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St. Cloud Criminal Defense Law Blog

Effects of a drug charge can be immediate and life changing

The justice system in Minnesota and the rest of the United States is built on the premise that any individual charged with a crime must be presumed innocent until guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

That's the ideal, but very often the mere filing of charges leaves the defendant devastated. Even if the person's efforts to clear his or her name are completely successful, the shadow of the criminal proceedings can hang over the individual for the rest of the individual's life. Property could be lost. Income opportunities could dry up. With so much at stake, no charge of any kind should be taken lightly.

Is spanking my child domestic violence in Minnesota?

It is widely accepted that certain corporal punishment practices are part of the parenting process. Even in countries where the use of corporal punishment is completely banned, such as those in Scandinavia, the act of spanking a child isn't likely to result in an arrest or prosecution. But just because it isn't likely, doesn't mean it won't happen.

In the state of Minnesota, the law attempts to distinguish between acceptable corporal punishment and child abuse or neglect by using the phrase "reasonable and moderate physical discipline." Of course, what is considered reasonable is often in the eye of the beholder. If authorities believe certain actions cross the line, a parent might find it necessary to raise a defense against domestic violence charges.

Does Cosby have immunity from sexual assault prosecution?

A couple of weeks ago, we offered something of a tutorial on the statute of limitations. How the concept can factor in a criminal case seemed to be on clear display in the filing of sexual assault charges against entertainer Bill Cosby. Prosecutors have acknowledged that they took their action because the 12-year window of opportunity for such charges was closing. In the days and weeks since, there have been more developments that provide an even deeper glimpse to the general public about the workings of the legal system.

To be sure, laws and systems vary according to the state involved, which is why anyone facing criminal charges in Minnesota should work with an attorney with experience in the jurisdiction where the case is being prosecuted.

DUI dismissal granted on evidence of rare body condition

Did you hear about the woman who saw driving under the influence charges she was facing dismissed because of a condition called auto-brewery syndrome? Some may find the story almost amusing, but those with experience in defending against DUI allegations are more likely to say that the case serves as another example of why it's important to have skilled counsel at your side.

The matter didn't occur in Minnesota, but that does not mean that it couldn't. So with that in mind we share it here.

Cosby case shines light on influence of statute of limitations

The concept of a statute of limitations is something that far back in history. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, early Roman law included limits in some civil matters. Statutes of limitation related to personal actions, however, didn't become matter of law until around the 17th century in England.

Today, there are only a handful of crimes that have no statute of limitations. It very much depends on the laws of a particular state. The one most Minnesota readers are likely familiar with in this regard is murder. There is no deadline on when authorities can bring a murder charge against a suspect. Outside of that, statutes of limitation recognize that over time physical and witness evidence tends to degrade to a point where it is no longer reliable.

Appeals court rules against warrantless DWI urine tests

There are several kinds of tests that individuals suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol might be subjected to by police. They include: blood, breath and urine. In the state of Minnesota, refusing to submit to one of these tests could result in a criminal charge separate from any drunk driving charge. And if a conviction is obtained, it could mean a mandatory prison sentence.

Clearly, with consequences as significant as that, it is imperative for anyone who is facing test refusal charges to understand exactly what their rights are and what the ramifications could be of any decisions they might make.

Anonymous Internet does not mean crimes there are victimless

Is there any such thing as a victimless crime? This is the source of debate that has been going on probably for as long as there have been laws being enforced. The answer to the question depends on whom you talk to.

On one hand you have that school of thought that argues that if an act that is currently deemed illegal, such as prostitution or voluntary use of illegal drugs or gambling, does not result in apparent pain or injury to another, the label of victimless crime might apply. In some cases, the perception is so great that groups actively push to get laws changed. The issue of recreational use of marijuana comes to mind as an example.

Police: We know more about child pornographers than you think

The Internet is a vast virtual world with almost seemingly limitless open space. That does not mean it is a complete mystery or that individuals can operate in that environment with complete anonymity. Identification may not be easy, but it isn't impossible.

As we have seen in recent years, there's a lot of tracking going on that most of us don't know about. This can be seen in the development of such organizations like WikiLeaks and the revelations that the National Security Agency has been surreptitiously collecting massive amounts of data about Americans' phone activities. And if a recent story on KARE 11 is accurate, authorities in Minnesota and all over the globe are closely monitoring the activities of suspected child pornographers.

Prosecutorial discretion: a nuance in need of clear understanding

In this day and age, it can be appealing to think that the imparting of information is equivalent to the imparting of wisdom. Individuals who consider themselves handy with tools will probably not be shy about Googling a YouTube video on how to troubleshoot and fix a home appliance.

It might even occur to some in Minnesota that if they've seen something on "Law & Order" they have all the data they need to be able to represent themselves against criminal charges. But as experienced criminal defense attorneys will attest, there's a massive difference between general information about the law and the actual practice of it in the courtroom. Skilled representation is always advised for someone facing criminal charges.

What's the right response to sexting?

Politicians can find themselves shamed out of office for sexting. Teens can find themselves shamed out of school and their closest social circles if they do it. And if the images escape onto the broader online world -- well.

In the latter situation, the practice of sexting, even if it involves consenting individuals, can lead to felony sex crime charges that raise the specter of being labeled a sex offender. It's an issue of growing concern across the United States, including in Minnesota.