What You Should Know About Animal Attacks in Minnesota

Dog bites often cause extremely gruesome injuries. But that’s not always the case. In fact, in many situations, there might be little or no apparent physical injury. Regardless of the amount of pain or apparent severity of the injury, these victims usually need and deserve compensation. This compensation is usually available even if the victim did not immediately need to go to the Emergency Room. To have the best chance at getting compensation, this is what you should know about animal attacks in Minnesota.

Animal Attack Financial Settlement Values Are on the Rise in MN

Better understanding of this overall principle, as well as the nature of dog bite injuries, are the primary reason that the animal attack financial settlement value has more than doubled since 2003. Higher medical bills are another reason. Significant advances in medical technology and doctor insight are not cheap.

As outlined below, victims have multiple legal options in these situations. Frequently, multiple options are available in the same case. Each alternative has some pros and cons. Insurance companies usually have several legal options as well. But these alternatives reduce the amount of compensation the victim receives, or even deny compensation altogether.

The insurance company has a small army of lawyers and other professionals who are dedicated to lowering or eliminating compensation. So, you need an equally determined Hutchinson accident lawyer on your side. A private attorney cannot possibly match an insurance company’s vast resources. But David took out Goliath without much of a problem, and those odds were even longer.

Types of Animal Attack Injuries

Most people associate severe dog bite injuries with situations like an out-of-control pit bull tearing into a toddler. But most of the tens of thousands of dog bite victims who visit hospital Emergency Rooms every year don’t have those kinds of injuries. As a result, they often do not get the treatment they need. So, a Hutchinson accident lawyer’s first priority in dog bite claims is usually arranging for proper medical care. More on that below.

Physical Injuries from Animal Attacks in MN

When dogs attack, their teeth usually inflict deep puncture wounds as well as severe tearing lacerations on skin. What you should know about animal attacks in Minnesota is that physical wounds can be very serious. If you’ve been attacked by an animal, seek medical attention, even if your skin as not been broken.

The puncture wounds usually pierce internal organs. Since these organs have no protective skin layer, even a slight prick could cause profuse bleeding. This bleeding is usually difficult to detect and even more difficult to stop.

Tearing lacerations usually require extensive, and expensive, treatment at a specialty trauma center, as well as extensive physical therapy. Even then, physical and emotional scars usually remain.

Emotional Injuries from Animal Attacks in MN

Speaking of child animal attack victims, many of these victims suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-type symptoms in the wake of a dog bite attack. These symptoms, such as flashbacks, depression, hypervigilance, and anger, make it difficult or impossible to function in everyday environments.

Various kinds of PTSD therapy are available. Many victims benefit greatly from traditional individual and group therapy. Therapists help victims verbalize their feelings and develop some effective coping mechanisms, so they can avoid PTSD triggers.

Many other people benefit from artistic or other kinds of therapy. When victims concentrate on creating things, they are not concentrating on their negative feelings. Eventually, those negative feelings fade. Your brain is much like your lawn. If there are weeds in your lawn, if you water and fertilize the grass, the grass will choke out the weeds.

PTSD therapy only goes so far. That’s because, fundamentally, a chemical imbalance in the brain triggers Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some victims need medicine to correct this imbalance. These drugs are extremely strong, so only a top doctor should supervise drug therapy.

Nerve/Tendon Damage from Animal Attacks in MN

Many dogs are bred to bite but not bite down. Retrievers are a good example. These animals, wait for it, retrieve objects without biting into them. This behavior is in their DNA, so it’s usually present even if they have received no formal training.

This trait is usually a good thing. But that’s not always true. The pressure of a dog’s teeth could cause a tendon or nerve injury, even if the dog’s teeth do not break the skin. Telltale signs of nerve or tendon injuries include loss of feeling and loss of use.

The damage is usually not invasive. Correcting the damage, however, is a different story. Most of these victims need immediate surgery to repair the nerves or tendons. Such procedures are extremely painful and risky. Unfortunately, the procedure itself is just the beginning. These victims must then undergo extensive physical therapy. Even after therapy, some loss of feeling or loss of use is almost inevitable. For example, if the nerves in the finger are damaged, some victims may eventually be able to feel hot and cold, but that’s about it.

Lack of a pain reflex could lead to additional serious injuries down the road. Hot playground equipment is a good example. Even in Minnesota, surface temperatures on slides, monkey bars, and other outside play equipment can approach 190 degrees. That’s well above the burn threshold and just short of boiling.

Broken Bones from Animal Attacks in Minnesota

The bite is not the only component of an animal attack. In fact, in many cases, it’s not even the most serious component. The knockdown, especially if the dog is big and the victim is frail, could cause injuries like broken bones and head injuries. We’ll look at head injuries in a moment. First, let’s look at broken bones.

This name is a bit misleading. When kids fall off their bikes, they break their bones. When animals attack, the force of the impact usually shatters or crushes bones. Doctors must normally use metal parts, like plates or screws, to reconstruct these bones. As a result, these victims need extensive physical therapy to regain use of their limbs.

Some of the same nerve injury principles apply here. Since shattered or crushed bone treatment is so extensive, some permanent loss of function is almost inevitable.

Imagine if you were a 5-year-old girl who must live the rest of her life with only 75 percent range of motion in her shoulder. How much compensation is fair in a case like that? If you were an insurance company lawyer, your answer would be zero. If you were a Hutchinson accident lawyer, your answer would be much different.

Head Injuries from Animal Attacks in Minnesota

As mentioned, serious injuries don’t always look serious. Moreover, they don’t always feel serious either. That’s especially true regarding head injuries.

How do dog bites cause head injuries? Before we answer that question, understand that the brain does not fit snugly into the skull, like a hand in a glove. Instead, the brain is essentially a water tank which suspends the brain in cerebrospinal fluid.

The aforementioned force causes the brain to violently slam against the victim’s skull as the victim falls and lands hard.

Many people are familiar with this effect, but they don’t know it. They think better when they pace or go for a head-clearing walk. With each step, their brains very gently bang against their skulls.

Brain injuries like these are permanent. When brain cells die, they don’t regenerate. At best, a brain injury physical therapist can train uninjured parts of the brain to take over lost functions.

Infection from Animal Attacks in Minnesota

Dog bites have very high infection rates. Even a pinprick in the skin which does not bleed and does not hurt could cause various kinds of infections. These illnesses are especially severe for people with certain pre-existing conditions.

Because of the foreseeability rule, Hutchinson accident lawyers must usually file separate legal claims to obtain compensation for infection-related injuries. Usually, infections get out of control because doctors do not properly diagnose and treat them. Legally, dog owners can foresee (predict) that a dog bite might happen, but no one can predict that a medical mistake might happen.

Your Legal Options If You Have Been Attacked by an Animal in MN

The average injury-related medical bill usually exceeds $50,000. Most group health insurance policies exclude injury-related claims, and most people cannot possibly pay such expenses out of their own pockets.

So, a Hutchinson accident lawyer arranges for victims to receive treatment from doctors at no upfront cost. These aren’t just any regular doctors. These physicians specialize in diagnosing and treating dog bite wounds and other injury-related wounds.

These bills come due eventually. To obtain compensation for medical bills, and other economic losses, most attorneys use one of the following legal theories.

Strict Liability

Minnesota has one of the broadest strict liability animal attack laws in the country. “If a dog, without provocation, attacks or injures any person who is acting peaceably in any place where the person may lawfully be, the owner of the dog is liable in damages to the person so attacked or injured to the full amount of the injury sustained.”

So, Minnesota animal attack victims who use the strict liability law need only prove cause. They don’t need to prove negligence and they don’t need to prove the owner knew the dog was dangerous. The only possible defense, as mentioned in the statute, is provocation.

Ironically, the broad nature of this law sometimes works against victims. Many jurors, especially pet owners, see this law as a financial pet ownership penalty. That’s especially true if the owner adopted a dog and didn’t fully know the animal’s history.

Scienter (Knowledge)

This doctrine comes from the one-bite rule, which is rooted in English common law. Owners are liable for bite injuries if they knew the dog was potentially dangerous. Evidence of knowledge includes pre-bite behavior, such as:

  • Aggressive barking,
  • Sudan lunging,
  • Vicious growling, and
  • Baring of teeth.

Usually, a Hutchinson accident lawyer must prove knowledge by a preponderance of the evidence, a legal phrase which means “more likely than not.” That’s one of the lowest standards of proof in Minnesota law. So, a little evidence goes a long way.

Negligence

In some states, negligence in a dog bite case is simply a lack of care. For example, a daycare teacher is negligent if he allows children to play near a strange dog.

Minnesota is different. The sheer folly of letting toddlers near a potentially dangerous dog is not enough to prove negligence. Victim/plaintiffs must also prove that the tortfeasor (negligent actor) knew the dog was dangerous.

The same circumstantial evidence mentioned above is admissible in this context. But generally, the standard of proof is lower. Instead of a preponderance of the evidence, there must only be a scintilla (crumb) of evidence.

Assume Savannah, who is a second-grade teacher, lets her students pet a yippy or nervous dog during show-and-tell. Such animal behavior isn’t enough to establish knowledge by a preponderance of the evidence. But it should be enough to convince Savannah that letting children near the dog is a really bad idea.

Possible Defenses for Animal Attack in MN

A Hutchinson accident lawyer’s claim must not only be strong enough to make a prima facie damages claim. It must also be strong enough to refute some insurance company defenses, such as the provocation defense.

Provocation in Strict Liability Claims

The P-word has a very narrow meaning in the dog bite context, whether the claim is strict liability, negligence, or scienter.

Provocation is always an intentional act. Victims cannot accidentally provoke dogs by making loud noises or sudden moves. Furthermore, provocation is usually a physical act. Mere teasing isn’t enough. Instead, the victim must inflict so much pain on the animal that the dog had to react violently in self-defense.

In a strict liability claim, provocation is either all or nothing, at least in most cases. If the victim provoked the dog, the victim is ineligible for compensation. This variable could affect the choice of legal options, as outlined above.

Provocation in Negligence and Scienter Claims

What you should know about animal attacks id that that the provocation in negligence and Scienter claims is that this defense works differently in these claims. Instead of all or nothing, provocation is basically a form of comparative fault.

This defense also comes up frequently in car crash claims. Perhaps one driver changed lanes unsafely and the other one was speeding. In the dog bite scienter or negligence context, the victim was partially at fault for provoking the dog. In these situations, jurors must listen to the evidence and then divide fault on a percentage basis, such as 80-20 or 50-50.

Minnesota is a modified comparative fault state with a 51 percent bar. So, if the dog was at least 51 percent responsible for the attack, the victim is entitled to a proportionate share of damages.

In addition to compensation for medical bills and other economic losses, these damages usually include compensation for noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Consult an Animal and Dog Bite Injury Lawyer in Minnesota

What you should know about animal attacks in Minnesota is that animal bites don’t have to break the skin to cause serious injury. For a free consultation with an experienced Hutchinson accident lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.

What Percentage of Marriages End in Divorce in Minnesota?

Although ending a relationship is never easy, nearly half the marriages (40% to 50%) in the United States are said to end up in divorce. So what percentage of marriages end in divorce in Minnesota? In Minnesota, the marriage rate in 2018 was 16.9 per 1,000 women, which decreased from 18.0 in 2008, and the divorce rate was 7.1 per 1,000 women, down from 9.1 in 2008.

Recent data shows that the rate of both marriage and divorce is going down slowly, especially among millennials. It is a significant decrease from 2008 when the marriage rate was 17.9 and the divorce rate was 10.5. According to the latest data by the U.S. Census Bureau, the marriage rate in 2018 was 16.6 per every 1,000 females, 15 years old and over, while the divorce rate was 7.7 per 1,000 females for same age group nationally.

Why Is the Divorce Rate So High?

The number of reasons and their rankings vary from study to study. However, financial stress, lack of commitment, intimacy, compatibility, and getting married at an early age are a few of the common reasons for divorce in the US.

Extramarital affair or infidelity is also a quite common reason for divorce. As it destroys trust in your relationship, infidelity is most likely to end a marriage. The lack of education is also a common reason for divorce as educated people are less likely to get divorced. Pregnancy before marriage can increase the chances of divorce as well. What percentage of marriages end in divorce in Minnesota are usually attributed to one of these many reasons.

How to Handle Your Divorce?

Whatever the reason maybe, handling a divorce is not easy. As one of the leading Minnesota divorce lawyers, we have seen that most people find it difficult to cope with the separation, especially when children are involved. You need to accept the fact that your emotional and mental well-being will be less than optimal for a while.

However, you also need to take proactive steps to make sure it lessens over time and your life, both personal and professional, get back on track as soon as possible. Exploring your interests and hobbies during these uncertain times can help you focus on the good things your life. Staying positive is important as it can help you take care of yourself and your family.

One of the best ways to lower the emotional impact of a divorce is to share your feelings with family and friends. You can also seek professional help to get through these difficult times. Sometimes, your lawyer can also refer you to a good counsellor, who can help you cope with the stress of a divorce.

How Can an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in Minnesota Help?

Knowing what percentage of marriages end in divorce in Minnesota doesn’t tell you how many ended contentiously. Talking to and hiring an experienced divorce lawyer in Minnesota is essential to get a divorce quickly and with minimal mental pressure. If you have a skilled and empathetic attorney on your side, you will not have to worry about the day-to-day legal work.

Your lawyer will make sure to file the necessary paperwork on time, talk to the concerned people, including your spouse and their legal counsel, and provide you with the right legal advice when needed. Your attorney also acts like a buffer between you and your soon-to-be ex, ensuring a more practical approach to settlement discussions.

Even if you are going through an amicable divorce, it is better to have an experienced divorce lawyer in Minnesota on your side. Your lawyer will make sure that your spouse or their attorney isn’t taking advantage of you, especially when it comes to division of assents, debts, property, child custody, and alimony. You have legal rights as a spouse and parent, and your lawyer makes sure to enforce them.

How Quickly Can I Get Divorced?

Most uncontested divorces can be completed within a few months. However, depending on how complicated your marital situation is, it can take longer to get a divorce. For example, when children are involved, things like custody battles, child support, and visitation right disputes can delay the proceedings as one of the parties is likely to disagree with the proposed settlement.    

Drawing up paperwork for the division of your assets, property, and debts can also take longer depending on the size of your finances. The best way to speed up your divorce is to settle amicably and avoid a trial. However, you shouldn’t do this without the help of a skilled and experienced divorce lawyer in Minnesota.

Be Prepared When You File for Divorce in Minnesota

While it is said that nearly half the marriages in the US end up divorce, the latest data shows that both number of marriages and divorces are going down. If you are planning to get a divorce, however, you need to be prepared. Hiring a competent and knowledgeable divorce attorney should be your first step while making sure you and your family can handle the financial, physical, and mental stress, that comes with a divorce.   

Hire the Most Experienced Divorce Lawyer in Minnesota Today!

If you’re wondering what percentage of marriages end in divorce, you or your loved one might be contemplating a divorce in Minnesota. Carlson & Jones, P.A. can take care of all things legal when it comes to divorce, allowing you to focus on your and your family’s mental and physical well-being. Call us today on (855) 976-2444  for a free consultation or contact us online to know how we can help you.

 

This article was originally published on November 16, 2020 and updated on August 26, 2021.

How to Beat a Simple Assault Charge in Brainerd, MN?

Simple Assault refers to intentionally causing injury to another person. This act may also be done to generate a fear of harm or death in an individual. The State of Brainerd considers physical harm and even the threat to cause harm as assault. If you’ve been accused, do you know how to beat a simple assault charge in Brainerd, MN?

An assault charge is considered proven by the prosecutor if it becomes clear that the victim was afraid due to an injury that was caused or intended to be caused and was the result of a deliberate act of the defendant.

Every case is unique and involves different circumstances. No assault lawyer can guarantee to beat any of the assault charges, though they will work diligently and try to defend clients with the best possible representation.

Let us understand the types of assault and defenses that can be used in an attempt to beat these charges.

What Are the Types of Assault in Brainerd and Minnesota?

Assault can be broadly categorized into simple and aggravated assault. An act that may cause the least injury or pose a limited threat of violence is called a simple assault. An aggravated assault involves serious circumstances and violence, resulting in life-threatening consequences.

Scenarios that may result in simple assault charges include:

  • Slapping
  • Pushing or shoving
  • Raising a clenched fist
  • Making threats of injury
  • Applying physical force
  • Using an object to inflict or attempt to inflict injury

A few scenarios that may result in aggravated assault are as follows:

  • Striking or threatening to strike a person with a dangerous weapon or object
  • Committing a felony crime like rape or robbery
  • Actions resulting in life-threatening physical injuries
  • The behavior of violence while concealing identity
  • Hurting a person from the protected class like a police officer, healthcare provider, social services worker or a disabled person.

Simple and aggravated assault charges come in five degrees, which determine whether the offense is a felony or a misdemeanor. The five degrees of assault charges also help courts determine fines and sentencing punishments. If you’re wondering how to beat a simple assault charge in MN, you should know that the higher the degree, the more severe the punishment may be.

The Statutes of Brainerd classify assault charges into the following:

Each of these assault types has varying charges and consequences. The penalties associated with them range from a maximum of one-year imprisonment and a $3,000 fine for a fifth-degree assault to 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine for first-degree assault.

Also, an individual is charged with domestic assault when he/she intentionally inflicts harm or causes fear of harm to a family/household member.

Assault Against Protected Employees in Minnesota

Protected employee assaults, assault against law enforcement officers, assaults committed by inmates incarcerated in state prisons, and hate crime assaults are also defined as assault crimes in Minnesota.

Minnesota defines “protected employees” as forest firefighters employed by the Department of Natural Resources, teachers, school administrators, and other public school employees. If you’re trying to learn how to beat a simple assault charge in Brainerd, know that assaults against these protected individuals can incur more severe fines and jail sentences than assaults against non-protected individuals.

Assailants who intentionally target protected employees in the following job roles are also eligible for more severe assault conviction penalties:

  • Postal service workers
  • Utility service workers
  • Law enforcement reserve officers
  • Community crime prevention members (while at work)
  • Parole officers
  • Public health workers
  • Child protection workers
  • Occupational safety and health investigators
  • Agriculture inspectors
  • Mentally or physically disabled adults
  • Vulnerable adults receiving home health care services

“Hate crimes” are assaults or other crimes committed against and motivated by victims of certain races, nationalities, religions, genders, disabilities, and/or sexual orientations.

Misdemeanor Assaults

Brainerd courts charge some assaults as misdemeanors. These minor assaults occur when someone intends to cause fear of bodily harm or death. In other words, most simple assaults are misdemeanor offenses.

Gross Misdemeanor Assaults

An assault charge can advance to a gross misdemeanor in certain circumstances. For example, committing a second misdemeanor assault against the same person within 10 years will result in a gross misdemeanor.

It’s also a gross misdemeanor when someone commits a second assault against a different person within three years of the first offense. Assaults involving a firearm or other dangerous weapon are always gross misdemeanors, whether or not it’s a first offense.

Felony Assaults

In Brainerd, an assault is an automatic felony if significant bodily harm occurs to the victim. It doesn’t matter if the assault was simple or aggravated (e.g., involving a weapon).

Three or more assaults against the same person and within 10 years of the first offense is a felony charge. Three or more assaults against different people within three years is also a felony offense.

First Through Fifth-Degree Assault in MN

Fifth-degree assault is the least severe and will typically only earn you a misdemeanor. As we’ve mentioned, there doesn’t have to be actual physical contact involved in a fifth-degree assault. Intent to harm is enough for a conviction.

Fourth-degree assault is also a misdemeanor. However, Brainerd courts can escalate this charge to a felony if aggravating factors (e.g., using a firearm) are present.

Third-degree assaults include crimes against children under 18 years of age. These offenses are typically felony charges.

First-degree assault is the most severe assault charge in Minnesota. It requires that “great bodily harm” (GBH) occurred to the victim. GBH includes permanent disfigurement, limb loss, significant impairment, or risk of death.

Assault Conviction Penalties in Brainerd and MN

You don’t want to suffer the consequences of an assault conviction, simple or otherwise. Are you trying to find out how to beat a simple assault charge in Brainerd, MN? Without the help of the best assault lawyer in Brainerd, you could face the following penalties.

Misdemeanor and Gross Misdemeanor Assault Penalties

A simple assault charge is a misdemeanor that will earn violators up to 90 days in jail and/or up to a $1000 fine.

Simple assaults against protected employees, hate crime assault, and second offenses will increase the charge to a gross misdemeanor, resulting in up to one year in jail and/or up to a $3000 fine.

Additionally, a Brainerd court could confiscate or restrict access to your firearm if you used a weapon during gross misdemeanor assault.

Felony Assault Penalties

The penalties for felony assault depend on the degree of the offense and how many priors you have. For example, three or more assaults within 10 years can earn you $10,000 in fines, up to five years in prison, or both.

First Through Fifth-Degree Assault Penalties in Minnesota

Fifth-degree assault penalties are virtually the same as the punishment for simple assault. A conviction can come with fines of up to $1000 and/or 90 days in jail. When the charge advances to fourth-degree assault, fines increase to $3000 and jail sentences go up to one year in jail.

Aggravated fourth-degree assault charges incur heftier punishments. A Brainerd court has the right to charge fourth-degree assault offenders with double the fines and jail time as a non-felony fourth-degree offense.

In Minnesota, third-degree assault comes with up to $10,000 fines and/or up to five years in prison. Second-degree assault punishments vary depending on whether there were injuries.

If the assault resulted in no injuries, you could see fines of up to $14,000 and prison sentences of up to seven years. Fines increase to $20,000 and prison times go up to 10 years if the assault resulted in injuries.

First-degree assault convictions earn the highest penalties. Offenders must pay up to $30,000 in fines, spend up to 20 years in prison, or both.

What Types of Defenses Can Be Presented for a Charge of Assault in MN?

An assault may be the result of certain factors like serious accusations and exaggerated arguments. Luckily, an experienced assault attorney knows the strategies to defend your case.

The defense strategies that can be put forth to beat these charges are:

  • Affirmative Defenses

This affirmative defense strategy acknowledges that the act in question was committed, but the behavior should not be considered as an assault for different reasons.

  • Self-Defense

This is one of the common strategies used to defend against assault charges. It is also considered the easiest to prove in court.

Your assault lawyer may argue that your action was an act of self-defense for protection from any harm that may have been caused due to another person.  Also, the other party was the aggressor and that your act did not need any force on him/her.

This argument of self-defense is of two types:

  • Defense of other individuals

This refers to your act of defending another person from the aggressor.

  • Defense of property

This is the act of defending your home or movable/immovable assets from an invader.

You will need to discuss with your assault lawyer to find the best-suited defense based on your situation.

  • Consent

Consent is an act of assault that cannot be legally constituted if the parties involved agree to it.

Consider a scenario involving two professional boxers. One boxer cannot accuse the other of assault for punching him during the match. Both parties involved should have agreed to the terms of the match ahead of time.

Again, consider that one boxer punched/beat his/her opponent before or after the match. This action cannot be considered legal because the other party consented to the match. The action of beating and punching exceeded the permission that was provided.

However, consent can be used in rare scenarios. Your assault lawyer should be able to determine the best circumstances to use this mode of defense.

  • Disputative Defenses

These defenses question the actual behavior you were alleged to have engaged in.

  • Lack of Credibility

This defense is used to prove that the victim or a witness is providing incorrect information about the assault. Your assault lawyer will need to work diligently to prove the lack of credibility. This involves finding inconsistencies in statements provided by the victim or witness. The lawyer will need to pay attention to intricate details and raise questions about them.

This kind of argument may need contradictory evidence to the proof already provided before the jury or rebuttal witnesses who recount a different series of events about the assault in question.

Furthermore, your assault lawyer may try to call into question the character of the victim or witness presenting the information. He may try to prove that the individual lacks credibility due to distrustful events he/she may be associated with.

  • Incorrect Identification of the Accused

Human beings can be biased and unreliable. Details about incidents that we believe to be true may be wrong when presented with evidence like a video recording of the occurrence.

Due to this, victims tend to identify the wrong person as accused. If you have been falsely accused of an assault, it may be because you look similar to the actual convict or due to your proximity to the scene of the assault.

If you haven’t been part of an assault and pulled into it due to incorrect identification, you can seek help from your assault lawyer to prove your innocence. Seek help from witnesses who know you weren’t responsible for the assault. You can also consider surveillance footage or video recordings that show the actual perpetrator.

  • Alibi

The alibi defense should include evidence that proves you were elsewhere when the assault occurred. However, you should be able to prove this with an appropriate stand, like witnesses who can vouch for your presence. For example, a video recording that shows you in another location or a ticket to an event that confirms your presence may work.

How Can an Assault Charge Defense Lawyer in Brainerd Help?

As mentioned, there are varying degrees of assault. The State of Brainerd involves different penalties for them based on their severity. It can be challenging to understand the legal grounds of your arrest and defending yourself in court.

An assault lawyer in Brainerd is equipped with comprehensive knowledge of the legal nuances of assault cases. His/her experience will help in strategizing the best defenses to protect you against serious assault charges.

Rather than putting your future at risk, it is best to seek representation from a skilled Brainerd assault lawyer to defend your case.

Reach Out to Our Seasoned Assault Lawyers in Brainerd, MN

In a case of assault, the prosecutor is responsible for proving the defendant guilty. If you’re trying to find out how to beat a simple assault charge in Brainers, the above-mentioned types of defense for assault should provide an overview of how your assault lawyer can challenge the credibility of the evidence and protect your interests.

To discuss your assault case with our experienced lawyers, give us a call at (855) 215-6862 or contact us online. We will work relentlessly and represent you vigorously while protecting your rights. At Carlson & Jones P.A., our lawyers will build an ironclad defense to try and get a positive outcome in your favor.

 

This article was originally published on July 31, 2020 and updated on August 23, 2021.

How Many Times Can You Appeal a Child Custody Case in Brainerd, MN?

Child custody is one of the most critical elements of a divorce case involving minor children. When one of the spouses disagrees with the child custody award, they will appeal the court’s decision in the hopes of getting a better outcome. How many times can you appeal a child custody case? The short answer is that you can appeal a child custody decision as many times as there are courts superior to the one that made the ruling.

Types of Child Custody

Minnesota child custody agreements define which parent(s) get physical and legal custody of a child. Physical custody specifies where the child lives, with whom, and when. Legal custody determines which parent(s) will make significant legal decisions for the child.

In Minnesota, there are four primary types of child custody. They are:

  1. Sole Physical Custody: In this custody, the court will place the children under the supervision of one parent, while the other parent will get limited or generous visitation depending on the circumstances of your case.
  2. Joint Physical Custody: In this type of custody, the children will stay with both parents for a significant amount of time. However, this type of custody is rare.
  3. Sole Legal Custody: Legal custody gives a parent the right to have a say in major decisions like health, education, religion, and general upbringing of the children. Sole legal custody means only one parent gets this right.
  4. Joint Legal Custody: In joint legal custody, both parents get to decide regarding the health, education, religion, and overall welfare of the children. However, both parents need to make things work. Only then the court is likely to award joint legal custody.

Contrary to common belief, joint legal custody isn’t always a 50/50 split. For example, a common joint physical custody arrangement is when the child lives with one parent during weekends and another parent on weekdays. Or one parent may receive primary physical custody, allowing him or her to decide when the other parent can visit the child.

When one parent gets primary physical custody, the other parent can still see the child. But if both parents can’t agree on a visitation schedule, the court will specify one. Courts typically grant 25% custody to the non-custodial parent unless there’s a reason that this arrangement isn’t in the child’s best interest.

Another common misconception about child custody battles is that courts place preference on the mother. However, this isn’t actually true. Minnesota courts prefer to grant joint custody whenever possible, believing that it’s in the child’s best interest to be around both parents.

The only way a child custody attorney could win you sole legal and/or physical custody is if you can prove that the other parent is unfit.

What Is an Unfit Parent in Brainerd?

Brainerd parents can lose custody of their children voluntarily or involuntarily. With voluntary custody loss, the parent gives written consent to terminate their parental rights. When a court deems a parent unfit, he or she may lose custody involuntarily.

Unfit parents in Minnesota are those who showcase abandonment, neglect, or failure to pay child support. Other factors making a parent unfit include being physically and/or emotionally abusive or failing to care for the child’s physical, emotional, or mental health.

Murder or Assault Convictions Impact in Child Custody

Parents convicted of murdering or assaulting one of his or her children, sexually abusing any child, or committing any other offense requiring sex offender registration are also unfit.

Court Ordered Adjustments

A Minnesota parent could lose custody if the child is temporarily placed in foster care for some reason, and the parent fails to make court-ordered adjustments. Conditions that could lead to a child’s placement in foster care include the parent’s chemical dependency and addiction or if the child was significantly harmed while in his or her care.

So, for instance, a parent could be deemed unfit if the child was removed from the home due to drugs being present. The court may then order the parent to attend chemical dependency rehabilitation. If the parent fails to do as requested, the court may deem him or her unfit.

Absent Birth Fathers in Minnesota

Finally, absent birth fathers are typically deemed unfit in Minnesota. An absent birth father is a father who wasn’t married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth and is not listed on the child’s birth certificate. Absent birth fathers aren’t involved in their children’s lives and don’t pay child support.

Other than these reasons, a Minnesota court would not typically award sole custody of a child. Courts instead consider the child’s best interest when determining custody agreements.

Child’s Best Interest Is Key

As an experienced child custody lawyer in Brainerd would tell you, the court always puts the child’s best interests first. Of course, the court will take into account different factors when determining child custody. However, the child’s overall best interests form the crux of their decision.

The various factors that can affect the outcome of child custody include parents’ wishes, the relation of the child with both parents, adjustment to home, school, and community, and cultural background, among other things.

The court will also check if the parent seeking custody is capable of raising a child financially, emotionally, and mentally. Just like each divorce case is unique, so is every child custody situation. You should talk to your lawyer to know your legal options.

What Factors Decide Child Custody Agreements?

How do courts decide what’s in a child’s best interest in custody battles? A judge always takes into account what each parent wants. If one parent doesn’t want custody of the child, the court is more likely to award full custody to the other parent.

Of course, the judge will also consider what the child wants. However, in Minnesota, children must be of a certain age for a judge to ask their opinion on custody battles.

Otherwise, here are the top factors courts consider when deciding on child custody:

  • Who the child’s primary caretaker is currently
  • Where the child has lived for most of his or her life
  • How close the child is to each parent
  • Where the child’s siblings or other significant relatives live
  • Where the child goes to school
  • The health of the family relationships in each household
  • The mental and physical health of each parent
  • Each parent’s suitability for giving the child love, affection, and education
  • The child’s cultural background
  • Whether one parent is abusive or has committed domestic abuse before
  • Each parent’s willingness to cooperate with one another

In cases of joint custody, the last factor is essential. Co-parents must show how they plan to resolve any major disputes regarding the child.

What if domestic abuse has occurred between the co-parents? A Minnesota court could rule that the abuse is a detriment to your ability to cooperate and that joint custody isn’t in the child’s best interest. It’s critical to consult with a child custody attorney in Brainerd, MN to ensure you still get a fair agreement in these difficult cases.

Can You Appeal Child Custody Decision in Brainerd?

Although the short answer is “Yes,” appealing a child custody decision is not as easy as it sounds. In almost all cases, if your argument for an appeal is that the trial court didn’t get it right, the appellate court is not likely to entertain your request.

However, if your appeal is based on the argument that the trial court applied an incorrect legal standard when determining the child custody, your chances of being heard are better. Unfortunately, nothing is guaranteed, and the possibility of filing a successful appeal will change from case to case. Make sure to discuss your case with an experienced child custody lawyer in Brainerd first.

But how many times can you appeal a court’s decision? You can only bring an appeal to a higher court and, as a general rule, you can only appeal the same court once. That means you can appeal a child custody decision as many times as there are courts superior to the one that made the ruling.

6. File for Modification Instead of Appealing

Although you can appeal the child custody order, it is often better to seek modification instead. If your current custody arrangement is no longer in the best interest of the child, you can go to the court and ask for an order modification.

However, there needs to be a change in circumstances that warrants the modification, and you should be able to prove this change in the court. For example, if the present environment threatens the mental and physical well-being of your child, the court will be more willing to change the previous custody arrangement.

If both parents agree to the modification (which does happen), the court will modify the order. Also, if the custodial parent is found guilty of criminal offenses, the custodial arrangements will be modified.

However, at least one year needs to pass from the date of issuing the original custody order before you can file for modification. If you have already filed a motion for modification before, whether or not the court granted it, you can’t file a subsequent request for at least two years. But there are exceptions to these rules as well. Talk to a competent family lawyer to discuss your options.

Parting Words

Getting a divorce is exceptionally difficult when children are involved. Sometimes, the child custody order can be unbearable for one of parents, resulting in an emotional decision to appeal the original custody order. However, you need to consider all your legal options carefully before proceeding with a crucial decision like this. Hopefully, this short post will help you understand a few important facts related to this issue.

Talk to an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in Brainerd Today!

We know how heartbreaking it is to see an unexpected outcome of your child custody request. But don’t worry! Carlson & Jones, P.A., one of the most experienced child custody lawyers in Brainerd, are here to help you. Call us on (855) 663-7423   or contact us online to know how we can help resolve your child custody issues.

 

This article was originally published on October 24, 2020 and updated on August 19, 2021.

Can the IRS Levy a Personal Injury Settlement in Hutchinson, MN?

If you or your loved one has received compensation after settling a personal injury lawsuit, you may have several questions on your mind. You may be asking, Can the IRS levy a personal injury settlement in Hutchinson, MN? The short answer is yes, it can be taxed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), depending on what kind of compensation it is.

Including the compensation in your income depends on the unique facts and circumstances surrounding your case. Experienced personal injury lawyers in Hutchinson, MN understand that the compensation you receive can be made of several elements. For instance, it may include money that makes up for lost wages, emotional/mental distress, and attorney’s fees.

Before understanding what the IRS can do with your personal injury settlement amount, let’s know the basics

What Is Personal Injury Settlement in Hutchinson, MN?

A personal injury settlement is an agreement that is struck out of court. Both parties involved are required to agree to it. It occurs when the at-fault party or their insurance company offers an amount as compensation, once liability is established.

A settlement is usually reached upon after negotiating in personal injury cases, such as those involving workplace accidents, auto accidents, assault, medical malpractice, product liability, and wrongful death. The compensation can be offered either before or after the case is filed.

Once the victim accepts the compensation, they can no longer pursue their case or take any legal action against or ask for a greater amount from the at-fault party.

More of than not, experienced personal injury lawyers in Hutchinson, MN recommend settling as there is no guarantee that the judge/jury verdict will be in line with the victim’s needs and expectations.

The IRS and Your Personal Injury Settlement

Typically, the proceeds from a personal injury claim are not taxable under federal or state law. This is true of insurance proceeds as well as awards granted by the judge/jury. Because the insurance company makes a 1099 claims submission to the IRS, the federal government will always have access to your settlement details.

Non-Taxable Personal Injury Settlements

The non-taxable rule applies to victims who have suffered physical injuries. This means a personal injury settlement that is meant to compensate for things like lost wages, medical bills, emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and attorney fees are not taxable as long as they are a result of a personal injury or a physical sickness/illness.

The above only applies to Federal taxes on your settlement. In Minnesota, you generally have to pay taxes on any settlement amount received for reasons other than recompensating your medical bills and some property losses.

Loss of quality of life, pain and suffering, and psychological conditions resulting from accidents or accident-related injuries are also non-taxable. Most other personal injury settlements are taxable, either by the state or the Federal government.

Taxable Personal Injury Settlements

Any compensation received for emotional distress, where no actual physical injury is involved, will be taxable.

You should also know that the IRS will tax your personal injury settlements if the amount received is meant to replace your income. If the settlement does replace your income (for example, in cases of employee discrimination where compensation is received for lost wages), the claim can be taxed.

In Minnesota, the judge must designate part of the settlement for income replacement. If part of the settlement isn’t explicitly set aside for income replacement, the state can’t tax the amount.

If you include injury-related medical expenses in your previous year’s tax return for a deduction, the award meant to reimburse these expenses may also be taxed by the IRS. This is because you receive a tax deduction for expenses that were paid for with your settlement money.

Wages received, either from your employer or as part of the settlement attract income tax as well.

If your case is based on a breach of contract that caused your injury, the damages received will also be taxable.

Sometimes, a court may allow the defendant to pay out the settlement in installments. If any interest also gets tacked onto the settlement, that interest is taxable.

It is important to note that any future investment income generated from the money received by the victim is subject to regular investment rules. Further, if an award includes interest, the interest amount is considered and should be reported as income as the money it replaces (the money that may have been earned on the compensatory damages) would have been taxable.

Punitive damages are taxable too since these are meant for punishing the culprit rather than compensating the victim for a loss.

Wrongful Death Settlements

Taxing compensation received in wrongful death cases depends on state law, and is slightly more complicated. Personal injury lawyers win wrongful death settlements for the heirs of the victim. The state of Minnesota generally doesn’t tax these amounts. That’s true whether the sum is awarded during settlement or if the jury awards it at the end of a wrongful death trial.

It is best to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer in Hutchinson, MN to gain a proper understanding of the tax rules applicable in Minnesota before negotiating settlements.

Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits in Hutchison, Minnesota

By now, you may be wondering: can I win a non-taxable personal injury settlement in Minnesota? With the help of a seasoned Hutchison personal injury attorney, you’re entitled to settlement amounts for the following situations.

Shared Fault Lawsuits

In some jurisdictions, the party that’s at fault for an accident can’t claim damages for his or her injuries. Minnesota is different. That’s because Minnesota has a shared fault rule, meaning that any party can file for damages as long as he or she was less than 50% responsible for the accident.

The amount of settlement money you receive will depend on what percentage of the accident was your fault. For example, imagine that your total damages in a workplace injury suit totaled $100,000, but the court found that you were 49% at fault for the accident that caused your injuries. Your ultimate settlement payout would then be 49% of your total damages or $49,000.

Vehicular Accident Injury Lawsuits

Some car accident injury victims can recover losses in court. However, the victim must accumulate more than $4000 in medical expenses directly related to the accident. Or the victim must have incurred a disability, injury, or disfigurement that’s permanent or lasts at least 60 days.

Otherwise, you should settle all auto-related personal injury and/or property loss claims with your insurance company outside of court. Minnesota requires all car owners to hold an insurance policy with personal injury protection (PiP). To file a personal injury suit, you must have exhausted your PiP benefits and still have medical expenses leftover.

It’s important to note that you can file an insurance claim even if you were at fault for the accident. And if the accident was less than 50% your fault, you can also file against the other party for damages.

Animal Attack Lawsuits

Victims who develop illnesses or injuries after an animal attack are entitled to personal injury settlements in Minnesota. Minnesota is a one-bite rule state. That means the law holds liable the owner of a vicious animal the first time the animal bites or injures another person.

Any settlement funds a victim wins for his or her medical bills in a dog bite claim are not taxable. If the settlement is explicitly designated for repayment of lost wages, emotional suffering not directly caused by a physical injury, or punitive damages, the amount is taxable.

Workplace Accident Lawsuits

Were you injured on the job? Then you’re entitled to a settlement to cover your medical bills and lost wages. This settlement is called workers’ compensation. Your employer and/or your employer’s insurance company pay out workers’ compensation.

Workers’ compensation used to repay you for your medical expenses isn’t taxable. If a portion of the settlement amount is set aside for lost wages, though, that amount is taxable in Minnesota.

When you and your employer or employer’s insurance company have a dispute about your injury, there are two options. The first is to go to court and fight for the compensation you deserve. The second option is to take a settlement, which is often the less risky and faster option in workplace injury lawsuits.

Personal Injury Lawsuits Against the Government

Minnesota statutes hold government employees liable for any injuries they cause on the job. That means, for instance, that if you’re injured in an accident with a government-owned vehicle, you’re entitled to damages.

Filing personal injury claims against government employees is a different process than regular personal injury claims. Still, victims won’t have to pay taxes on their settlement if the money compensates for medical bills and/or pain and suffering resulting from the accident.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer in Hutchinson, MN Can Help You

Working with a skilled personal injury attorney can be beneficial in several ways. Your lawyer will be able to explain to you the tax implications of your settlement, from the commencement to the conclusion of the negotiations. If your case involves more than one claim, a part of the settlement received may be taxable, while the other might be completely non-taxable. An experienced personal injury lawyer in Hutchinson, MN will help you differentiate between the awards and keep them separate. Even if the IRS challenges your non-taxable settlement verdict, having a competent attorney in your corner will be helpful in preventing it from becoming taxable.

Conclusion

More often than not, the IRS does not levy taxes in personal injury settlements as they are not considered income. However, depending on your case facts, it is important to know of the important exceptions that may apply. It is always a good idea to be aware of whether or not your settlement will be taxed, how it will affect the total amount of compensation, and how much money you will receive at the end of it all. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Hutchinson, MN is always recommended so you can make well-informed decisions that work for your case.

Consult an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Hutchinson, MN

Are you asking, Can the IRS levy a personal injury settlement in Hutchinson, MN? The team of experienced personal injury lawyers in Hutchinson, MN at Carlson & Jones, P.A. is adept at resolving complex legal issues like taxes levied by the IRS on the settlement amount. We will offer strong representation and fight to maximize the non-taxable component of your award. Call us on (855) 663-7423 for a free, no-obligation consultation of your case. You can also contact us through our website.

 

This article was originally written on October 19, 2020 and updated on August 17, 2021.

Can Forgery Charges Be Dropped in Hutchinson, MN?

Contrary to popular belief, forgery involves both making and using fake goods and presenting them as genuine in order to defraud a person, organization or a government body. It is a white-collar crime.

One of the most commonly known forgeries is check fraud, which often involves writing a bad check or forging a signature or creating a fake check, among other things. Forgery is a felony-level crime that may result in serious legal consequences in Minnesota.

In most cases, any of the following can be regarded as an act of forgery:

  • Creating a false or fake document. For example, creating a false identification or documents like legal certificates and contracts.
  • Falsifying an original document. For example, forging a signature on a real check or changing the name or amount.
  • Presenting a false or fraudulent document or item knowingly. Please note, you will be charged with forgery even if the said document or artifact is not accepted.
  • Possession of any fake document or item knowingly. In this case, you will be charged for possession.
  • Destroying or mutilating a document with the intention of defrauding a person or an entity.

In Minnesota, you can also receive forgery charges for owning or manufacturing equipment used to make forgeries. The good news? Hiring an experienced forgery defense attorney in Hutchison, Minnesota can help you get your charges dropped. Keep reading to find out how.

Types of Forgery Charges in Hutchinson, MN

Minnesota has three statutes covering the types of forgery: forgery, aggravated forgery, and check fraud. Counterfeiting is another type of forgery offense specifically designed to punish currency forgers.

Forgery in Hutchinson, MN

The manufacturing, possession, or use of fraudulent items or documents is a crime in Minnesota. Note that the law considers fraudulent physical documents and forged electronic documents equally.

Forgery falls under Section 609.63 of Minnesota statutes. Forgery is almost always charged as a felony offense.

Before a court can prove forgery, though, it must have evidence of intent. The court must be able to prove that you knowingly created, possessed, or used a fraudulent item. Without intent, a Hutchison forgery defense lawyer can get your charges dropped.

Aggravated Forgery in Hutchinson, MN

Aggravated forgery is a more serious crime than simple forgery. It’s also a felony to commit an aggravated forgery offense, as specified in Section 609.625 of Minnesota’s Statutes.

The difference between aggravated forgery and forgery is that the former incurs heftier penalties, including prison time and fines. Why is aggravated forgery a more serious offense? In aggravated forgery cases, the forger attempts to defraud an authority figure. For example, forging an official seal, public records, or court orders would make the crime an aggravated forgery offense.

Check Fraud in Hutchinson, MN

Check fraud is the most common type of forgery in Minnesota. Under Section 609.631 of Minnesota’s Statutes, it’s a crime to manufacture fraudulent checks. It’s also a crime to possess and/or use fraudulent checks.

As with common and aggravated forgery, a court must prove that the person in possession of the fraudulent check knows it’s forged and intends to use it as such. Check fraud convictions are almost always felonies.

It’s important to note that check fraud includes check washing and check forgery. Check washing occurs when someone removes the accurate information on a check and replaces it with fraudulent data. Check forgery, on the other hand, is when someone fraudulently endorses a check with someone else’s name without that person’s permission.

Issuing bad checks is a similar offense. However, Minnesota Statutes don’t categorize this type of check fraud under forgery. See Section 609.535 for more information about writing bad checks.

Counterfeiting in Hutchinson, MN

In Minnesota, it’s illegal to manufacture, sell, possess, or use counterfeit currencies. Counterfeiting charges are distinct from other forgery offenses because they involve forged currencies, not other fraudulent items.

Currencies aren’t just US dollars. Minnesota also defines money orders, Federal Reserve Notes, and other US securities as currency. Further, it’s a crime to manufacture or possess equipment used to make forgeries.

Counterfeiting is a felony. But like forgery, a court must first prove intent. If you’re in possession of or use counterfeit money and you don’t know it’s fraudulent, a forgery defense lawyer in Hutchison can help you avoid conviction.

Penalties for Forgery in Hutchinson, MN

All forgery crimes are felony-level crimes in Minnesota, and hence, carry hefty penalties such as fines and prison time. Usually the value of your forgery will determine the sentence you receive. Depending on the nature of your crime, you may also face charges from state and federal prosecution.

Aggravated Forgery in Hutchinson, MN

When charged with aggravated forgery, you may end up facing imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $20,000, if found guilty. On the other hand, the charges of forgery can result in imprisonment for up to three years and/or a fine of up to $5,000 if found guilty. If the forger presents the fraudulent item as evidence in court proceedings for a felony charge, the penalties increase to a $10,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

Examples of Fines and Sentences for Forgery in Hutchinson and the State of Minnesota

Punishments for check fraud depend on the amount. If the check was worth less than $250, the fine is $3,000 and sentencing is up to one year in prison. Fake checks worth $250–$2500 can earn forgers up to five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

More than $2,500 worth of fraudulent checks come with up to 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines. Cases dealing with more than $35,000 worth of fake checks earn the highest penalties — up to 20 years in prison, $100,000 in fines, or both.

Also, if a forger has a prior related conviction within the last five years and possesses $250 or less in fake checks, he or she must spend up to five years in prison and/or pay a $10,000 fine.

Manufacturing or owning equipment used to manufacture counterfeit currencies can get you 20 years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine. Possession or use of counterfeit money is also a serious crime in Minnesota. It can earn you up to 20 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.

More Severe Punishments for Forgery in Hutchinson, MN

However, based on the individual circumstances of your case, you may have to suffer more severe punishment. An experienced forgery defense lawyer will be able to discuss the potential penalties and how you can reduce them only after checking the facts related to your case.

Furthermore, a conviction for forgery can haunt you for the rest of your life. Getting a job is next to impossible for a convicted felon. No business will want to hire an individual who had committed forgery.

Universities also vet student applications to see if you were ever convicted of a crime. If yes, the doors to a decent education might be closed for you forever. Students with a criminal record are also not likely to receive any scholarships or concessions. That’s why you have to try and get your forgery charges reduced or even dismissed with the help of a good felony forgery attorney.

Can Forgery Charges Be Dropped in Minnesota?

With the help of a skilled forgery defense lawyer, it is possible to reduce your forgery charges or even get them dropped. However, nothing is certain as a lot of factors are involved in a forgery trial.

An experienced forgery defense attorney can get forgers off in small-scale cases. If the forged items are worth less than $1000, the forger could get a pretrial diversion. Pretrial diversions are court orders allowing offenders to pay fines and complete self-improvement activities (e.g., community service) in exchange for dropping the charges.

There are also defense options for larger-scale forgers. With deferred adjudication, the alleged forger pleads guilty before trial. Upon completion of a probationary program, the judge will drop the case.

Pre-Trial for Forgery in Hutchinson, MN

If charges aren’t dropped through one of these two resolutions, the case will proceed to pre-trial. However, the burden of proof rests on the state. In other words, the state has to prove beyond any doubt that you either created or used the fraudulent documents with the intention to defraud a person or organization in question. If you are being tried for possession, they need to prove that you possessed the fake documents, money or goods knowing fully well that they are fake.

So, the first order of business is to talk to a criminal defense lawyer specializing in forgery crime. After hearing your case, the lawyer will help you proceed with the pre-trial steps.

The evidence presented against you will include the documents in question, police and lab reports, expert witness testimony, and anything else related to your case. As you and your lawyer can see the evidence against you during this stage, you will be able to define the next course of action.

Based on the circumstances of your case, the lawyer can suggest you to consider settlement offers. These may help reduce your charges or might dismiss them altogether.

What If My Forgery Case Is Not Settled?

If your case is not settled at pre-trial stage, it will move to a bench trial or a jury trial. The difference between the two is that judges will determine the outcome of your case in the former, while juries will do so in the latter.

Even if the case goes to trial, it is still possible to reduce the potential sentence. The burden of proof lies on the state. So, the state has to prove that you purposefully tried to defraud someone.

“Purposefully” is essential here. The prosecutor has to prove that you had the intent to defraud. This is to protect individuals who unknowingly possess or use forged items and currencies.

If proven guilty, depending on the value of forgery and your previous criminal background, among other things, you will receive a sentence. If the ruling goes against you despite your appeals, you will have to serve the sentence.

However, not all is lost, even now. After serving the sentence, you can still apply to expunge your forgery crime records. Expungement of court records can help you rebuild your life relatively quickly and easily.

Whether or not to expunge your criminal records, will primarily depend on the following factors:

  • The nature of your offense (minor offenses are more likely to get expunged)
  • Evidence of hardship you are suffering due to the forgery crime record
  • Your additional efforts to rehabilitate or put your life back together
  • The extent of risk you pose to the public

Expungement can be a viable solution in some cases, not all. However, you do need to talk to your forgery defense attorney first. Make sure to share all the facts and details related to your case freely with your lawyer to help them build an excellent defense for you. Remember, even a seemingly trivial detail can help turn the tide in your favor.

Each Forgery Case in Hutchinson and Minnesota Is Unique

You must understand that each forgery case is unique. Usually, very few cases are open-and-shut type, where you can get the forgery charges dropped completely. While any good forgery defense lawyer will leave no stone unturned to win every case, a lot of factors are involved in deciding the outcome.

Even if your forgery charges cannot be dismissed, you can try to get a reduced sentence. After serving a reduced sentence, you can further try to get your records expunged to begin your normal life as soon as possible.

Contact Our Seasoned Forgery Defense Lawyer in Hutchinson for the Best Representation

It is better to consult with us so we can make a preliminary observation of your case to determine the best course of action, considering your personal situation. Get in touch with our forgery defense lawyers at (855) 215-6862 or contact us online for a free consultation.

 

This article was originally published on July 18, 2020 and updated on August 12, 2021.

What Is Domestic Assault in Buffalo and Wright County, MN?

Disagreements between family members can happen at times. However, if these arguments become physical, harmful or life-threatening, they may result in serious legal repercussions. According to the State laws of Minnesota, individuals involved in aggravated domestic disputes may have to face domestic assault charges with tough consequences.

Domestic assault in Minnesota is considered a serious offense because victims are subjected to prolonged psychological trauma due to the violence. Law enforcement officers have the right to arrest any individual who they believe has committed any kind of domestic violence.

Having said that, let’s understand more about domestic assault charges in Minnesota.

How Is Domestic Assault Defined in Minnesota?

The Statues of Minnesota define domestic assault as an act that inflicts bodily harm/death or attempts to intentionally inflict bodily harm/death against a family member. A simple domestic assault without serious/life-threatening consequences is considered a misdemeanor. However, a domestic assault that involves strangulation is considered a felony.

Domestic assault doesn’t always involve actual injury. Causing the fear of harm is enough for a domestic assault conviction in Minnesota. The state considers it domestic assault if you raise a fist or point a gun at a family member, especially if the victim fears you will follow through.

Note that the law requires the assault to be intentional. Intentional means that the assailant purposefully inflicted bodily harm on a family member. Or it means the assailant attempted to impose physical harm/death on a family member.

Also, the law defines a family/household member as any one of the following:

  • Spouse, former spouse, parents, and children
  • People related by blood
  • People living together or who have lived together in the past
  • Couples having a child in common regardless of their marital status or history of living together
  • Couples involved in a significant sexual relationship

It’s important to distinguish between assaults involving a family or household member and common assault. More on the difference between the two next.

Assault vs. Domestic Assault

Minnesota assault and domestic assault charges have many similarities. They both involve bodily harm or threat of harm to another person. Assault and domestic assault convictions even incur some of the same penalties.

However, Minnesota courts have more sentencing options for domestic assault. Prosecutors often seek more severe penalties in domestic assault cases.

For example, domestic assault convictions almost always have mandatory minimum prison sentences. Regular assault convictions never come with minimum sentencing requirements.

But when the assailant used a firearm or assaulted an officer of the law, Minnesota can apply a minimum prison sentence. When this happens, it’s critical to hire a domestic violence defense attorney.

What Are Qualified Domestic Violence Offenses in Minnesota?

The State laws of Minnesota consider the following as domestic violence offenses:

  • Violation of a domestic abuse Order for protection (OFP)
  • Violation of a domestic abuse no-contact order
  • First and second degree murder
  • First through fifth degree assault
  • Domestic assault and domestic assault by strangulation
  • First through fourth degree criminal sexual misconduct
  • Malicious punishment of a child
  • Terroristic threats
  • Harassment, violation of a harassment restraining order, and stalking
  • Interference with an emergency call

Minnesota may charge the perpetrator of domestic assault with a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor. The exact charge depends on whether the offender has priors. Two domestic assault convictions within a certain period can earn a felony.

Domestic assault may also be a felony if the offense involved substantial bodily harm (SBH), great bodily harm (GBH), or death.

SBH is an injury resulting in temporary but substantial disfigurement. Other types of SBH injuries include those causing temporary loss or impairment of a body part and/or fracture.

GBH includes injuries presenting a high probability of death. Also, assaults cause GBH when they result in permanent disfigurement, permanent impairment of a body part, or fracture.

Orders for Protection and No-Contact Orders

Minnesota courts commonly issue OFPs and no-contact orders in domestic assault cases. These orders mandate that the assailant avoid contact with his or her victim. Courts issue them with the intent of protecting the victim from further harm.

Protective orders tend to last one year, while no-contact orders last an average of five years. Another difference between these two orders? Civil courts issue OFPs while criminal courts cite no-contact orders.

However, violating both no-contact orders and OFPs can bring about criminal penalties. A domestic assault defense attorney can help you negotiate lower punishments for court order violations.

What Are the Penalties for Domestic Assault in Minnesota?

A person convicted for domestic assault may have to face consequences beyond the typical penalties of an assault. They are as follows:

  • Charges of Misdemeanor or Felony

When a domestic assault is considered a misdemeanor, penalties may include up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1000. In case of a felony, domestic assault may include one to three years of jail term and/or fines of up to $5000.

The above-mentioned penalties are levied on first-time offenders. If the offender has sustained more than one domestic-violence-related conviction within the last 10 years, he/she may be charged with a gross misdemeanor. Also, if the offender has two other qualified convictions within the last 10 years of a third offense, he/she may be charged with a felony.

Furthermore, for a second-time offense, the penalty includes one year of jail term and/or fines of up to $3000. The third and subsequent offenses will include a jail term of up to five years and/or fines up to $10,000.

The mandatory minimum sentence is 20 days for repeat gross misdemeanor domestic assault. The mandatory minimum increases to at least 45 days in prison for repeat felony domestic assault.

Suppose the victim of domestic assault dies as a result of the attack. A Minnesota court could then charge the assailant with first- or second-degree murder.

Murder convictions can potentially earn the defendant up to life in prison. For example, domestic assaults resulting in first-degree murder have mandatory minimum sentences. First-degree murderers must serve at least a lifetime in prison.

Some domestic assault-related second-degree murder charges also bring about the maximum sentence. This can happen if the offender committed a “heinous crime” within the last 15 years.

Minnesota defines a “heinous crime” as attempted or convicted first-, second-, or third-degree murder. Heinous crimes also include first-degree assault and first- through third-degree violent sexual conduct.

  • Protection Orders

Protection orders are also associated with penalties of domestic assault. Violating them may result in additional penalties. An individual can request a protection order or no-contact order at any point in time. However, these orders are necessarily issued upon a domestic assault arrest or conviction.

The court will order a domestic abuse no-contact order (DANCO) or an order for protection (OFP). The order may take up to 14 days from the date of issue to come into effect. The court decides if a permanent order is required depending on the severity of the case details. If granted, these orders may be valid for up to two years and can be renewed thereafter.

A protection order is used to prohibit the offender from:

  • Committing domestic abuse against a family member, the petitioner, or pets
  • Staying/using the victim’s house, workplace, and common surrounding areas
  • Contacting the petitioner/victim

In some cases, protection orders may also require the offender to provide the following:

  • Pay for child or spousal support
  • Forgo child custody and visitation rights
  • Give up custody of pets
  • Provide uninterrupted insurance coverage for the petitioner
  • Pay restitution
  • Attend marriage counseling/mental health treatment

The violation of a protection order is considered a misdemeanor. The penalties for this offense may include a jail term of up to 90 days and fines of up to $1000. Bonds may also be imposed at $10,000 upon the defendant’s arrest. The severity of penalties may increase if the accused violates the protection order within 10 years of being convicted for domestic violence.

Violating a gross misdemeanor-level DANCO or OFP comes with a penalty of at least ten days in jail. If an assailant violates a felony-level DANCO or OFP, he or she must spend a minimum of 30 days in jail.

OFP and DANCO violators face minimum mandatory jail sentences. If the OFP violation is a misdemeanor, the mandatory minimum is at least three days in jail.

Violating a court order within 10 years of a domestic violence conviction triggers a gross misdemeanor charge. The minimum mandatory jail sentence is at least ten days for these violations.

Assailants who violate their OFP or DANCO while in possession of a dangerous weapon incur felony charges. The same is true of domestic assault committed within 10 years of the first of two domestic violence convictions. These felony-level violations have mandatory minimum sentences of 30 days in jail.

  • Loss of Gun Rights

According to the laws of Minnesota, the person who has been convicted for domestic violence may lose the right to have a gun. If a weapon was used during the domestic assault, it is compulsorily forfeited. However, owning a gun even after seizing the rights to own one will result in severe penalties that include a jail term of up to one year and fines of up to $3000.

Dangerous weapons crimes also come with minimum mandatory sentences in Minnesota. This is especially true for convicted felons and offenders with weapons-related court orders. For these people, mere possession of a firearm can automatically mean five years in jail.

How Are Offenders Arrested in Issues of a Domestic Assault?

The laws of Minnesota allow peace officers to arrest the accused without a warrant at any place, including his/her residence.

This can be done if the officer believes that the person accused has committed a domestic assault in the last 24 hours. It is not necessary that the officer witnesses the assault for the arrest to be made.

Furthermore, the officer can proceed with a warrantless arrest if he/she believes that an assault, violation of a domestic assault no-contact order or violation of an OFP has occurred.

How Courts Set Bail for Domestic Assault Cases

During the domestic assault arraignment, a judge will set a bail amount. The amount set will depend on whether the court thinks the assailant still poses a threat to his or her victim.

Additionally, Minnesota courts often set conditions for bail. These conditions may include no-contact orders or OFPs. Part of an OFP or no-contact order could include forbidding the assailant from re-entering the family home.

A domestic assault lawyer can negotiate the lowest bail amount possible and help you understand the terms of your court order(s).

When Should You Contact a Domestic Assault Lawyer for Legal Help?

A domestic assault charge can negatively impact the offender’s professional life, personal reputation, finances, and living conditions. It is best to get help from a domestic assault lawyer to fight these charges because they may be able to help you in the following ways:

  • Analyze and review the domestic assault charges imposed
  • Clarify doubts and explain available legal options to drop/minimize the charges
  • Evaluate the charges thoroughly and identify/secure any possible evidence that may help
  • Build an effective defense strategy

It is important to understand that every case is different as they involve several different details. Though a domestic assault lawyer will offer the best representation possible and try to get the charges dropped, the final outcome depends on the severity of the case and the evidence presented to the jury. Based on these aspects, your lawyer will try his/her best for the best result, including a reduced penalty and fines.

Contact a Domestic Assault Lawyer 

It is necessary that you protect your rights if you have been charged with domestic violence. Seeking legal help can minimize penalties to a great extent.

The experienced lawyers at Carlson & Jones P.A. will plan and present your case facts in the most favorable manner to obtain positive results. To learn more about the various aspects of domestic assault, the associated penalties, and the potential defenses, connect with us at (855) 976-2444 or contact us online.

 

This article was originally published on July 11, 2020 and updated on August 3, 2021.

Do You Know How to Beat a Drug Trafficking Charge in Minnesota?

Drug trafficking or drug distribution refers to manufacturing, selling, moving, or importing illegal drugs. It is often confused with drug possession, but these are two different types of drug crimes. Drug trafficking is considered a federal crime as well as a felony crime in Minnesota.

Is drug trafficking a violent crime? A drug trafficking charge in Minnesota can have serious repercussions on the accused’s life, especially if the case involves a conviction. Often, prosecutors seek maximum penalties in such cases in the wake of increased drug usage plaguing the country.

If you or your loved one has been charged with or are suspected of drug trafficking, you should ensure that you’re adequately prepared to tackle the accusation, while protecting your rights. Working with a reputed drug crime lawyer is always a good idea.

It is important to realize that there are no guarantees to beat any drugs-related charge, and every case is different. Most seasoned lawyers fight hard to try and save the day for their clients.

A Quick Overview of Drug Crime Laws in Minnesota

Usually, federal and state prosecutors can levy drug trafficking charges when they believe that controlled substances have been sold, imported, or moved around. In most cases, these charges involve drugs such as heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine. US drug crime statistics reveal that, “Between 2011 and 2015, there was an almost 50% increase in the number of people sentenced for crimes related to heroin trafficking in the U.S.”

A drug trafficking charge can also extend to the unlawful distribution of prescription drugs, such as sleeping pills, pain killers, or products containing hydrocodone, oxycodone, and pharmaceutical opiates.

Often, drug possession charges tend to escalate to trafficking because of the amount of substance found on the accused. This means that a person found with controlled substances even for personal use may have to deal with trafficking charges, and the associated legal sentences. So, someone who may have been found with large quantities of drugs on his/her person for personal use might end up facing a decades-long prison sentence.

In Minnesota, the following drug amounts can trigger trafficking charges:

  • 25+ grams of heroin, meth, or cocaine
  • 100+ grams of cannabis
  • 500+ grams or 500+ doses of amphetamine, hallucinogens, or phencyclidine
  • 500+ grams of any other narcotic

Any Minnesota drug crime attorney will tell you that the consequences for drug charges are extremely severe. The state laws here oversee penalties in keeping with the type and quantity of drugs involved, area of distribution, and whether or not children were targeted.

Minnesota Trafficking Charges

Drug trafficking is defined in Chapter 152 of the Minnesota Statutes. A drug trafficking charge can be brought against you if you have been accused of manufacturing or distributing an illegal controlled substance, or if you have been found possessing a large quantity of the substance that exceeds the estimated quantity for personal use.

Sentences for drug trafficking typically range between three and five years to life imprisonment but can be considerably higher when large quantities are involved. In extreme cases, where large amounts of drugs are involved, the accused can be charged with a first-degree felony, which can result in a prison sentence of up to 40 years. More on drug trafficking penalties later.

  • Drug Manufacturing Charges

Manufacturing methamphetamines is a first-degree narcotics offense. First-degree drug crimes incur the highest penalties.

  • Drug Possession Charges

Possession of illegal narcotics can be a first-, second-, third-, fourth-, or fifth-degree drug offense.

Possessing any amount of a Schedule I, II, III, or IV drug (excepting cannabis amounts not exceeding 42.5 grams) is a fifth-degree drug crime. The best drug crime defense attorneys in Minnesota can negotiate fifth-degree drug charges down in some cases. You may be able to get a gross misdemeanor drug possession charge if:

  • It’s your first drug conviction
  • You’re arrested with less than 0.25 grams of any narcotic
  • You’re arrested with less than .05 grams of heroin

 

Possession of any amount of a Schedule I, II, or III drug with intent to sell is a fourth-degree offense. These offenses may bring about trafficking charges, too.

Depending on how many grams you possess upon your arrest, you could get a trafficking charge for third-degree possession. Third-degree possession charges include having more than three grams of heroin, 15 kilograms or more of cannabis, and over 10 grams of any other controlled substance.

Possession of 25+ grams of cocaine or methamphetamine, 6+ grams of heroin, 100 doses of a hallucinogen, 25+ kilograms of cannabis or 100 cannabis plants, and 50+ grams of any other controlled narcotic can earn you a second-degree charge.

Having a dangerous weapon when arrested can also advance the offense to a second-degree charge. A drug possession lawyer can help you avoid this consequence and the higher penalties associated with a second-degree drug charge.

First-degree drug charges are the most serious. Possession of 50+ grams of methamphetamine or cocaine, 25+ grams of heroin, 500+ doses of hallucinogens, 50+ kilograms of cannabis, and 500+ grams of any other controlled narcotic are first-degree drug crimes.

  • Drug Sale Charges

The sale of illegal drugs can also be a first- through fifth-degree drug crime in Minnesota.

Fifth-degree narcotics offenses include the sale of any amount of cannabis or Schedule IV drugs.

Selling any amount of a Schedule I, II, or III drug automatically triggers a fourth-degree drug charge. Selling a Schedule IV or V drug to a minor is also a fourth-degree offense. Further, fourth-degree charges are common with the sale of any amount of cannabis at a school, park, public housing, or rehab facility.

In Minnesota, it’s a third-degree narcotics offense to sell any amount of cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin. It’s also a third-degree crime to sell 5kg or more of cannabis, any amount of other controlled narcotics, or any Schedule I, II, or III drugs to minors.

Second-degree drug offenses include the sale of 17+ grams of cocaine or methamphetamine, 3+ grams of heroin, 10+ kilograms of cannabis, and 10+ grams of any other controlled substance.

Selling 17+ grams of meth or cocaine, 10+ grams of heroin, 200+ doses of hallucinogens, 25+ kilograms of cannabis, or 50+ grams of any other controlled narcotic is a first-degree offense.

Federal Drug Trafficking Charges

Minnesota brings drug trafficking charges on in-state offenses. But as soon as drugs cross over state lines, the government can charge you with a Federal drug trafficking offense.

 

Drug Trafficking Penalties

In Minnesota, punishments for drug trafficking convictions depend on multiple factors. These factors include which drugs are being trafficked, the amount you’re found in possession of, and any prior drug-related convictions on your record.

 

Penalties for drug trafficking also increase with aggravating factors. Using or possessing a weapon can also increase drug trafficking penalties.

Minnesota Drug Trafficking Prison Sentences and Fines

 

The prison sentences served and fines paid in drug trafficking cases depend on the degree of the offense.

 

First-degree trafficking charges are felonies and come with up to 30 years in prison, up to $1 million in fines, or both. Having prior convictions can increase your punishment. For example, if it’s your second first-degree drug charge, you can earn 4–40 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines.

 

If you’re found with 100 grams or more of an illegal substance, Minnesota enforces a 65-month mandatory minimum prison sentence.

 

Second-degree trafficking can earn offenders up to 25 years in prison and/or a $500,000 fine. Upon your second second-degree conviction, you’ll have to serve a three-year mandatory minimum prison sentence, pay a $500,000 fine, or both. Total prison sentences go up to 40 years for second-time offenses.

 

A third-degree trafficking charge can get offenders up to 30 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. Fourth-degree trafficking offenses come with 15 years in prison, up to $100,000 in fines, or both. And fifth-degree drug felons with sale convictions can spend up to five years in prison and/or pay a fine of up to $10,000.

Federal Drug Trafficking Penalties

 

Trafficking drugs across state lines is a serious felony. The state of Minnesota can order these traffickers to spend up to 35 years in prison, pay $1.25 million in fines, or both. Federal penalties for transporting drugs across state lines include $5 million in fines and 5–40 years in Federal prison.

 

Defending a Drug Trafficking Charge in Minnesota

Considering the above penalties, you don’t want a drug trafficking charge on your record. That’s why you need the best drug crime defense lawyer on your side. Experienced drug crime attorneys in Minnesota employ the following commonly-used defenses to help their clients in attempting to beat a drug trafficking charge.

 

  • Illegal Search and Seizure

Law enforcement authorities need to have probable cause before searching through your personal property to check for possession of illegal drugs. If they did not have a valid warrant or probable cause, it means they violated your Constitutional rights, in which case, your charges may be reduced or dismissed altogether.

  • Miranda Violation

Any statement by you on your drug trafficking charge cannot be used against you in court if it was obtained when you were placed under arrest and weren’t familiarized with your right to remain silent. As per the American Constitution, providing any answer to unwarned police questions can be avoided.

  • Mistake of Fact

You can defend your charges by stating that you happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And because of this, you were mistaken for the actual offender. This defense can be especially effective if the evidence presented fails to prove that you were involved in the crime in the first place.

  • The Lack of Intent

The drug trafficking charge levied against you is rooted in your (or the defendant’s) intent to distribute the controlled substances. The charge may carry no weight if this intent cannot be proven.

For example, suppose you have no knowledge of drugs found in your vehicle. In that case, Minnesota can’t bring drug trafficking charges against you.

  • The Lack of Knowledge

When defending your drug trafficking charge, you can also state that you lacked the knowledge that the drugs were on your person to begin with. For instance, you may have been asked to drive a car or a delivery truck from one place to another, without you knowing that the vehicle contained a package of heroin.

  • Challenging Proof of Substance

This defense can be employed to refute state-presented evidence. While the state may allege that the substance found in your possession is a controlled substance or an illegal drug, it need not necessarily be so. The state will have to prove to the court that the substance is a drug through scientific evidence. You can then proceed to question the reliability of drug testing with the aim of either suppressing the evidence presented in court or creating doubts on the certainty of said evidence.

  • Not Meant for Human Consumption

This defense can work if the material in question is not drugs, but more like cannabinoids used in the production of skin creams. Proving this will render your drug trafficking charge baseless, and it will likely be dropped.

  • Duress

If you can prove that you were trafficking drugs under the threat of you or your family being harmed if you didn’t do so, you may find relief in your case.

  • Suppression of Pre-trial Identification

This is a slightly complex one and requires thorough knowledge of the law as well as the Constitution, which does not allow vague and unreliable identification processes. With the help of this defense, law enforcement authorities can be stopped from identifying you (the defendant) in court by proving that the identification procedures (mugshots, witness photos) used by the police were unreliable to begin with.

Consult Our Drug Crime Lawyer in Minnesota for a Positive Outcome

It is crucial for you or any individual who has been charged with drug trafficking to let neither the police nor the judiciary intimidate them. Most importantly, you should never give up hope and remember that you are going to be considered innocent until proven guilty.

The above time-tested defenses are used by most Minnesota drug crime attorneys when defending their clients in drug trafficking cases. If you find yourself in tricky waters, make sure to consult a qualified and experienced lawyer at the earliest.

Call us for a free consultation at (855) 976-2444 today or contact us online. We will help you explore every legal option available and applicable to your case, preserve your rights, and get you the just outcome you deserve.

 

This article was originally published on July 20, 2020 and updated on August 5, 2021.

Do I Have a Claim If a Dog Bite Doesn’t Break the Skin?

Dogs bite around 4.5 million people in the US each year. And Minnesota is one of the top-ranking dog bite states. Policyholders report around 370 dog bite incidents to Minnesota insurance companies each year, with an average of $32,198 paid out to victims.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of a dog attack, you may wonder what the state laws are about filing a personal injury lawsuit. Minnesota’s dog bite law protects victims to the fullest extent of the law. That means you can recover damages in a personal injury suit filed against the dog’s owner.

But before you can file, you must prove that the owner was liable for the attack. Keep reading for everything you need to know about your rights after a Minnesota animal attack.

Minnesota’s Dog/Animal Bite Law

Section 347.22 of Minnesota’s Statutes states that owners of dogs that, “without provocation,” attack or injure a person “acting peaceably” and in a lawful place are liable for damages to the attacked or injured person.

Animal Bite Law Definitions

The definition of “acting peaceably” can change depending on the scenario. For example, acting peaceably may mean you were acting lawfully before the attack. That means you were on public land or lawfully on private property. You must also have not provoked the attack.

“Provocation” means that the victim of the attack caused the dog to bite in self-defense. We’ll talk more about provocation and how it can be a viable defense for the dog owner below.

“Owner” is the person who cares for or houses the dog. He or she is primarily liable for any bites the dog causes. But in Minnesota, the law may also consider the animal’s owner anyone who harbors or cares for the dog.

“Strict liability” means that Minnesota can hold the animal owner liable even if he or she didn’t know the dog would attack or injure someone. Compare this to the one-bite rule in other states. The one-bite rule mandates that the dog owner knows of a previous dog bite incident to be held liable.

Defenses Against Minnesota’s Dog Bite Law

A dog bite lawyer has a few defenses to protect the animal’s owner from personal injury claims.

The first line of defense is proving provocation. Provocation defenses could allege that the injured person was hurting or attacking the dog. Or provocation could mean the injured person was handling an injured dog in such a way as to cause pain, resulting in a bite. Using provocation as a defense requires intention. In other words, the animal attack lawyer has to prove the injured person intentionally and unnecessarily hurt or mishandled the animal. If the defense can prove this, the injured person must drop charges against the dog owner.

Another defense commonly used in animal attack cases is trespassing. Minnesota’s dog bite law requires you to be in a lawful place when the dog bite occurred. You must be on public property or lawfully on private property. Of course, you can lawfully be on your own private property, someone else’s private property with their explicit invitation or consent, or the dog owner’s private property with his or her explicit invitation or consent.

If you were trespassing on the dog owner’s property when you were attacked, you wouldn’t have a case. If you were trespassing on property that didn’t belong to the dog owner, though, an experienced dog bite injuries lawyer might still be able to make your case.

Injuries Minnesota’s Dog Bite Law Covers

Minnesota’s dog bite law doesn’t only allow victims to recover damages from dog bites. The law also covers any injuries caused by the attack. That includes wounds or broken bones obtained from the dog jumping on or knocking down the victim.

In some cases, people develop significant post-traumatic stress disorder after an animal attack. Dog bite plaintiffs can also recover damages for this type of psychological injury.

Animal Bite Complications

Animal bites can seem insignificant in some cases, but it’s always important to seek out medical help. Animal bites have the potential to cause significant infections and wounds that require surgical treatment.

The majority of bites in the United States are from dogs. When bitten by a dog, most people snap to the concern for rabies, but there are actually many other more likely illnesses or complications you could suffer from, like tetanus or deep infections.

Even when a bite doesn’t break your skin, there is a potential for injury. A bite could lead to crushing or tearing even if infection isn’t likely. For example, if a dog bites down on you and you’re wearing a coat, your skin might not break. You could still suffer from a broken bone or torn ligaments, though.

There are signs and symptoms of injuries to watch for after an altercation with an animal. First, look at the wound. Is there swelling or discoloration? If so, you could have damage to the underlying muscles, tendons or bones. Redness around punctures could indicate the beginning of an infection. Pus is also a sign of infection.

If you’ve been bitten, you could also have nerve damage. A loss of sensation or inability to move a body part could indicate that a nerve has been severed or impacted by the attack.

Not all dog bites result in complications, but many do. It’s important to hold the owner responsible, so you can focus on getting well without having to be concerned about medical costs or other expenses you’re incurring.

Recoverable Damages

As with any personal injury case, victims of animal attacks are entitled to damages. These damages can be economic or non-economic.

Economic damages include medical bills and other expenses related to the bite or injury. That includes psychological services obtained for post-dog bite PTSD or other emotional trauma. Lost wages and reduced earning capabilities are two more economic damages recoverable in a dog bite personal injury lawsuit.

Non-economic damages include things like pain and suffering, disfigurement, and reduced quality of life.

When a dog attack results in someone’s death, the victim’s heirs can also recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Dog Bite Lawsuit Deadlines

There is a statute of limitations for a dog bite personal injury lawsuit. Animal attack victims in Minnesota must file suit within two years of the date of the bite or injury. If you fail to file within that time, you can’t recover damages from the dog owner.

Call a Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me

Dog attacks can cause serious injuries and lifelong complications. Luckily, Minnesota protects victims like you. With the help of an animal attack injury lawyer, you can file a personal injury lawsuit and recover damages from the dog’s owner.

Need an animal attack lawyer? Call Carlson and Jones today to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your case.

 

This original article was originally published on February 19, 2018 and updated on August 10, 2021.

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