A Scott County man entered a plea agreement to resolve gross misdemeanor drunk driving charges under a circumstances that may allow the charges to be deemed a misdemeanor offense if he completes all of the terms and conditions of his probation. The man is a former Belle Plaine police officer. He was arrested on suspicion of driving while impaired and other charges last November.
The November arrest was not the first for the former officer. Authorities say that he was convicted of DWI in 2003, or roughly nine years before the most recent DWI allegations. Minnesota law generally has a 10-year look-back period on DWI and other qualified prior impaired driving incidents that may be used to increase a new charge to a higher level of DWI offense.
The man was facing two counts of third-degree drunk driving. Authorities claim that he was clocked driving 96 miles per hour on Highway 169 before a Minnesota state trooper conducted a traffic stop. During that encounter, one thing led to another and the former police officer was charged with DWI, with allegations that his alcohol level measure 0.17 percent on the night of the arrest.
The man reportedly entered a guilty plea to resolve the case–pleading guilty to one count of third-degree DWI. A second count of DWI and the speeding charge were dropped. A third-degree offense is a gross misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of up to a year in jail.
The man was placed on probation for two years. But, the judge granted a stay of imposition of sentence, which essentially freezes the case at a specific point in the criminal process. Under the stay of imposition, if he successfully completes community service and satisfies other terms of his probation, the conviction will be deemed a misdemeanor level offense on his criminal record.
Source: CBS Minnesota, “Off-Duty Belle Plaine Cop Sentenced For DWI,” July 24, 2013