Rochester Law Blog

What is the walk and turn test?

If you are ever stopped while driving by a police officer in Minnesota and suspected of potentially being impaired, the officer might ask you to perform a few tests. These are called field sobriety tests. Despite what you might think, these three tests cannot prove that you are drunk and that is not even what they are intended to do. Instead, if you fail one or more of these tests, that may allow an officer to place you under arrest and charge you with drunk driving.

One of these tests is called the walk and turn test. As explained by FieldSobrietyTests.org, before you are told to do anything, the law enforcement officer is supposed to not only describe the test in detail to you but they are also supposed to physically demonstrate it to you. It is only after doing this that the officer should request you perform the test yourself.

Are you facing unique issues in a divorce or custody situation?

In a perfect world, you might decide it's time to move on in life, file for divorce, agree to a settlement and start carrying out plans for your future. In reality, life is often a lot more complex and numerous factors can cause things to become quite complicated and 'messy' when it comes to divorce or child custody issues.

No matter what the particular circumstances of your situation happen to be, it's likely that you're not alone in your struggle. Someone, somewhere has no doubt experienced something similar or, at least, just as stressful. A key to overcoming high-stress legal problems is to know where to seek support to protect your rights and your children's best interests.

The horizonal gaze nystagmus test

If you ae like most people in Minnesota, you know that part of a drunk driving investigation includes an officer asking a driver to perform certain tests at the location at which they have been stopped. If you assume that these tests are completely accurate, you would be incorrect. As explained by FieldSobrietyTests.org, each of the three tests administered has a known inaccuracy rate.

One test is called the horizontal gaze nystagmus test. It is the most accurate of the three tests and yet is still has an accuracy rate of only 77%. Your physical health may well contribute to your inability to pass this test as certain neurological or ophthalmological conditions might interfere with the results. A nystagmus is a normal jerking of the eyeball that can be exacerbated due to health conditions or possibly due to the consumption of alcohol.

How do illegal turns contribute to crashes?

In Minnesota, car crashes related to illegal turns happen frequently. Though wrong-way turns don't get as much attention as other road-related dangers like distracted or drunk driving, it can be just as harmful to anyone on the road.

FindLaw starts by looking at the illegal U-turn, one of the most commonly-known instances of dangerous illegal turning practices. Illegal U-turns can contribute to crashes because they put a driver in the direct path of oncoming traffic flows. Other drivers may not be able to see them or stop in time to avoid them, leading to sideswipe or rear-end crashes.

How a DWI can affect you

The Minnesota government takes drinking under the influence seriously. That is why no one should drive after having even one or two drinks and that hiring an attorney is smart for anyone who is facing a DWI conviction.

According to the Office of Traffic Safety, the legal limit for most motorists is .08, but it is lower for commercial drivers. For drivers under the age of 21, there is zero tolerance and they may not drive with a blood limit of over 0.00. There are numerous costs associated with driving while intoxicated, and many of them are financial. Take into consideration legal fees, court costs, potential alcohol classes and increased insurance premiums, and this can add up to thousands of dollars.

College athlete plays in Minn. tournament following car accident

People who are able to walk away from a car accident in Minnesota consider themselves lucky. One college athlete from the University of San Francisco can count himself extra lucky, because not only did he survive a car accident virtually unscathed on Thursday evening, he played in a basketball tournament the next morning. 

The athlete was in the Twin Cities for the 3X3U National Championship. Another vehicle struck the one he was driving and then drove away while he was in the middle of an intersection in the Lyn-Lake area of Minneapolis late in the evening on Thursday. It is unclear whether the athlete lost consciousness due to the accident, but he does report his car making several complete revolutions as a result of the impact, as well as being inside of an ambulance en route to the hospital by the time he was able to gather his senses. 

Celebrity divorce and custody battles: Don't let it happen to you

Like most Minnesota residents, you probably follow celebrity news from time to time. There never seems to be a shortage of shocking or exciting headlines regarding the current super stars of stage and screen. Then again, it's what most people expect when it comes to Hollywood entertainment, right? Some of your favorite stars might be among those who are going through or have recently resolved contentious divorce or child custody issues.

If you ever wind up in family law court, you'll likely want to avoid similar problems like the plague, as many celebrities have lost thousands of dollars and months of their time locked in fierce court battles over property division or child custody and support disagreements. Reading up on some of the most acrimonious battles may help you steer clear of similar problems in your own life.

The basics of adopting a child in Minnesota

When Minnesota residents decide to expand their family through adoption, they may only consider the joy of bringing a child into their home. However, there are many details about the process people need to understand.

When people first consider adopting a child, it is important for them to understand all of their options. FindLaw says there are many different kinds of adoptions, such as adopting a child from the foster system or from another country. It is a good idea for people to research each kind of adoption so they know which is best for them. Additionally, people usually need to consider legal matters. Courts may have strict procedures people need to follow. A person's taxes may also change after he or she adopts a child. As people learn more about adoption, it is a good idea for them to make sure they understand the legal and financial aspects of the process.

Sex offenders and residency restrictions

Minnesota, like all other states in the nation, has a program that requires some people convicted of sex crimes to register as sex offenders. These registry programs come in many forms and each has its own unique set of requirements and processes but the general purpose and use are to be able to track the whereabouts of defendants. Some states place restrictions on where a person who must participate in the sex offender registry program may work or live. 

The Minnesota Predatory Offender Registry explains that there is no unilateral ban on registrants living in any particular locations, such as near schools, daycare centers or other facilities where children are likely to be present. Some people may have select restrictions put in place as part of their probation or parole conditions but this does not always happen.

Expungement in Minnesota

A criminal record can follow a person around for a long time, potentially affecting his or her ability to find a place to live or a new job. Under certain circumstances, it may be possible to place previous convictions under seal so that the public will no longer have access to the records. Courts in Minnesota refer to this action as an expungement, while in other states, it may go by the term "expunction." 

According to Minnesota statutes, expungement is not available for every offense. It is available for certain criminal proceedings, certain controlled substance offenses and juveniles prosecuted as adults. Even then, expungement only becomes available upon meeting particular conditions relating to the offense and the penalties it incurs. 

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