Three Criminal Law Changes Coming in 2014

New LawsBeginning January 1, a batch of new laws will go into effect in Minnesota. You can check out the full list of laws at the Minnesota House of Representatives website, but we want to focus on three laws that will impact criminal law or criminal activity. Below, you can see the three criminal law changes that go into effect next week.

Restricted Access to Juvenile Records

Although there are already some restrictions in place to limit the amount of juvenile information that can be accessed by the public, the new law will impact children charged with a felony. As it currently stands, the public can access felony charges levied against 16- and 17-year-olds even if the felony is later reduced or dismissed. The new law would limit access to that information. The law will not affect public access to hearings, but electronic records will only be available to the courts. That being said, public electronic access will still be available if the felony is particularly heinous.

Criminal History Questions Removed From Applications

Since its inception in 2009, the “Ban the Box” law has removed questions about an applicant’s criminal history when a person fills out the initial job application for a position with a public employer. The employer must wait to inquire about any past criminal history until the first interview.

The law only removed the criminal history section from employers in the public sector, but the private sector is now following suit. Beginning January 1, private employers will no longer be able to inquire about felonies or gross misdemeanors until the initial interview. If the job doesn’t require an interview, the employer cannot ask about an applicant’s criminal history until there is a conditional offer of employment.

Surveying Scrap Yards

Last week, we heard the story of two Minnesota men caught stealing scrap metal from the Ford Plant in Highland Park. If the fugitives want to get their hands on more scrap metal, they may find it difficult to get away with their crime at scrap yards in 2014. According to the new law, scrap vehicle operators must install and maintain video surveillance cameras at their yards beginning January 1.

Digital cameras or other recording devices must also be positioned to clearly capture the face of any seller who enters the premise to sell a scrap vehicle. The scrap vehicle’s license plate must also be photographed. This new measure is designed to curb the number of stolen vehicles that were quickly being sold to yards to be scraped before the authorities could search for the missing vehicle.

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Avery Appelman

Avery Appelman is a criminal defense lawyer and the founder of Appelman Law Firm. While his practice is primarily recognized for its work with DWI and related offenses, he has 16 years of experience working with clients on drug, assault, theft, traffic, criminal sexual conduct, and prostitution charges.

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