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2023 Minnesota Criminal Law Updates 

Minnesota has enacted several new statutes that will affect the rights of citizens throughout the entire state.  I posted a blog earlier this summer about the earth-shifting changes to marijuana laws in Minnesota, and now those laws are taking effect.  However, there are additional changes that will affect the citizens of Minnesota in many ways.  Below I have listed some of the most substantial changes that need to be monitored and understood when defending against criminal charges in Minnesota.


Marijuana Legalization Review for Minnesota


Minnesota has legalized the recreational possession and use of marijuana, which would allow a person in Minnesota to: possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis flower in a public place or 2 pounds in a person's residence; possess or transport no more than 8 grams of adult-use cannabis concentrate; possess or transport edible products infused with up to 800 milligrams of THC; give away cannabis flower and cannabinoid products in an amount that is legal for a person to possess in public; use cannabis flower and cannabinoid products in private areas; and cultivate up to eight cannabis plants, of which four or fewer may be mature, flowering plants.  The Minnesota marijuana legislation is set to automatically expunge low-level (presumably misdemeanor / gross misdemeanor) marijuana convictions.  Also, the legislation sets up an expungement board to consider felony offenses.  It is unclear if this board will need an expungement petition filed through a Minnesota District Court to begin the process, but presumably there will be a process for filing for expungement through this board.  This legislation does not apply to any other controlled substance.  Anyone convicted previously with this type of offense may seek an expungement and should get the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle this.  


No-Knock Search Warrants will be significantly restricted in Minnesota.


Minnesota has passed a new law that will significantly curtails when a judge can issue a no-knock search warrant.  The law will allow no-knock warrants only when the search cannot be executed while the premises is unoccupied and “the occupant or occupants of the dwelling will present an immediate threat of death or injury to the officers executing the warrant if the officers announce their presence or purpose prior to entering the dwelling.”  Prior to this new law, a judge could approve no-knock warrants under certain conditions, such as when the police can demonstrate they are unable to detain a suspect or collect evidence through a knock-and-announce warrant. 


Changes in Minnesota Gun Laws


Minnesota will now prohibit private transfers of pistols and semiautomatic military-style assault weapons without a firearms eligibility background check of the person receiving the firearm.  This new law will require law enforcement officers to deny an application for a transferee permit or report of transfer if there exists a substantial likelihood that the proposed transferee is a danger to self or the public when in possession of a firearm.  Also, a “red flag” law will take effect in 2024 providing family or household members, a chief law enforcement officer, a city or county attorney, or a guardian to petition a court for an “extreme risk protection order,” including on an emergency basis, that will prohibit the respondent from possessing firearms for up to one year.


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