New Criminal Laws Taking Effect
As of August 1, 2019, a handful of new criminal laws went into effect in Minnesota. Below is a shortlist to keep you in the loop:
Hands Free: Holding your phone while driving is a crime, unless required for obtaining emergency assistance, if there is a threat to life and safety, or in an authorized emergency vehicle performing official duties. Otherwise, a cell phone can only be used by voice commands or single-touch activation.
DWI: A new DWI law holds that when a person fails a legally applied DWI chemical test, in addition to the revocation of one’s automobile driving privileges, one’s snowmobile, motorboat, and all-terrain vehicle operating privileges are also revoked. Under the new law, regardless of what vehicle was being driven at the time of the DWI, the penalty applies to all.
Sexual Offenses: It is no longer an exception to fifth degree criminal sexual conduct to intentionally touch one’s buttocks over the clothing with sexual or aggressive intent. If an offender commits an offense that requires predatory offender registration in another state, then if they spend more than 30 days per year in Minnesota they must register in Minnesota. Peace officers cannot now have sex with anyone who is physically restrained or otherwise not free to leave, even if consent is given. If a sentencing judge decides to stay adjudication for felony criminal sexual conduct offenders, the judge must provide written justification.
Trains: Metro Transit light-rail train drivers are no longer exempted from reckless and careless driving laws, as they were in the past.