Criminal Vehicular Operation and Criminal Vehicular Homicide
Charged with Criminal Vehicular Operation or Homicide?
Every driver's worst nightmare is to injure or kill another person while driving, especially if driving while drunk. Minnesota's DWI/DUI laws allow prosecutors to bring special charges, called criminal vehicular operation and criminal vehicular homicide, against drivers who injure or kill other people. Drunk driving that causes injury or death will inevitably lead to charges for one of these serious offenses.
Criminal Vehicular Operation - Bodily Harm
The lowest level charge the State can bring against a drunk driver who hurts another person is gross misdemeanor criminal vehicular operation - bodily harm. This charge can bring up to one year in county jail and a $3,000 fine, as well as onerous conditions of probation.
Criminal Vehicular Operation - Substantial Bodily Harm
The State can bring serious felony charges against a drunk driver who causes a collision that results in substantial bodily harm. The threshold for a felony charge is low - the State merely needs to show that the injured person suffered "a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ" or a fracture. These felony charges can result in up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine, although Olson Defense has helped many drivers charged with this offense avoid prison.
Criminal Vehicular Operation - Great Bodily Harm
Short of a crash resulting in death, the most serious drunk driving accidents cause great bodily harm. Great bodily harm is any injury that causes permanent disfigurement or loss of bodily function. When a drunk driver causes this kind of injury, he or she can be sentenced to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Criminal Vehicular Operation
The worst case scenario for any driver who makes the mistake of driving under the influence is to kill another person. Minnesota law presumes that any person charged with killing another person during the commission of a DUI/DWI offense will go to prison. Even a driver with no criminal history whatsoever would be presumed to go to prison for four years, and drivers with longer criminal histories can face up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
In addition to the severe criminal penalties, Minnesota drivers can also lose their driving privileges for a substantial period of time if convicted of injuring or killing another person during the commission of a DWI/DUI offense. The minimum period of revocation after conviction for one of these offenses is two years, and drivers with longer histories can lose their driving privileges for ten years or more.
No Minnesota driver should face these charges alone. Olson Defense has helped many drivers charged with injuring or killing another person during a DWI/DUI offense to either beat the charges against them or minimize the consequences of a conviction. If you, a family member, or a friend has been arrested for or charged with Criminal Vehicular Operation or Criminal Vehicular Homicide, please call Olson Defense at 952-835-1088 to discuss how our lawyers can fight your case.