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Grand Forks Criminal Law Blog

North Dakota outlawing DUI checkpoints

It may become much harder for police officers in North Dakota to arrest people for drunk driving. Lawmakers in the state recently passed a bill that outlaws DUI checkpoints. House Bill 1442 states that cops now need to have a reasonable suspicion a person is under the influence of alcohol to pull him or her over. Some lawmakers argue DUI checkpoints are an ineffective tool in this endeavor, and now, drivers in the state may not have to worry about them. 

As of this writing, the bill has passed the state's House with a 79 to 14 vote. It now moves to the Senate, where it will receive further deliberations. Although similar legislation has come through in recent years, this bill has a genuine chance of passing. It is vital to be aware of how it will affect driving should it become law, and whether it will truly help with preventing drunk drivers

High school math teacher charged with sex crimes

North Dakota parents and authorities usually expect teachers to uphold a certain level of conduct and professionalism with their students. Any suspected violation of these standards can lead to serious criminal consequences for those involved. A high school math teacher recently resigned her position after she was arrested for allegedly engaging in sex crimes with a student.

The 24-year-old former teacher was arrested on Jan. 22, 2019, after which she submitted her resignation. The arrest came only days after authorities were alerted to a potential inappropriate relationship between the math teacher and a 17-year-old male student. The student had allegedly been overheard telling someone that his math teacher could face serious consequences because she had sent him inappropriate pictures.

North Dakota pair charged with drug crimes

Police in North Dakota recently arrested two individuals who were allegedly in possession of a significant amount of drugs and drug paraphernalia. Both are facing multiple charges -- including felonies -- for these supposed drug crimes. These types of charges can lead to extensive prison sentences, so a careful focus on details and the criminal defense process can be helpful for defendants in similar situations.

Authorities had a search warrant for the home where the 31-year-old woman and 40-year-old man were arrested. After executing the search warrant, members of a Narcotics Task Force claim that they discovered over 3 pounds of methamphetamine and a much smaller amount of marijuana. Drug paraphernalia, three handguns and another firearm were also seized from the home.

Binge drinking is a favorite pastime for college kids

According to data gathered by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, approximately one in seven teens is a binge drinker, but only one in 100 parents knows.

It is not uncommon for students attending college near Grand Forks to succumb to temptations such as binge drinking with their peers, which can translate to underage drinking and driving.

What you should know about vandalism charges in Minnesota

Graffiti on walls, broken windows and damaged property barriers: Vandalism takes a variety of forms. While it is not the most serious crime on the books, a conviction could land you with some serious consequences.

Vandalism — or criminal damage to property, as Minnesota statutes describe it — is like any misdemeanor. Specifically, it is something you want to keep off of your record. That would be especially true if you face accusations of a crime involving any of the following factors.

White collar crimes: Bribery does not always involve cash

Being charged with bribery can be overwhelming and confusing. In some cases, an individual might not even be certain why he or she was charged with bribery in the first place. These and other white collar crimes can be incredibly nuanced, so having a better understanding of the charges can help defendants craft the best possible criminal defense plan.

Authorities in North Dakota usually file bribery charges when they believe they have evidence that indicates a person has attempted to influence or alter a public or government employee or official through certain means. Although this is often understood in the context of offering money for favorable treatment, cash is not always involved. In some instances, bribery might involve a person offering a gift or favor.

Common mistakes police make when they arrest people for DUI

Now that it is toward the end of 2018, it is more vital than ever for drivers to avoid consuming alcohol before getting behind the wheel. Starting in November and ending in December, Minnesota state police have increased their presence on state roadways to find motorists who drive drunk. 

As soon as the police arrest someone for DUI, it is paramount for that person to start building a defense. In some cases, this may be easier than most realize. There are plenty of common mistakes even veteran police officers make, so it is critical to be aware of mistakes that could help your case. 

Are white collar crimes really that serious?

You already understand that there are significant potential consequences for alleged crimes involving drugs, weapons or violence. But what about white collar crimes? Like many other people in North Dakota, you may not think of these as serious criminal matters. However, like other criminal charges, white collar crimes can lead to lengthy prison sentences, steep fines and a criminal record that will follow you for years to come. 

White collar crime is an umbrella term under which multiple criminal allegations fall. In general, these types of crimes typically involve illegal commercial practices, theft and elements of dishonesty usually -- although not always -- with another person's or company's money. Common white collar crimes include but are not limited to: 

  • Embezzlement 
  • Extortion 
  • Identity theft 
  • Money laundering 
  • Pyramid schemes 
  • Fraud 

The number of drunk driving fatalities is lower in North Dakota

North Dakota laws on driving under the influence are strict, and drivers charged with this crime are facing harsh penalties that can affect the rest of their lives. Despite strong laws, the state has been ranked at the top of several lists pertaining to drunk driving, including the number of drunk driving deaths. However, the last few years has seen a decrease in the number of deaths and injuries related to intoxicated driving.

Over the last few years, drunk driving related injuries and fatalities has been steadily decreasing, and there could be a few reasons for this. Some believe that one reason for this positive trend could be because the state launched an educational program a year ago aimed at helping drivers understand the dangers of DUI and the increased risk for an accident. The goal of the program is to bring the number of alcohol-related deaths down to zero.

18-wheeler driver facing criminal charge for manslaughter

An 18-wheeler driver was recently charged with manslaughter after police say he caused a fatal accident. He was apparently not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol at the time of the wreck. Still, he could face potentially serious consequences -- including fines and jail time -- if convicted on this criminal charge.

North Dakota police say that the wreck occurred shortly after 6:30 p.m., when a 57-year-old pickup truck driver was driving on Interstate 29. He was traveling slower than a nearby 18-wheeler when the 53-year-old driver of the big rig apparently rear-ended his pickup. The driver who supposedly caused the accident was not injured, nor were any of the cattle that he was hauling at the time. The pickup truck driver was tossed from his vehicle and pronounced dead while still at the site of the accident.

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