A deputy from Wright County is accused of driving while impaired and one count of gross-misdemeanor criminal vehicular operation after he was involved in a car accident in Monticello, Minnesota, on August 5. The Minnesota Highway Patrol claims that the deputy was off-duty when he rear-ended another car. Law enforcement says that a person in the other car suffered a small cut to his ear in the crash. Troopers think that the off-duty deputy was impaired at the evening of the accident.
Typically, gross misdemeanor or felony drunk driving charges refer to allegations where a driver is charged with driving while impaired with prior DWI convictions or impaired driving losses of driving privileges on his or her record (the statute describes several variations that may support a first-degree DWI offense). When a person is accused of an alcohol-related accident involving injury to another, prosecutors may choose to pursue criminal vehicular operation charges, which is separate from the DWI statutes.
Notably, a person can face CVO charges in Minnesota with an alcohol reading that registers below 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration if law enforcement alleges that the driver also was driving negligently.
But, the law allows prosecutors to seek CVO charges without the additional showing of negligence based upon an alleged blood, breath or urine test showing an alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more (different provisions also cover drugged driving accidents).
CVO charges are a serious matter. The potential penalties can range from a maximum sentence of up to a year behind bars to up to a decade in prison if the alleged drunk driving accident caused the death of a person. With the stakes high, seeking the advice and assistance of legal counsel as soon as possible can help a person to protect his or her rights.
Source: KSTP, “Wright County Sheriff’s Deputy Charged with DWI,” Leslie Dyste, Aug. 8, 2013