex, individuals who are financially dependent on a spouse are more likely to be unfaithful. In fact researchers found that women who are solely dependent on a spouse's income are five percent more likely to cheat. For men who depend on a spouse's income, rates of infidelity jump to 15 percent.

Judge's ruling considered a win for those commited to Minnesota's Sex Offender Program

In January, we discussed the growing controversy over Minnesota's handling of individuals who are convicted of sexual offenses and Minnesota's Sex Offender Program. At that time, several convicted sex offenders who were confined to one of the state's two sex offender treatment facilities, were about to have their day in court as they raised questions about the constitutionality of the MSOP.

Roughly 700 individuals are currently housed at the two state-run facilities. All came to call the facilities home after completing the terms of their sentences and being forced to go through an involuntary civil commitment process. A recent report by Minnesota Public Radio revealed that since the program's inception in the "mid-1990s, only three people have been provisionally released.

Child endangerment laws in the state of Minnesota

Under state law in Minnesota, it is illegal to neglect, physically abuse, sexually abuse or mentally injure a child. These offenses all fall under the umbrella of child endangerment, with neglect being the most common.

Neglect of a child refers to a parent or legal guardian failing to provide a child with proper food, clothing or shelter. Failing to provide a child with an education and exposing a child to illegal drugs can also be considered illegal neglect. 

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Christa Jacqueline Groshek
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