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MN Senate Repeals Sunday Liquor Sale Ban

Published On: February 27th, 2017

Pasminneapolissed by the House last week, the Minnesota Senate passed a a similar bill today repealing the ban on Sunday liquor sales. The Senate’s bill will now be sent back to the MN House of Representatives. to address the difference in Sunday opening hours for liquor stores with H.F. 30. If there is agreement, the passed bill will be sent on to Governor Dayton for signing.

If passed and sign by the governor, store could begin selling liquor on Sundays as soon as July.

Read S.F. 1086 passed by the Senate here

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Coley Grostyan is a Minneapolis DWI defense attorney.

Law Office of Coley J. Grostyan, PLLC
701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415
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Judge Wapner Passes Away at 97

Published On: February 27th, 2017

Judge Wapner, also know as Judge Joseph Albert Wapner, passed away today at the age of 97, reportedly passing peacefully in his sleep.

Judge Wapner was the the judge on the famous television show “The People’s Court”. Judge Wapner presided over conciliation court disputes on the show from 1981 to 1993. Growing up in the 80′s and always wanting to be a lawyer, Judge Wapner’s People’s Court was a significant influence on my legal career.

Read more about Judge Wapner’s career and life on his Wikipedia page.

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Coley Grostyan is a Minneapolis defense attorney.

Judge Wapner Passes Away at 97
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Proposed Change to Federal Marijuana Laws

Published On: February 22nd, 2017

marijuana drugsA bill introduced in the US House of Representatives seeks to amend the Controlled Substances Act by deferring enforcement to the States and their respective marijuana laws. Authored by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, of California, the bill called the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017” has the support of 12 other representatives.

The proposed change in federal law would resolve the ongoing conflict between State and Federal marijuana laws. Despite being legalized in numerous states, the plant remains illegal and classified as a “Schedule I” controlled substance under federal law. Along with marijuana, the federal government includes LSD, heroin, morphine, and numerous other controlled substances under the Schedule I classification.

The Supremacy Clause authorizes the federal government to prosecute someone for violating federal marijuana laws, even though they are acting within the bounds of the respective State law. This bill would change that by amending the federal drug laws so as not to apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws “relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana (the government’s term for weed).”

Read H.R. 975 in its entirety here.

Read more about MN controlled substance laws and defending against those laws here.

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Coley Grostyan is a criminal lawyer defending those accused of marijuana offenses throughout the State of Minnesota.

Proposed Change to Federal Marijuana Laws
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MN Bill Would Prohibit Phone Calls While Driving

Published On: February 9th, 2017

A bill that would make it a crime to make phone calls while driving, and otherwise use wireless devices while driving, unless in hands free mode is moving forward in the legislature and is expected to pass as a law.

Currently, Minnesota law prohibits composing, reading, or sending electronic messages, when the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic. The making a phone call or talking on the phone while driving is not currently against the law except for newly licensed drivers.

The new law would make it a misdemeanor crime to use any wireless device while driving or in traffic, unless the device is being used in hands free mode. The proposed language of the law reads as follows:

No person may operate a motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device when the vehicle is in motion or a part of traffic. For the purposes of this section, “using a wireless communications device” includes: (1) composing, reading, or sending an electronic (2) dialing, answering, or talking on a cellular phone; and (3) otherwise making a cellular phone call.

Permissible exceptions to the use of wireless devices would still include the use (1) solely in a voice-activated or other hands-free mode, (2) for obtaining emergency assistance to report a traffic accident, medical emergency, or serious traffic hazard, or prevent a crime about to be committed, (3) in the reasonable belief that a person’s life or safety is in immediate danger, or (5) in an authorized emergency vehicle while in the performance of official duties.

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Coley Grostyan is a Minnesota criminal defense attorney who regularly represents clients accused of traffic violations.

Law Office of Coley J. Grostyan, PLLC
701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415
MN Bill Would Prohibit Phone Calls While Driving
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Nervous behavior alone is not enough for pat-down search

Published On: February 1st, 2017

The MN Court of Appeals reversed a Felony 5th Degree Drug conviction where the officer discovered drugs after searching the defendant. The officer’s basis for the pat-search was largely based on the defendant acting nervous and placing his hands in his pockets. The Court held that the officer did not have “reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity,” the legal requirement needed before an officer can conduct a protective pat-down search for weapons.

Although I often see police reports describing nervous and fidgety behavior as a basis some suspected criminal wrongdoing, most people are rightfully nervous when confronted by law enforcement. Regardless of guilt, being questioned or stopped by law enforcement can be stressful, and the level of nervousness varies greatly from person to person. From legitimate anxiety issues to lacking experience with the law, there is no right or innocent body language or behavior given the stress of such an encounter. For these reasons, MN courts are reluctant to find that nervous behavior meets the legal standard of “reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity.”

Read the full court decision here.

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Coley Grostyan is a Minneapolis based drug defense attorney.

Law Office of Coley J. Grostyan, PLLC
701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Nervous behavior alone is not enough for pat-down search
5 (100%) 1 vote