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Firearms and Drugs: An Overview

Under state and federal law, it is illegal to possess a controlled substance that is not prescribed by a physician.  This is not a new concept, and most people in this country are aware of the illegality.  The charges in Minnesota for illegal drug possession vary, from misdemeanors to felonies.  And the corresponding sentences upon… Read more »

Can You Be Charged Twice With The Same Crime?

Most people have heard of “double jeopardy” in some way or another.  Whether it be through reading, television shows or movies, the idea that someone can’t be charged twice for the same crime is part of our lexicon.  However, it is not as simple as it sounds. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution… Read more »

Boating While Intoxicated

The Fourth of July holiday is fast approaching.  Many people head up to their cabins for the holiday, others stay in the Twin Cities area and take advantage of the many lakes that are available to the public.  As many people will tell you, watching fireworks from a boat, in the middle of the lake,… Read more »

Racism In Jury Selection

Serving on a jury is one of the ways that citizens have the opportunity to participate in the democratic process. States vary on how juries are selected, but most follow a rather general procedure:  1) A group of citizens are randomly summoned to the local courthouse for potential service; 2) a subgroup of those citizens… Read more »

Is a Dog Sniff a Search?

A police officer stops your for speeding, goes back to his car, grabs his drug detection canine, and walks it around your vehicle.  A police officer suspects that you are growing marijuana in your home, brings his drug detection canine to your residence and has it sniff near your front door.  An officer bring a drug… Read more »

Domestic Abuse and Gun Rights

I have been asked numerous times over the course of my career what affect, if any, a domestic assault/abuse conviction has on gun rights in Minnesota.  It is a complicated issue, which implicates both state and federal law.   Under Minnesota law, a conviction for a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor domestic assault will trigger a… Read more »

What To Do When Stopped By the Police

People often ask me, “what should I do when I am pulled over by the police?”.  The simple answer is; be  cooperative and polite and the encounter should end rather smoothly.  However, there are things that happen during a traffic stop that trigger your rights under the United States and Minnesota constitutions.   Let’s be… Read more »

The Disorderly Conduct Charge in Minnesota: What is It, How Serious, and What can You Do about It?

People who act out in public in a particularly disruptive way may be taken off the street and charged with disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct and breaching the peace are public safety crimes in Minnesota. Minnesota does not put public intoxication, as such, in the same category (although many states do). In Minnesota, public intoxication is… Read more »

What Makes a Crime a Federal Offense?

A crime is a crime and a court is a court, right? For those who haven’t committed a lot of crimes in their lifetime, as far as they believe there is no difference between state and federal courts. While the laws and crimes that can land you in either are similar, they are not the… Read more »