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In an opinion released on October 13, 2016, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued a ruling on warrantless urine tests in the context of driving while impaired cases. In State v. Thompson, the Minnesota Supreme Court used the Supreme Court of the United States’ recent Birchfield v. North Dakota opinion to conclude that a warrantless urine test does not fall within the search-incident-to-arrest exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement.

What this means for Minnesota drivers is that refusal of a warrantless urine test is legal. Unless there is another exception to the warrant requirement such as exigent circumstances or the driver consents, police officers will now have to get a search warrant in order to take a blood sample or urine sample. If you are arrested by the police for driving while impaired, call an experienced attorney before you consent to any test. If you’re arrested, you’ll be given an opportunity to contact an attorney, discuss your opinions, and get informed about your rights before taking any tests. Contact Barragry Law to learn your rights.

MN Rules Warrantless Urine Test Unconstitutional - DUI Lawyer

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In Minnesota it is unlawful for your employer to take adverse action against you if you “blow the whistle.” What this means is that if you report wrongdoing or illegal activity within your company to your employer and your employer turns around and punishes you or even fires you for reporting it, you may have a valid claim against your employer.

Barragry Law is committed to representing those who may have a claim under the Whistleblower Act – as your employment lawyer we’ll determine the best course of action in your unique situation.

The Minnesota Whistleblower Act protects employees who report illegal conduct to their superiors and are retaliated against because of it. In order to make your case, you’ll need to prove that you reported the illegal activity, that your employer took some sort of adverse action against you, and finally that the action against you and the reported violation are connected.  

When something like this happens to you, it is wise to contact an attorney and protect your rights. You may be entitled to monetary damages, and a claim under Minnesota’s Whistleblower statute may also include attorneys’ fees. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case, your options, and your rights.

Barragry Law Specializes in Employment Law & Minnesota Whistleblower Act

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The Minnesota Supreme Court’s most recent opinion, released today, upheld an officer’s stop of a car based on the car’s wide turn, an in-lane swerve, the time of night, and the proximity to downtown bars. The Court determined that based on the totality of the circumstances and the officer’s experience, the officer had reasonable suspicion to stop the car. This is bad case for defendants across Minnesota. This case green-lights officers to stop cars early in the morning, so long as there is a bar in the area, and the officer can note any slight imperfection in the driver’s driving conduct, including an in-lane swerve or too wide of a turn. The Court is absolutely correct that the “reasonable suspicion standard is not high.” This is yet another case of the Court reemphasizing how truly low the bar is and how little is needed before an officer can stop your car.

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One of the common questions I am hearing on a number of expungement calls is, can an expungement be granted for a case that was charged as a felony, but was reduced to a misdemeanor upon completion of probation? As an attorney who represents those petitioning the court and seeking expungement, my obvious interpretation of the new law is yes, this is permitted under the statute. The new Minnesota Expungement Statute only allows expungement of certain felony convictions. But what about cases that are charged as a felony and reduced to a misdemeanor upon a successful completion of probation? The statute can be interpreted a couple different ways and that means that this issue will likely go up on appeal to be interpreted by Minnesota’s higher courts.

Some Courts and County Attorney offices are saying that the statute specifically includes which types of felonies are eligible for statutory expungement. If it is not one of those listed felonies, and the case was not dismissed, then statutory expungement cannot be granted.

On the other hand, I contend that felonies reduced to misdemeanors should qualify for expungement under the new law. The statute permits expungement of misdemeanor convictions. Minnesota Statutes section609.13, generally provides that although a conviction may have been for a felony charge, “the conviction is deemed a misdemeanor if the imposition of the prison sentence is stayed, the defendant is placed on probation, and the defendant is thereafter discharged without a prison sentence.” This statute says that upon successful completion of probation and when there is a stay of imposition of sentencing, what could have been characterized at the time of the guilty plea, should now be considered a misdemeanor level conviction. Further proving this point is a person’s discharge papers following a successful completion of probation with a stay of imposition. On one’s discharge Order a District Court Judge orders, “IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to M.S.A. 609.13, Subd. 1, Clause 2, this conviction is deemed to be for a misdemeanor.”

Until we hear from the Minnesota Court of Appeals and/or Minnesota Supreme Court, it is up to the District Court Judges to determine how to interpret the Statute. The results of your expungement petition will depend on how well you can argue this point and how well you understand the law surrounding this issue. For a free consultation about your case, contact our office today.

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In Minnesota it is a crime to refuse to take a breath, blood, or urine test once you have been lawfully placed under arrest. The legality of Minnesota’s DWI test refusal statute is currently being challenged and is on appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
On December 11, 2015 the Supreme Court of the United States granted a writ of certiorari and will consider the question of whether Minnesota’s DWI test refusal statute is constitutional. If the Court decides that criminalizing a test refusal of a warrantless search of a person through a breath test is unconstitutional, it will have a major impact on current and future DWI cases.
What does this mean for people currently charged with refusal to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test? Many attorneys are using this decision by the Supreme Court to postpone resolution of their clients’ cases until the Supreme Court weighs in on the issue. So if you are currently charged with a gross misdemeanor for DWI test refusal, it is important to know that the law surrounding the legality of this statute can impact your case. In order to discuss your options and choices, contact us today.
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On the first of January, 2015, Minnesota’s legislature made expungements more meaningful and easier to obtain in a number of situations. The two overarching changes are: 1) that theexpungement statute specifically allows an expungement to seal executive branch records, and 2) there is a clear time-frame for when a conviction is considered old enough to be expunged, statutorily. The impact of these two changes is unfolding in courts across the state, but it is expected that both will increase the number of people who apply for expungements and the number of expungements that are granted.

Sealing of the executive branch records is a great addition to the expungement statute. Prior to the January 1, 2015 law going into effect, it was controversial whether the judicial branch could extend its power and seal executive branch records. There was a “separation of powers” issue that the Minnesota Supreme Court addressed in State v. M.D.T. The result in M.D.T., as rightfully stated in the Justice Anderson’s dissent, essentially provided no meaningful remedy for expungement seekers. Following M.D.T. there was a period of time where District Court judges could not seal records held in the executive branch save for very limited situations, such as an outright dismissal of a case. The legislature stepped up and expanded the scope of statutory expungements. Now, for any petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor that you were convicted of, once you have been off probation for two years, you at least have a chance at getting all your records relating to that case expunged, whether held in the judicial or executive branch. The time limit for gross misdemeanors is four years. For certain felonies, it’s five years. Most felonies, any not listed in subdivision 3 (5) found here, can only be expunged under the inherent authority of the court. These inherent authority expungements will only seal the court records and will not effect executive branch records.

While the two years for misdemeanors is beneficial it is not the only thing the judge will look at when considering your expungement petition. A judge will still conduct a balancing test of 12 factors to determine if an expungement is right in your case. This requires persuasion and a careful explanation of why those 12 factors and the law support your expungement request. For help crafting that argument or questions about the new expungement law, contact us today!

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The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry updates its 2014 list of residential building contractor consent orders and other licensing actions. So far, the list from January 1, 2014 through July 31, 2014 includes over 140 licensed individuals and companies who have been subject to some sort of licensing action.  These violations can come from neglecting customers, failure to use your proper name and license number on all contract documents and advertisements, or, the biggest source of issues, legally deficient contracts. Residential construction contracts in Minnesota must have certain disclosures and notices provided in order to be legally sufficient.

To find out what you can do to protect yourself, your license, and to make sure you are compliant with Minnesota law, contact our office today for a free contract review.

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In Minnesota a contractor, subcontractor or material supplier to protect their legal rights under Minnesota law, can file a mechanic’s lien. The purpose behind filing a mechanic’s lien is to provide the contractor with an interest in the property in case the property owner does not pay for the services rendered. To file a lien, the contractor must adhere to certain requirements laid out by the Minnesota Mechanic’s Lien Statute, Minnesota Statutes section 514.01 et seq.

A contractor must provide specific lien notice to a homeowner prior to starting work on the property. The contractor then must file the lien with the county recorder or registrar of titles within 120 days from the last of work. Failure to do either of these can jeopardize the contractor’s lien rights and greatly weakens their ability to collect from a non-paying homeowner.  A mechanic’s lien can be a powerful tool for contractors in order to ensure that they are not stuck with construction costs following the completion of a project.

Subcontractors or suppliers who do not have a direct contract with the homeowner are, for the most part, entitled to file a lien against a property that they work on, but do not receive payment for, but they have a different pre-lien notice requirement. Subcontractors or suppliers also need to file their claim for a mechanic’s lien within 120 days from their own last date of work on the property. Again, failure to file by the 120-day deadline will greatly impact your rights and leverage in collecting from the homeowner.

Getting a mechanic’s lien in place is just the start of collecting on non-payment from an owner. The mechanic’s lien can be used as leverage to negotiate payment; otherwise, the mechanic’s lien will need to be foreclosed on within 1-year from the last day of work on the property. This foreclosure action to enforce your lien rights will need to be filed in district court. Barragry Law LLC can help file a mechanic’s lien, negotiate payment from the homeowner, commence the foreclosure action in district court, or help collect from a judgment you received against a homeowner. Contact us today.

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The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry sharply regulates the residential construction industry in Minnesota and has published its 2014 Worker Misclassification stats from January through August. The Registration Enforcement Orders, which include 24 separate licenses revoked or suspended and civil penalties totaling $119,950 can be found here.  Worker Misclassification refers to whether someone you hire is an employee or an independent contractor. While most times contractors and subcontractors prefer to consider the sub an independent contractor it is not as simple as just calling the subcontractor an independent contractor. The State of Minnesota has a 9-factor test that is laid out in Minnesota Statutes section 181.723. If you define your subcontractors as independent contractors and they do not meet all 9 factors under 181.723, you could be facing license violations and civil penalties as the law is enforced by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

If your subcontractor cannot meet the 9-factor test to be considered an independent contractor, then they will be considered an employee. If that is the case, then you, as the employer, should have been withholding taxes and paying worker’s compensation insurance, and unemployment taxes. The IRS and other Minnesota agencies can also pursue claims against you for money owed if you have misclassified your subcontractors as independents instead of employees. To find out what you can do to protect yourself, your license, and to make sure you are compliant with Minnesota law, contact our office today.

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The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry sharply regulates the residential construction industry in Minnesota and has published its 2014 Worker Misclassification stats from January through August. The Registration Enforcement Orders, which include 24 separate licenses revoked or suspended and civil penalties totaling $119,950 can be found here.  Worker Misclassification refers to whether someone you hire is an employee or an independent contractor. While most times contractors and subcontractors prefer to consider the sub an independent contractor it is not as simple as just calling the subcontractor an independent contractor. The State of Minnesota has a 9-factor test that is laid out in Minnesota Statutes section 181.723. If you define your subcontractors as independent contractors and they do not meet all 9 factors under 181.723, you could be facing license violations and civil penalties as the law is enforced by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.

If your subcontractor cannot meet the 9-factor test to be considered an independent contractor, then they will be considered an employee. If that is the case, then you, as the employer, should have been withholding taxes and paying worker’s compensation insurance, and unemployment taxes. The IRS and other Minnesota agencies can also pursue claims against you for money owed if you have misclassified your subcontractors as independents instead of employees. To find out what you can do to protect yourself, your license, and to make sure you are compliant with Minnesota law, contact our office today.

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