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Minnesota Court of Appeals Clarifies When Self-Defense May Be Claimed

Self-Defense is often thought of as a way to protect yourself from harm.  If someone attacks you in some way, you may be justified in using self-defense to stop the attack, and you may not be held liable for any harm that occurs to the attacker.  “Reasonable use of force” may be authorized in these situations.  But what if there is no attack against you: can you still use self-defense?  According to a recent opinion by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the answer is “yes.” In State v. Lampkin, the defendant was charged with domestic assault after he pushed his...
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Presumed Guilty: Issuing a Dishonored Check

About 4 in 5 Americans live paycheck to paycheck, just one financial mishap from potential disaster. In Minnesota, that disaster can include criminal liability. When Minnesotans issue a check to a government agency, from their local county license center to the Department of Revenue, they can expect prosecution if the check bounces. And even if it was an accident, the current state of the law will presume they are guilty, potentially of a felony. Under Minnesota Statutes Section 609.535, a person who intentionally issues a check that later bounces is guilty of a felony if the check was more than...
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Enjoy Your Holidays; Don’t Ruin Them with a DWI

The holiday period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s is a time for festivities, family and fun. Unfortunately, sometimes that fun leads to over-imbibing in alcohol, which can bring a quick end to the fun if you spend part of your holiday period in jail. We at Farrish Johnson Law Office understand there are many opportunities to celebrate, with office parties, family events, football bowl game parties. But we want you to have a safe and happy holiday season, so here’s some advice about drinking and the consequences of DWI in Minnesota. DWI Laws in Minnesota First, it’s important to have...
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Joel Munt’s First-Degree Murder Conviction Upheld

The Minnesota Supreme Court, in a decision dated June 15, 2016, upheld the first-degree murder conviction of Joel Munt arising out of the shooting death of his former wife and the kidnapping of his three children. On appeal Munt argued error in: Declining to remove a prospective juror; Improper comments made to the jury; Improper jury instruction; and, His sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of release. The Minnesota Supreme Court determined the trial court did not abuse its discretion and Munt’s sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of release is constitutional.   This webpage contains general information...
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Expungement: Eligibility if Convicted of a Felony

We recently highlighted the process of  criminal expungement. As noted in that article, not all crimes are eligible for expungement.  A felony-level conviction is eligible only if it is listed in the expungement statute itself.  But most petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, and gross misdemeanors qualify for expungement after a period of time. So what happens if you are convicted of a felony-level crime that is not listed in the expungement statute but, because of a favorable sentence like a stay of imposition, the conviction is deemed a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor after successful completion of probation?  Are you eligible for expungement...
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