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Definition and penalties for kidnapping in Minnesota

In Minnesota, kidnapping is defined as confining a person or taking a person from one place to another without the consent of that person for one or more of four reasons. Those reasons are to hold that person as a hostage or for ransom, to terrify or harm the person, to assist in an escape or to keep a person in involuntary servitude.

If a person is younger than 16, the person's parent or legal guardian must consent to a person being moved or confined or the act will also be considered kidnapping. Kidnapping a person younger than 16 may carry increased penalties. The penalty for causing harm to the person kidnapped or for failing to release the kidnapped person somewhere safe may include up to 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Minnesota court ruling opens doors for DWI appeals

Minnesota motorists may have more grounds to appeal convictions for driving under the influence following a recent ruling by a Hennepin County Court judge. The ruling stated that the DataMaster, a machine used to record the results of breath tests for alcohol across the state, had rounded up one person's test result, potentially leading to her DWI conviction.

The woman in question had appealed to change her drunk driving conviction. When the judge examined the case, she ruled that it is likely that the driver's first breath sample did not show a test result of 0.16 or greater. She further noted that these results were, therefore, an insufficient basis to revoke the driver's license to operate a vehicle.

Minneapolis suburb leads state in DWI arrests per capita

A grant awarded to Edina in 2015 from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Office of Traffic Safety division has funded a full-time drunk driving enforcement officer for the city. This position as well as the three major highways that cross the Minneapolis suburb have produced the state's highest number of DWI arrests by population. In 2017, the law enforcement for the community of 51,000 made 476 arrests for impaired driving. Only Minneapolis police made more arrests for the same offenses, and that city has approximately eight times the population of Edina.

Traffic law enforcement has been a traditional priority for Edina. Police cars monitoring traffic from under bridges or along exit ramps are a frequent sight. According to the city's police chief, residents complain about traffic violations on the busy highways.

Two men arrested in separate drug busts

Two Minnesota men are facing drug charges following two separate drug busts in Lakeville. The charges were filed in Dakota County Court.

According to authorities, the first defendant, age 28, was arrested after officers from the Southwest Metro Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at his Lakeville home on Dec. 31. As officers approached the residence, they saw a vehicle pull away from the scene. The vehicle was pulled over, and officers said they could smell marijuana. The vehicle was searched, and officers allegedly discovered nine sealed bags of suspected marijuana. They also located 14 gallon-sized bags of edible gummies, which tested positive for THC. A search of the defendant's home uncovered an additional 183 sealed bags of suspected marijuana, more edible THC gummies, multiple containers of THC wax, a digital scale, drug paraphernalia and $26,000 in cash.

Study recommends lowered drunk-driving threshold

For Minnesota motorists, DWI offenses already carry significant penalties. Even first-time offenders facing misdemeanor charges could wind up with a license suspension, a major fine and even jail time. Like all other states, Minnesota sets the drunk driving threshold at a blood alcohol count of .08 percent. However, a study is recommending a lowered limit, arguing that it will cut down on fatal accidents.

The report, issued by a panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, recommends the implementation of a limit of .05 percent. In practice, this would mean a limit of two drinks over the course of an evening for most women and two to three drinks for most men. The report stated that there are around 10,000 annual deaths in the United States attributable to drunk driving that could be prevented with a lowered BAC threshold. In addition, the study made a number of recommendations to reduce access to alcohol in general, including increasing taxation on alcohol and cutting down the hours in which it is legal for businesses and restaurants to sell alcoholic drinks.

Minnesota man facing multiple drug charges

A 30-year-old man from Red Wing remains in Goodhue County Jail after authorities set his bail at $200,000. He stands accused of bringing methamphetamine into the state and selling it primarily on the Fond du Lac Reservation according to a statement from the Cloquet Police Department. The police agency launched an investigation of the man after an informant approached law enforcement and said that the man was buying methamphetamine out of state and distributing it in the Twin Cities and Carlton County.

Cloquet Police, in partnership with multiple law enforcement agencies, investigated the alleged drug dealer for two months. The informant interacted with the suspect and arranged to buy methamphetamine. During their first transaction, the informant acquired 165 grams of methamphetamine according to investigators. During a second operation, law enforcement arrested the suspect after claiming that he sold another 940 grams of methamphetamine.

Country music star charged with DUI

Country music artist Michael Ray shot to fame in Minnesota when his ballad 'Kiss You in the Morning" climbed to the top of the Billboard Country Airplay chart in 2015. However, the 29-year-old entertainer's wholesome reputation suffered a blow on Dec. 20 when he was taken into custody on drunk driving and drug possession charges. Police in Florida say that Ray was impaired by alcohol when his Jeep SUV struck the rear of another vehicle at a fast-food drive-thru.

Ray told officers from the Eustis Police Department that the accident occurred when his foot slipped off the brake pedal. However, officers say that they soon became more interested in Ray's demeanor than the cause of a minor traffic accident. Authorities suspected that Ray may be impaired when they noticed that his breath smelled strongly of alcohol and his eyes were bloodshot. They also claim that the singer was unsteady on his feet when he exited his vehicle to perform a series of standardized field sobriety exercises.

December proclaimed National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Government agencies and community organizations throughout Minnesota have worked to provide advocacy and education on the dangers of driving while intoxicated. At the end of the day, however, every motorist has the responsibility to decide if they are impaired to the point where they should not get behind the wheel.

In 2016, more than 10,000 people lost their lives because of alcohol-impaired automobile accidents. This translated into 28 percent of traffic fatalities being connected to alcohol. Communities, religious organizations and businesses are all working to lower the prevalence of drunk driving.

First-degree arson in Minnesota

To prove that a person has committed first-degree arson in Minnesota, the prosecution must show that he or she performed the acts specified in the relevant statute beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of arson in the first degree are listed in statute number 609.561.

Arson in the first degree may involve a dwelling or other types of buildings. If the structure is a dwelling, a person may be held criminally liable for arson in the first degree regardless of whether or not an occupant is present. If the structure is not a dwelling, a person commits first-degree arson if an individual who is not a part of the crime is present inside the structure, or if it is a reasonable possibility that someone is present inside under the circumstances.

Man faces new drug charges after agent's home visit

A Minnesota man with a history of convictions related to controlled substances is now facing new felony charges. According to media sources, the 36-year-old man was charged with storing meth paraphernalia in the presence of a child and drug possession in the fifth degree following a visit to his home by a Minnesota Department of Corrections agent and a Fairmont police officer on Nov. 7. The officer came to the home at the request of the corrections agent.

The law enforcement officials arrived at the home in the 1000 block of North Prairie Avenue at 3:55 p.m. Reports indicate that the man cooperated when the officer and agent asked to enter the home and look in the basement. Both officials reportedly observed a beer and an open bottle of vodka on the basement steps. Once downstairs, they found a number of items that indicated a possible connection with methamphetamine, including bluish-colored water in a glass bowl sitting on a nightstand next to a can of butane and a green pipe.

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