A Richfield man is reportedly being held in the Hennepin County jail on a Felony DWI charge after a traffic stop on Sunday. A Bloomington police officer says he watched a blue Ford pickup truck drive through a parking lot. The officer suggests the pickup cut off another driver. The officer ran the license plate on the pickup and says the registered owner had an expired driver’s license. The officer says the man driving the vehicle matched the description of the registered owner.
Police conducted a traffic stop. The driver reportedly told the officer that the truck was not his, but belonged to his boss. The officer claims he noticed typical signs of impairment during the traffic stop and asked the driver to perform field sobriety tests. Among the field tests, the driver submitted to a PBT breath test that the officer says registered 0.17 percent. The man was taken into custody on suspicion of drunk driving.
Police claim an Intoxilyzer test at the police station showed a 0.21 percent blood alcohol concentration. The legal limit in Minnesota for drivers is 0.08 percent BAC. However, prosecutors can seek enhanced charges when a person’s BAC registers greater than 0.20 percent. The threshold for civil penalties is somewhat lower. A BAC reading of .16 or greater generally leads to a longer period of revocation after a DWI arrest.
The legal difficulties for the Richfield man, however, grew harsher when law enforcement looked into the man’s record. Police claim the man was convicted of a DWI eight years ago. Prior convictions for DWI can lead to aggravated DWI charges. Minnesota law looks back 10-years for the purposes of DWI enhancements.
Police claim the man has 11 total prior DWI convictions, but not all fall within the 10-year look-back period. However, prosecutors have charged the Richfield man with felony DWI based upon the man’s prior record.
Minnesota DWI laws are complex and prosecutors can seek a felony DWI charge in a number of ways. Three prior DWI convictions within the previous ten years is just one set of circumstances that may lead to felony charges. A single prior felony DWI in the 10-year period is also a basis for a current felony charge under Minnesota law. Prior implied consent license revocations can also be used to enhance DWI charges. The higher level charges also bring other consequences, including longer license revocation periods, and potential vehicle forfeiture.
People facing any level of DWI allegations should consider speaking with an experienced DWI defense attorney as soon as possible after the arrest for an assessment and to learn what defense options may be available in an individual situation.
Source: My Fox 9, “Richfield Man Arrested on Suspicion of 12th DWI in Bloomington,” Bill Keller, Oct. 26, 2011