Last October we discussed the story of a Minnesota State Patrol trooper who was arrested on suspicion of driving while impaired after the man showed up at a training session in Duluth apparently under the influence. The former state trooper reportedly entered into a plea agreement to resolve the DWI charges.
The man reportedly agreed to plead guilty to a careless driving charge in exchange for dismissal of the DWI charges. The judge placed the man on probation for 14 months. Terms of the probation generally include many conditions that may be involved in a DWI sentence. However, the man will not have a DWI conviction on his record under the resolution of the case. Some call the plea agreement a “wet-careless” plea agreement.
The prosecutor says that the man had a low alcohol test level and no prior history of similar conduct. The records indicate that prosecutors alleged that his breath test showed a 0.08 percent alcohol concentration—right at the legal limit to drive in Minnesota.
The legal process when charges are filed can have many components. A criminal defense lawyer will generally review the issues with a person accused of a crime in preparing a defense. There may be issues in individual cases that result in challenges to the state’s evidence or procedures used. Those issues are important constitutional protections that serve to maintain the integrity of our constitutional system of government.
A person suspected of a crime has the right to a trial, in which the state has the burden of proof. However, some cases are resolved without trial through a plea agreement between the defense and prosecution. A plea deal may minimize the damages of a criminal charge in appropriate cases.
Source: Lake County News-Chronicle, “Trooper from Two Harbors avoids DWI but loses job,” Mark Stodghill, June 20, 2013