While lawmakers are wrangling to resolve Minnesota’s budget, questions remain for many individuals facing criminal charges about how the potential shutdown may affect them. The good news is that the shutdown is likely to have little impact.
Courts Will Remain Open
According to the Star Tribune, Judge Bruce Christopherson ruled on Tuesday that courts must stay open to avoid “irreparable and inestimable” consequences. “If the courts are not funded, the basic, essential constitutional rights of the public would be unprotected and fail.”
New Laws Go Into Effect
Laws approved by the legislature earlier this year will not be impacted by a government shutdown. The League of Minnesota Cities prepared a preliminary report at the end May, highlighting the laws that had already been enacted or changed to that point.
The following changes to laws will go into effect August 1st:
•· It is a gross misdemeanor to assault a postal worker, reserve officer, utility worker or police horse.
•· Intentionally harming or killing a public safety dog, like a K-9 police dog, will now be charged as a felony.
•· Anyone found guilty of harming or killing a public safety dog will have to pay restitution.
•· The crime against for fleeing a peace officer by motor vehicle and subsequently killing or severely injuring someone has been expanded to include situations where the offender abandons the motor vehicle and continues to try and escape by some other means.
•· Violations of no contact orders stemming from domestic abuse will require fingerprinting.
Some laws will be going into effect sooner. The legislature has made a point to decisively attack new manufactured methods of getting high. Designer drugs 2CE and 2C-I, as well as bath salts and plant food, which are popular forms of mephedrone, and finally synthetic cannabinoids, such as salvia, will all be listed as Schedule 1 controlled substances effective July 1st.
Timing is important when it comes to protecting your rights. If you are facing criminal charges you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.