Minnesota Supreme Court to make important decision affecting people charged with DWI/DUI.

6/13/2012

On May 9, 2012, the Minnesota Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Patino v. One 2007 Chevrolet ,a case that could drastically change the State’s ability to confiscate someone’s car if they are charged with certain DWI or DUI related offenses.

In the case, Patino’s roommate was driving her car with a 10-year-old in the vehicle when he was stopped by a police officer who suspected he was intoxicated. He was subsequently arrested and charged with 2nd Degree DWI because there was a child in the vehicle, and because he had a prior DWI conviction. After negotiations with the prosecutor, however, he pleaded guilty to 3rd Degree DWI and was never convicted of 2nd Degree DWI. Soon after, the State initiated forfeiture proceedings and ultimately took away Patino’s car.

Under Minnesota Statute 169A.63, which deals with vehicle forfeitures, the State is allowed to confiscate a drunk driver’s vehicle if they commit a “designated offense.” Designated offenses generally include 1st and 2nd Degree DWI. Subdivision 9(f) of the statute provides that:

“[i]f the forfeiture is based on the commission of a designated offense and the person charged with the designated offense appears in court as required and is not convicted of the offense, the court shall order the property returned to the person legally entitled to it[.]”

Based off the above-language, Patino demanded a judicial determination of the forfeiture, arguing that because her roommate was never actually convicted of 2nd Degree DWI, the unambiguous language of the statute requires the State to return her car. The district court, however, refused to return the vehicle despite the clear language in the statute that requires the State to return her car.

Instead, the court relied on the Minnesota Court of Appeals’ decision in Mastakoski v. 2003 Dodge Durango, which basically concluded that the State can take someone’s vehicle even if they were never convicted of a designated offense. In that decision, the Court of Appeals was interpreting a separate subdivision of the forfeiture statute, and never even discussed the unambiguous language described above that requires the State to return the vehicle if the person was never convicted of the designated offense.

Not satisfied with the district court’s response, Patino appealed the decision to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, and in October of 2011, it determined that Patino was right, and that the unambiguous language of the statute requires the State to return Patino’s vehicle because her roommate was never convicted of the designated offense.

The county attorney appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court, and today we await a decision on whether a conviction of a designated offense is necessary for the State to take someone’s vehicle when they are charged with DWI.

Poole Law Office PLLC frequently represents people suspected of DWI. If you are charged with DUI/DWI and are facing vehicle forfeiture, you need a Duluth DWI lawyer to aggressively represent you and ensure your rights are protected. To schedule a free consultation, call us now at 218-461-0247, or fill out our contact form.

Poole Law Office PLLC specializes in Criminal Defense, DWI”>DWI / DUI, Divorce, and Bankruptcy.

Service Member & USERRA Lawyer

Our men and women in uniform sacrifice their lives for our country, so when they complete their military obligation, it is only right that they are able to return to work. Sometimes deployments are lengthy, but that doesn’t mean that their job can’t be waiting for them when they get back home. Thanks to USERRA, that job should be open to the soldier so that he or she can get back to their normal life.

If you have questions about your rights under USERRA, contact Poole Law Office PLLC today.

Facts About USERRA

The uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act protects our service members from losing their jobs when they are absent from work due to fulfilling their military duty. In fact, USERRA protects their reemployment rights for up to 5 years. Nonetheless, there are exceptions to this five-year limit that include the initial enlistment that lasts more than five years, periodic Reserve and National Guard training, and involuntary extensions to active duty and recalls. This means that a soldier can return to their job after the five year limit has passed.

USERRA also provides protection for those veterans who are disabled, requiring employers to do the best that they can to accommodate the disability. Service members who are recovering from injuries they received during training or service may have up to two years from the date they completed their service to apply for reemployment.

In addition, USERRA states that returning service members are to be reemployed in the job that they would have attained if they had not been absent due to their military service. This means they are to receive the same status, seniority, and pay, as well as a number of other rights that are determined by their seniority. Any violation of these rights can result in legal action against the employer for a USERRA violation when the soldier has met all of the qualifications for reemployment.

Poole Law Office PLLC also practices in the areas of criminal defense, DWI, divorce and bankruptcy.

(The content on this page is for informational purposes only, shall not be used as legal advice, and is absolutely no substitute for contacting an attorney for help)

Real Estate

If you are involved in a real estate transaction, you need an attorney to ensure a smooth and complete transaction. This representation can be found through Poole Law Office PLLC with an attorney who knows real estate law and who has your best interests at heart.

At Poole Law Office PLLC, we represent clients dealing with business or private property matters including title issues, boundary disputes, construction or zoning issues, trespassing issues, and easements.  To learn how we can help you, contact us today to discuss your options with our attorney.

Types of Real Estate Cases

There are a number of different types of real estate cases. They include:

  • Commercial real estate
  • Landlord-tenant law
  • Residential transactions
  • Mortgage and foreclosure law
  • Condemnation and adverse possession
  • Land use and zoning
  • Real estate litigation
  • Homeowners association law

Whether you are developing, buying, selling, or renting property, you need to be aware of the rights and obligations of each party. If the smallest detail is overlooked, you could be exposed to legal action and financial liability. Poole Law Office PLLC will work closely with you to avoid such legal troubles. We will defend against adverse claims and will initiate them if necessary.

Real Estate Transactions

Problems can arise during any real estate transaction. A buyer can back out, there may be a boundary dispute, or a seller may want to renegotiate terms of the contract. In these situations, it is imperative to have legal representation that can assist in writing agreements and ensuring that all parties involved understand their contractual obligations.

We can help you handle matters throughout the entire process of buying, selling, developing or leasing real estate. We can even file claims for you on a past transaction that was not correctly executed. We will also answer all of your questions regarding your situation so that you can make the right decisions.

Contact A Duluth Real Estate Lawyer

If you have a real estate matter that needs resolved, we can help you with the dispute. Real estate issues need the expertise of an attorney to take a look at the issue and find a viable solution. To learn more about how Poole Law Office PLLC can help you resolve your real estate matter, call us at 218-461-0247 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free consultation.

Poole Law Office PLLC also practices in the areas of criminal defense, DWI, divorce and bankruptcy.

Divorce Law

At Poole Law Office PLLC we have the compassion and dedication to help you with any family law concern. If you are going through a divorce, contact a divorce lawyer in Duluth, MN to ensure the process is as painless as possible.

Divorce Attorney in Duluth, MN

A divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. In other words, it is a court proceeding in which your marriage will be legally terminated. Divorce proceedings in Duluth can contain various phases, and ultimately, the parties must agree to the terms of the divorce, or have a judge decide the terms of the divorce. Typical things that a divorce attorney can help you determine during a divorce include:

  • How to divide marital property, including debts, personal property, vehicles, land, homes, etc
  • How to provide care for joint children, including custody and visitation
  • Property division
  • How much child support will be and who will pay it
  • How much will alimony be, if any, and who will pay it
  • Whether your legal names will change

Why hire a Duluth divorce attorney if we already agree on the terms?

If a married couple seeking a divorce in Duluth, MN and has already agreed to the terms of the divorce, a divorce lawyer can be retained to quickly draft and file the required divorce paperwork. An uncontested divorce can be accomplished must faster than a contested divorce. At Poole Law Office PLLC, we offer an affordable flat fee an uncontested divorce. To learn more about how we can help you, contact our Duluth divorce lawyer today.

Are there alternatives to a divorce?

If a married couple seeking a divorce has already agreed to the terms of the divorce, a divorce lawyer can be retained to quickly draft and file the required divorce paperwork. An uncontested divorce in Duluth can be accomplished must faster than a contested divorce. At Poole Law Office PLLC, we offer an affordable flat fee an uncontested divorce. To learn more about how we can help you, contact our Duluth divorce lawyer today.

Contact a Divorce Attorney in Duluth

Family law matters can be complicated and emotional. To achieve the most peaceful and fair resolution in your case, you need a divorce lawyer and family attorney to assist you. To learn more about how we can guide you through your divorce or other family law issues, fill out our contact form or call us at 218-461-0247 to schedule your free consultation.

Poole Law Office PLLC also practices in the areas of criminal defense.

(The content on this page is for informational purposes only, shall not be used as legal advice, and is absolutely no substitute for contacting an attorney for help)

Contract Law

With our knowledge of business law, we have the understanding of how contracts work. At Poole Law Office PLLC, we educate and advise our clients on their rights and roles within a contract. Whether you wish to draft, sign or get out of a contract, we can advise you. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation.

Understanding Contracts

Before you ever sign a contract, it is very important that you understand every aspect of the proposed agreement. A contract can legally bind you to perform certain duties or entitle you to benefits, which is why it must be fully comprehended before you commit.

It is also important to be informed of what a contract must include if you wish to draft a contract. As your attorney, we will be able to draft or review any proposed agreements before you present them to another party.  Allowing us to review your contracts before you commit to them can help avoid future problems and legal consequences. We can also advise you on the costs and consequences if you or another party breaks an existing contract.

Contract Disputes

Contract disputes are common. Disputes usually result from a misunderstanding in the agreement that the parties signed. Such misunderstandings can become lengthy, frustrating and expensive for all parties.

You can expect Poole Law Office to negotiate with the other party so that you receive the best results for your situation. By fully understanding your contractual rights and responsibilities, you can make clear decisions toward resolution of any dispute. We help you reach a solution that you can be happy with. You do not have to go about the process alone and you will never have to make a decision without being informed.

Contact A Duluth Contract Law Lawyer

Contracts are a very important part of doing business. Whether you wish to create a simple contract, negotiate a complex agreement or enter into a contract presented to you by someone else, we can ensure that you are making fully informed choices and protecting your interests. To find out more about how we can help you in your contract matters, call us at 218-461-0247 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free consultation.

Poole Law Office PLLC also practices in the areas of criminal defense, DWI, divorce and bankruptcy.

(The content on this page is for informational purposes only, shall not be used as legal advice, and is absolutely no substitute for contacting an attorney for help)