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Grand Forks Criminal Law Blog

North Dakota school official arrested for drunk driving

With summer winding down, many are making back-to-school preparations. Families are taking advantage of sales on notebooks and backpacks, and teachers are readying their classrooms and preparing their lessons. However, one North Dakota school official may have something else to prepare for after his recent arrest for drunk driving.

The superintendent of one district was charged with misdemeanor DUI when he was pulled over for speeding one recent Saturday around 5 p.m. Police say they administered a breath test at the scene, and the man's blood alcohol level was .165, which is more than twice the legal limit of .08. Although the superintendent expects to continue his job, the school board president told reporters they are waiting for the completion of the legal process before making a decision about the man's future.

White collar crimes in North Dakota can lead to civil forfeiture

When people in North Dakota are accused of committing a crime, there are many stressors that can cause them concern. Defending against the formal accusations, possible jail time and fines are just a few. This is true for white collar crimes as well as other types of incidents. One potential issue is civil forfeiture, where the state can take money and property that it believes has been involved in the commission of a crime.

Civil forfeiture can be a concern for those accused of white collar crimes. In such cases, if the state believes that money or property was used in the commitment of the crime, the property can be confiscated. Moreover, the government doesn't have to return it, even of a person is not found guilty in criminal court.

Theft crimes in Minnesota

Minnesota's theft statute covers a wide variety of actions. At its most basic, theft means deliberately taking the property of another person, intending to permanently deprive him or her of it.

The property in question could be anything from a physical object to electronic transfers. In addition, Minnesota law specifically includes some other actions in the category of theft.

Man faces drug crimes charges for trying to sell grass clippings

Like law enforcement in every state, North Dakota police are fighting to keep drugs off the streets. Drug crimes can range from possession to manufacturing and distributing, and the seriousness of the charges increases with the types and amounts of drugs involved. However, one man's purported attempt to sell a cheap knockoff apparently did not fool anyone and landed him in trouble with the law.

Perhaps the 20-year-old man just wanted to make some easy money when he filled a bag with grass clippings and allegedly tried to sell it as marijuana. The man supposedly stopped a woman in a parking lot around 1 a.m. and offered to sell her marijuana. The woman claims the man then told her the substance in the bag was synthetic. When she doubted him and declined to buy the product, he reportedly admitted it was grass and said he had been kidding her.

North Dakota Police Chief accused of sex crimes

In North Dakota, there are many small towns that have only one member of law enforcement serving their area. In those cases, that person is one of great importance to the community that they serve. When that individual is accused of a crime, including sex crimes, that can come as a shock to those around them.

This may have been the case for residents of a local community who learned recently that the only member of their police force, the Police Chief, had been accused of sex crimes. In fact, the man was arrested by authorities as he testified in another matter at the local courthouse. The Police Chief was accused of multiple felonies that could, if he is found guilty, result in long prison sentences. 

Remaining silent after an arrest: Why to wait for an attorney

You may have heard that you should not talk to the authorities without an attorney present if a law enforcement officer takes you into custody. It may be tempting to want to tell your side of the story anyway in an attempt to get out of trouble. This could easily backfire, though, and it often does.

Although an officer may not tell you that you have the right to remain silent, you do, and you should. Here is why.

Polk County tough on crime

In a county-by-county analysis of prison admission rates, the New York Times and Fordham University found that Polk County sent more people to prison per capita in 2014 than any other county in Minnesota. For every 10,000 residents in Polk County, 50 people were admitted to prison.

Compared to the rate of Hennepin County, 12 per 10,000, and Ramsey County, 19 per 10,000, it is very easy to see that Polk County is cracking down on crime. Here are some reasons why and what it means for those charged.

Weapons charges: North Dakota man pleads to voluntary homicide

A North Dakota man was found guilty recently in federal court. Though he did not specifically face weapons charges, he was found to have used a Samurai sword to kill his life-long friend. He ultimately pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to serve six years in prison. The sentence could have been as much as 78 months.

According to a report, the man was involved in a fight with the victim just before the incident in Lame Deer. The duo had been friends for years, and both appear to have had long criminal histories. Much of the contact with police had come as a result of drug use, authorities noted.

SEC, 2 state attorneys general probe Exxon on climate accounting

ExxonMobile may have materially misled its investors on the potential costs of climate change, according to the attorney general of New York. The attorney general of Massachusetts is also investigating the company. In a separate case, the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into whether the company's oil and gas reserves are over-valued, considering the market and potential restrictions on their use that could arise due to climate change.

The oil giant has commented that it believes the New York probe is politically motivated and called the allegations "inaccurate and irresponsible."

Judge offers 3 reasons why alleged child porn should be tossed

When law enforcement or any other agent of the government performs a search or seizure that is objectively unreasonable, any evidence they obtain can be suppressed. In other words, the government can't use tainted evidence against defendants.

If a private party does something unreasonable and obtains evidence for the prosecution, however, there usually isn't any stain on the evidence. Unless, of course, the private party was actually in collusion with the government. Law enforcement can't bring in third parties just to get around the Constitution.

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