Criminal law evolves and adapts based on current trends and social views. In Minnesota, new changes to the state’s criminal code that took effect on August 1st highlight some of these trends and some of the new issues confronting our criminal justice system. These changes include some sweeping revisions to drug crime laws as well as modifications of laws regarding DWI, distribution of sexual images, and assaults involving peace officers.
Our legal team has detailed some of the most important new changes to Minnesota criminal law below:
- Updates to Drug Crime Sentencing – In what was the most sweeping state drug law reform in over two decades, Minnesota has shifted to a tougher approach on drug dealers and a more lenient, rehabilitation-focused approach for those charged with minor drug offenses. The move falls in line with drug crime reform being made across the country, and is intended to provide help to individuals struggling with drug abuse and to keep low level, non-violent drug offenders out of jails and prisons. Unfortunately, the new law is not retroactive, and will only apply to cases involving crimes committed on or after August 1st.
- Revenge Porn – Minnesota now criminalizes revenge porn, or the distribution of private sexual images without consent. Depending on the circumstances, accused individuals may be charged with gross misdemeanors or felonies, and can face serious penalties if convicted, including hefty fines and fees and terms of imprisonment.
- Penalties for DWI Involving Death – The recent passing of legislation known as Drake’s Law creates tougher penalties for drivers who cause death while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Specifically, the maximum penalty for repeat offenders with prior first- or second degree DWI convictions in the past 10 years who cause fatal DWI accidents was increased from 10 years to 15 years in prison.
- Bodily Fluid Crime Against Peace Officer – Minnesota has clarified a law related to the assault of police officers through the transmission of body fluid – either by spitting or throwing other bodily fluids. The new law makes the transmission of body fluid an assault crime in and of itself, rather than having to occur when an officer was also physically assaulted.
As experienced Minneapolis criminal defense lawyers who represent clients facing all types of charges, we stay current with these trends and how the law responds and adapts in order to provide the most effective representation possible. If you have questions about the new laws and how they may come into play in your particular case, we encourage you to contact us 24/7 for a FREE and confidential consultation.