In Minnesota, furnishing tobacco to a minor (person under 21 years old) is a petty misdemeanor for a first offense. A second offense or more within five years is a misdemeanor offense. Misdemeanors have a maximum punishment of up to ninety days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Importantly, Tobacco 21 is a law that went into effect on August 1, 2020. This made 21 the threshold age to sell or furnish tobacco to someone, raising the age from 18. Studies show that raising the age should reduce smoking and vaping in young people, since most adults started smoking before they turned 21.

Notably, there is not a Minnesota statute that prohibits possession of tobacco for a person under 21. The thought is that giving those a criminal record for such an act is not worth it. Importantly, this is just according to Minnesota statutes and does not affect local city ordinances. Such ordinances may prohibit possession. Check your locality to see if that is the case. Statewide, the decision was to go after those who provide tobacco to people under 21 instead.

The most common tobacco product is cigarettes. But it also includes cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, tobacco-related products, such as rolling papers, pipes, bongs, electronic delivery devices, such as electronic cigarettes, vape pens, and modes. It is common to see pipes, bowls, and the like sold at smoke shops. Similar to selling tobacco to a person under 21, it is also punishable to sell these products to someone under 21.

There is an affirmative defense to furnishing tobacco or tobacco-related products to someone under 21. If the person charged with furnishing tobacco to a minor reasonably and in good faith relied on proof of age from the person they gave it to. This burden of this defense is a preponderance of the evidence. Therefore, if you sold tobacco to someone who gave you a fake ID, but you reasonably thought the ID was legit, then you can likely use that as a defense to being charged with furnishing tobacco to someone under 21.

There are also administrative (civil) penalties for those that furnish or sell tobacco or tobacco-related products to a person under 21. These apply to the person who furnished it and the employer. For employers, the first violation is an administrative penalty of $300. A second violation within thirty-six months of the first is a $600 fine. A third or more violation within thirty-six months of the first violation is a $1,000 fine and the employer’s authority to sell tobacco or tobacco-related products is suspended for at least seven days. The person who sold or furnished the tobacco or tobacco-related product will face a $50 administrative penalty in addition to any criminal charges.

Furnishing tobacco to someone under 21 can have a significant impact on criminal background checks, current and future employment opportunities, and general well-being. For a consultation at no charge, please contact Ambrose Law Firm by calling or texting 612-547-3199 or by email at ambroselegal@icloud.com. We help good people in unfortunate situations.

In Minnesota, furnishing alcohol to a minor (person under 21 years old) is a gross misdemeanor offense. Gross misdemeanors have a maximum punishment of up to one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. It is very uncommon, however, for anyone to actually serve the maximum punishment on this type of offense. The person furnishing the alcohol can also face civil penalties if the minor sustains injuries or injures another person or causes property damage. In situations, where the furnishing of alcohol to a minor occurs at a liquor store, restaurant, or bar, the establishment may face civil penalties and fines.

One of the most common ways a person faces charges for furnishing alcohol to a minor is when law enforcement sets up a sting operation. The cops will have someone who is under the age of 21, but generally looks older, go into a liquor store, restaurant, or bar and attempt to purchase alcohol. If the person selling the alcohol does not ask for a picture ID of the buyer, then you can virtually guarantee they will be charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor. In that scenario, the buyer usually finishes the purchase of the alcohol, leaves the establishment, and then the police officer comes in to talk to the seller of the alcohol. Law enforcement usually does not handcuff the seller and take them to jail. They often will give the seller information about what happened and that they can expect charges to come in the mail. A police report then gets drafted and forwarded to the prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor then reviews the case and decides whether to file charges with the court. If that happens, then the court will mail the seller the notice of the charges with a court date to appear for an Arraignment.

Another common way a person faces charges for furnishing alcohol to a minor is when someone at least 21 years old buys alcohol for someone under 21. Typically, some additional event occurs for law enforcement to get notified this has happened. Such as the police respond to a disturbance at a party where underage consumption of alcohol is occurring. The officers then further investigate and gain evidence of who provided the alcohol to the minors.

There is an affirmative defense to furnishing alcohol to a minor. If the person charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor is the parent or guardian of the minor and the person charged gave the alcoholic beverage to the minor solely to be consumed in the defendant’s household. This burden of this defense is a preponderance of the evidence. Therefore, if you give your kid a drink with alcohol at dinner while at your house, you can likely use this defense if you end up charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor for doing so.

Furnishing alcohol to minors can have a significant impact on a person’s criminal background check, current and future employment opportunities, and general well-being. For a consultation at no charge, please contact Ambrose Law Firm by calling 612-547-3199 or by email at ambroselegal@icloud.com. We help good people in unfortunate situations.

In Minnesota, what constitutes underage age drinking and driving? Seems simple enough. If you are under the age of 21, you drink alcohol, and you drive. Then, that is illegal, correct? The short answer is yes. Do not drink any alcohol and then drive a motor vehicle if you are under the age of 21. It is generally never a good idea to drink and drive, even if you are 21 or older and are under the legal limit. But if you are under the age of 21, then your margin for error is literally zero.

The law states that underage drinking and driving is a crime when “there is physical evidence of the consumption present in the person’s body.” To gather evidence for this, law enforcement officer will generally ask the person under the age of 21 to blow into a preliminary breath test (PBT). This is a handheld device that police officers use often at the side of the road to gauge a person’s blood alcohol concentration. You see it often requested in DWI investigations to aid an officer in determining whether to arrest someone on suspicion of DWI. If the PBT is above .08, then the driver is almost assuredly arrested for a DWI and taken to the local police department where they are read the Minnesota Breath Test Advisory. At that point, the driver can consult with an attorney before deciding to take the evidentiary breath test through the DataMaster device.

In underage drinking and driving cases in Minnesota, the investigation often ends right after the PBT. If it is above zero and below .08, then the officer will generally issue a citation to the driver and see if someone can pick them up. The driver’s vehicle is then impounded or, if you are lucky, left at the location of the incident to be picked up later. The citation will then be entered by the court administrator, and you will be notified of a court date. The collateral consequence of being convicted of underage drinking and driving in Minnesota is that it triggers a thirty-day driver’s license suspension. If it is the violators second conviction for underage drinking and driving, then the person will face a one-hundred-and-eighty-day license revocation. Preventing a conviction for underage drinking and driving through a stay of adjudication, continuance for dismissal, diversion, or dismissal based on pre-trial motions are some ways to keep a person’s driver’s license absent winning at trial.

If the driver was underage and they test .08 or more on the DataMaster device, then they will be subjected to the DWI penalties and not simply underage drinking and driving. There are various other ways a person can get a DWI, such as simply driving while impaired, refusing the evidentiary test, or being under the influence of a controlled substance. The civil penalties are more severe in the DWI context and the criminal penalties can also be more severe in some circumstances. For a consultation at no charge, please contact Ambrose Law Firm by calling 612-547-3199 or by email at ambroselegal@icloud.com.

First Degree DWI is a felony level offense in Minnesota. It does not get higher than that for a DWI in Minnesota. For a first-time felony DWI in Minnesota, the maximum punishment is up to seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine. A first-time felony DWI in Minnesota does not mean a person will go to prison, however. If you do not have any criminal history points, then worst case, you will often face a stayed prison sentence with the potential for local county jail time. If it is your second felony DWI in your lifetime, then you are very likely facing a presumptive commit to prison under the Minnesota sentencing guidelines.

One way a person can be charged with Felony First Degree DWI is if this new DWI is their fourth one in a ten-year period. Be mindful that you do not need all the prior DWIs in the past ten years to be DWI convictions. Merely, implied consent license revocations stemming from a DWI arrest can be enough to count as a prior designated offense for enhancement purposes. A first-time felony DWI can trigger a mandatory minimum sentence. This minimum sentence is thirty consecutive days in jail and one hundred and fifty days of house arrest. You may be able to avoid that mandatory minimum sentence in certain situations. Through the work of your defense attorney and discussions with the prosecutor and judge. Importantly, if you receive a stayed sentence, then you will have prison time hanging over your head. If you comply with probation and successfully complete your probationary term, then you are unlikely to ever serve that prison time. If you violate your probation, then it is possible for a judge to sentence you to prison time. It is not automatic, but rather you would go through the probation violation hearing process and arguments can be made to keep you out of prison.

If you have a prior felony DWI conviction, then you will likely be facing a presumptive commit to prison according to the Minnesota sentencing guidelines. The minimum sentence would be no less than thirty-six months in prison, but often a bit higher based on a likely criminal history score for a second time felony. Because of the potential liability at stake, these cases often end up being challenged in pre-trial motions and ultimately trial. Having your defense lawyer review your case for potential legal issues is paramount. Aside from litigating your case in court, your attorney may be able to work out a plea negotiation with the prosecutor to keep you out of prison. Absent those things, you can motion the court for a departure to keep you out of prison. This can be achieved if you can prove substantial and compelling circumstances that show you are amenable to probation or treatment. Getting a chemical dependency evaluation completed and following its recommendations early on in your case can often prove to be beneficial.

Another way to face a felony DWI is if you have a prior felony Criminal Vehicular Operation conviction according to the felony first degree DWI statute. Thus, even if you do not have a prior felony DWI conviction or this is your fourth DWI in ten years, you can still face a felony first degree DWI.

First Degree DWIs will also trigger lengthy driver’s license revocations and often involve a loss / seizure of your motor vehicle that was used during the incident. Minnesota’s laws are routinely changing over recent years on vehicle forfeitures. You have sixty days to challenge your vehicle being taken away by filing a complaint and demand for judicial determination. But, there are also other ways to get your vehicle back through the prosecutor’s office and law enforcement agency that seized your vehicle.

Second Degree DWI is a gross misdemeanor level offense in Minnesota. This level of offense carries a maximum punishment of up to one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. Second Degree DWI is the second most severe level of DWI in Minnesota. First Degree DWI is the only more serious DWI and is a felony level offense.

There are different ways a person can face a Second Degree DWI. Your first DWI can even be a Second Degree DWI in limited circumstances. More commonly, it results as your second or third DWI offense in a ten-year period. Minnesota has aggravating factors to determine what level of degree of DWI you would be charged with under the circumstances. One aggravating factor is if your evidentiary breath, blood, or urine test resulted in an alcohol concentration of .16 or more. Another aggravating factor is if you had a child under the age of sixteen in your vehicle at the of the offense. A third aggravating factor is if you have a prior DWI conviction or license revocation stemming from a DWI within the past ten years. If you have two or more of these aggravating factors present, then your DWI will rise to second degree. Another way to get to that level is if you refuse the evidentiary test in your current DWI and you have a prior DWI conviction or license revocation within the past ten years.

Importantly, the alcohol concentration level to focus on is from the evidentiary test an officer asks you to take. This is different than the PBT – preliminary breath test that law enforcement may ask you to take near the location of your arrest. Similarly, officers cannot charge you with a refusal DWI for refusing to take a PBT. Evidentiary tests are needed for that.

Second Degree DWIs also trigger mandatory minimum sentences if it is your second or third DWI in a ten-year period. Your second DWI in ten years triggers a more severe mandatory minimum sentence than your third DWI in ten years. But, you may be able to avoid the mandatory minimum sentence depending on the circumstances of your case, which also includes the prosecutor, judge, and defense attorney.

Second Degree DWI arrests also often lead to someone being held in custody until bail is set and paid, they see a judge, or are released on conditions such as an alcohol monitor. If the person is held in custody, they are likely going to be subjected to the mandatory maximum bail of $12,000. Judges will also give an alternative of lower bail or no bail plus the condition of someone being tested for alcohol consumption through an electronic device.

Second Degree DWIs will also trigger license revocations and license plate impoundment. Second Degree DWIs also often come with seizure of a motor vehicle. Minnesota’s laws are ever changing on vehicle forfeiture. Currently, there are ways to get your vehicle back without having to challenge the matter in court. Otherwise, you do have the right to challenge your vehicle being taken away in court and have sixty days to do so.

Third Degree DWI in Minnesota is a gross misdemeanor level offense. Gross misdemeanors have a maximum punishment of up to one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. Third Degree DWI is neither the most severe, nor least severe DWI. First Degree DWI is the most serious in Minnesota, which is a felony level offense. While Fourth Degree DWI is the least severe DWI as a misdemeanor offense.

There are a few different ways a person can be charged with a Third Degree DWI. Even if it is your first DWI offense, you can be charged with a Third Degree DWI in Minnesota. If it is your first offense and your alcohol level is .16 or more, then you can be charged with Third Degree DWI. If you have a child under the age of 16 in your vehicle at the time of the offense, then you can be charged with Third Degree DWI. If you refuse to submit to an evidentiary test, then you can be charged with Third Degree DWI Refusal on your first offense. Notably, when we are discussing what your test level is or refusing the test, we are talking about the evidentiary test a law enforcement officer may ask you to take. The preliminary breath test (PBT) that an officer may ask you to take at the side of the road or location of your arrest is not an evidentiary test. They cannot charge you with a refusal DWI for refusing a PBT. Similarly, you cannot be charged with a DWI for testing .08 or .16 or more based on the result of your PBT. An evidentiary test is needed for those things. That test is generally requested at a police department or jail. In Minnesota, when an officer requests an evidentiary breath test, they are supposed to read you the Minnesota Breath Test Advisory. This advisory includes your rights to speak with an attorney before deciding to take the evidentiary test.

Another way a person can be charged with Third Degree DWI is if they have a prior DWI or designated license revocation within the past ten years. This is an aggravating factor that also triggers a mandatory minimum sentence. Depending on the prosecutor, judge, and work of your defense attorney, you may be able to avoid the mandatory minimum sentence. Third Degree DWI arrests can also lead to being held in custody until either bail is set and paid, you see a judge, or are released after the thirty-six- or forty-eight-hour rule applies.

Third Degree DWIs will also come with longer license revocation and potential license plate impoundment. Currently, a Third Degree DWI will trigger a one-year driver’s license revocation. For Third Degree DWI Refusal cases, a limited license or work permit is currently an option during the license revocation period. For Third Degree DWIs based on a prior DWI within the past ten years or a test of .16 or more on a first offense, the ignition interlock program is an option during the revocation period. In either event, or in any license revocation stemming from a DWI, you have sixty days from the date the notice is served to challenge it with a petition for judicial review in court. Depending on the county, you may be able to get a driver’s license reinstatement on a temporary basis while your case is ongoing.  Contact our Minnesota DWI Attorneys today to discuss your case.

Fourth Degree DWI in Minnesota is a misdemeanor offense. While misdemeanors have a maximum punishment of up to ninety days in jail and a $1,000 fine, Fourth Degree DWI is the lowest level of DWI in Minnesota. First Degree DWI is the most severe as a felony. Second and Third Degree DWI are gross misdemeanor level offenses.

A person can get a Fourth Degree DWI if it is their first offense and their alcohol level is below .16. Importantly, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level needs to be below. 16 for the evidentiary test, which is a breath test a person submits to at the police department or jail after being arrested for a DWI. That is different than the preliminary breath test (PBT) a person may take at the location of the arrest, side of the road, etc. That PBT cannot be used solely to charge someone with a DWI. The PBT can be used as evidence to arrest someone for DWI, which will lead to a request to take the evidentiary test at the jail or police department.

After the testing procedure at the jail or police department, if the result is less than .16 and the person does not have any prior DWIs or designated license revocations in the past ten years, then the officer may give the person a citation for Fourth Degree DWI. Then, the person is often released to a sober party. Sometimes, a person may be released on their own if they are able to provide a breath test showing all zeroes at some point. It is rare that a person will be required to pay bail on a misdemeanor DWI case.

Upon release, the person will be notified of their first court appearance. This notification can either come right on the spot by an officer providing the notice to you or it can come later from the court through the mail. Most private criminal defense attorneys will handle the first appearance for you without you needing to appear if you sign a waiver of appearance form. In that situation, the attorney will select the pre-trial hearing at your first appearance and notify you afterwards what date that will be.

Also, upon release from custody, you will likely receive a notice an order of license revocation. For Fourth Degree DWI cases, if you took an alcohol concentration test that resulted between .08 and .15, then the revocation will be for ninety days. You only have sixty days to challenge that revocation. There will also be an option to get a limited license (a.k.a. work permit) after fifteen days have passed the seven-day temporary license that is issued to you upon release from custody.

It is also important to note that DWIs are enhanceable offenses. Any subsequent DWI within a ten-year period can be more severe. Four DWIs in ten years is a felony offense. The civil penalties can also be more severe, including longer license revocations and forfeiture of your motor vehicle in certain situations.

In criminal cases, restitution may be awarded to the victim(s) when deemed appropriate by the court. The criteria for determining whether restitution is appropriate and if so, what amount, varies from state to state. In Minnesota, the statute lists two factors the court uses to decide whether restitution should be awarded, and the amount: (1) the amount of economic loss sustained by the victim as a result of the offense; and (2) the income, resources, and obligations of the defendant.

There are two other important subdivisions of the statute that are often in controversy. Subdivision 2a requires that the court include a payment schedule for the defendant to make payments within their means. Subdivision 3 places the burden on the defendant to produce evidence to challenge the amount of restitution.

In a recent Minnesota Appellate Court decision, State of Minnesota v. Cloutier, Cloutier argued that the state did not provide sufficient evidence to prove his ability to pay restitution and the court did not adequately consider his ability to pay. The court ruled that the statute does not place the burden on the state and the court need not base the amount of restitution on the defendant’s resources, but rather expressly state that is has considered those factors in their decision. In this case, the court found that although Cloutier may not be able to make payments while incarcerated if he did not work, there was no evidence that Cloutier was unable to work while incarcerated, and there was evidence that he would receive social security payments upon release. However, the court remanded a third issue that the court did not comply with the statutory requirement of including a provision for a payment schedule in the restitution order.

There are three key takeaways from this decision and the application of the statute. First, the state has the burden of providing evidence of the victim(s) economic loss, and the defendant may only challenge the amount (if any) restitution should be awarded, rather than challenging their ability to pay the restitution.  Second, the court only needs to consider the defendant’s income, resources, and obligations in determining the payment plan, not in determining whether the defendant can reasonably pay the amount of restitution that is being awarded. Finally, the court must actually create a payment schedule or assign the task to someone else. It does not satisfy the statute to just say that the defendant will make small payments.

One issue that the court does not address in the Cloutier case, but the defendant seems to imply in his argument is whether the defendant will realistically have the means to pay restitution whether it be while incarcerated or upon release. The federal restitution process offers programs that assists victims in recovering from offenders by encouraging offenders to allot a portion of their prison wages to paying their restitution obligations, or while the defendant is under probation the probation officer will ensure restitution is paid when possible. Even with these efforts, the amount offenders are able to pay is usually very low and many victims will never receive full restitution payment.

Short answer: forever.

Longer answer: for insurance purposes it may be shorter. If you get an expungement of your Minnesota DWI, then it can be on your record for less time. For enhancement purposes, it is a ten-year time frame in Minnesota.

Every insurance company is different. How the company treats even one DWI can vary from insurance company to insurance company. Some are incredible strict and will drop you from coverage after one DWI arrest. Some will not even change your insurance rates at all. The same level of variation can occur for how long an insurance company will use the DWI against you. Insurance companies generally look at your driving record, which will reflect a DWI forever unless you get an expungement.

If you were convicted of a DWI, then you will need to wait a certain length of time before you are statutorily eligible for an expungement. On Fourth Degree Misdemeanor DWI, you need to wait until after two years have passed your discharge from probation to be eligible for a statutory expungement. On Second and Third Degree Gross Misdemeanor DWI, you need to wait four years after being discharged from probation before you are eligible for a statutory expungement. Currently, felony DWIs are not statutorily eligible for an expungement in Minnesota. Some prosecutors may fight back against expunging a DWI, especially if the DWI is still within the ten-year period of enhancement. While district court judges are not supposed to use the enhancement period to deny an expungement request, they may use other reasons to come the result they desire.

The more DWIs a person gets in a ten-year period, the more severe they can become. Each prior DWI conviction, or driver’s license revocation related to the DWI, within a ten-year period is an aggravating factor. Four DWIs in ten years can result in a felony charge. Two or three DWIs in ten years is a gross misdemeanor. One DWI in ten years is a misdemeanor. If you have a DWI over ten years old, then prosecutors should not be using that DWI to make the current one more severe, unless the prior is a felony DWI. A prior felony DWI will result in all future DWIs to be charged as a felony. Importantly, if your MN DWI was dismissed or resulted in Careless Driving or some other resolution in criminal court, then be mindful of whether a license revocation stemming from the incident is on your record. If so, that license revocation can be used just the same as a prior DWI conviction for enhancement purposes. Also, insurance companies may treat license revocations just the same as DWI convictions.

Contact Us Today if you are in need of a Minnesota DWI attorney. Our Minneapolis lawyers have the experience necessary to help you with your case.

Expungement of a juvenile record in Minnesota is slightly different than expunging an adult record. In adult expungements, there are waiting periods before someone can be eligible for a statutory expungement – if they received a stay of adjudication, went through a diversion program, or were convicted of the offense. These are often one-, two-, four-, or five-year waiting periods depending on out the outcome and level of offense.

In juvenile expungements in Minnesota, there are no waiting periods. Regardless of the level of offense are type of disposition. In adult cases, felony convictions (of which only fifty felony offenses are eligible for statutory expungement) have a five-year waiting period after discharge from probation. A juvenile felony matter requires no waiting period. That is a significant difference for those wanting to get a felony matter expunged from their record.

The procedures for filing expungements are virtually identical compared to adult matters. In juvenile cases, you often need to be mindful of what agencies may hold records of the juvenile’s case. Dispositions can often be transferred to the home county where the juvenile resides. If the offense occurred in Hennepin County, but the juvenile resides in Ramsey County, then the case will often proceed in Hennepin County up until the point of disposition. In that case, you want to make sure all the appropriate agencies are served with the expungement. Detention centers can also be in different jurisdictions for juvenile matters.

The court also analyzes juvenile expungements a bit differently in juvenile court. One of the factors the court will evaluate is the age, education, experience, and background, including mental and emotional development, of the juvenile at the time of the offense. That is not an enumerated consideration in adult expungements, although it can be used persuasively in argument. Other similar factors in juvenile expungements that are prevalent in adult cases are the benefit that expungement would yield to the juvenile in pursuing education, employment, and housing. Minnesota’s expungement law was reworked in 2015 and widely acclaimed as a second chance law. It was to give more opportunities for those seeking employment and housing to have a second chance at having a clean background. Juvenile court does add education to that mix, which adult court does not specifically list as a factor to consider. The juvenile expungement law also has the language “pursuing” education, employment, and housing while the adult statute does not have that forward-looking term.

Another procedural wrinkle in juvenile expungements is that there is not a clear standard for the burden of proof compared to adult cases. In adult cases, where there is a conviction, the standard is clear and convincing evidence must be shown by the person seeking expungement to show why their record should be expunged. In the juvenile law, there is no specific language used as to the level of proof. With that silence, courts will often use a preponderance of the evidence standard, which is lower than the adult clear-and-convincing standard.

Even though many juvenile records are confidential, people may still want to get their juvenile records expunged. There are some advantages in juvenile court, such as length of time before being statutorily eligible for expungement and a lower burden of proof than adult court. To obtain a consultation at no charge, please contact our office by phone or text to at 612-547-3199 or email: ambroselegal@icloud.com.

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