A St. Paul man recently was asked to consider a plea bargain with prosecutors. The man is accused of criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation. The charges arose after the man was allegedly involved in a pedestrian accident outside Harding High School. The defendant apparently was offered a plea deal, which may have reduced his potential exposure to prison time.
Plea agreements are often negotiated to reduce exposure to the harsh consequences that may flow following a conviction. However, not all cases plead–some criminal cases go to trial.
The defendant in the recent Ramsey County case reportedly declined the plea offer. He may face roughly 41 months in prison if convicted of the CVH charge, the more serious of the charges he faces. The plea deal involved a recommended prison sentence of 29 months. However, prosecutors reportedly say they will be seeking a stiff sentence if the case goes to trial.
One aspect of a criminal vehicular homicide charge is a requirement that the state prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a driver acted with a certain amount of negligence. In one sense, prosecutors may seek to prove that a driver operated a motor vehicle in a negligent manner while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two. There are other variations in alleged DWI cases.
Another provision of the criminal vehicular homicide and injury statute requires prosecutors to prove the defendant drove a motor vehicle in a grossly negligent manner. It is that provision that is reportedly at issue. The defense says that the state cannot prove gross negligence, because it was all a medical emergency. The St. Paul man had a medical issue that caused his arm and leg to go numb, leading to his losing control of the car, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio.
The case reportedly will not go before a jury, but the defendant will have a trial. The St. Paul man waived his right to go before a jury and requested that a judge in Ramsey County hear the facts. A “bench-trial,” one heard by a judge, is scheduled for November 5 in Ramsey County District Court.
- Minneapolis Star Tribune, “St. Paul driver rejects plea deal in teen’s death,” Joy Powell, Oct. 3, 2012
- MPR, “Man charged in fatal car accident declines plea agreement,” Rupa Shenoy, Oct. 3, 2012
- Our firm handles criminal defense for those accused of drunk driving offenses, as well as cases involving criminal vehicular homicide or criminal vehicular operation charges. For more information on the firm, please visit the Minneapolis felony DWI page.