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How to Get a Criminal Vehicle Operation Charge Dismissed in Minneapolis

A criminal vehicle operation charge is a serious offense under Minneapolis law. These charges are generally raised by the state when a person uses a motor vehicle to cause great bodily harm to someone else. Typically, these are accidents that result from intentional or negligent driving.

If you have been arrested under suspicion of a criminal vehicle operation, now is the time to seek legal counsel. Facing these charges on your own is a mistake that could result in time behind bars. Do not let the state cost you your freedom by taking advantage of your lack of legal counsel.

The attorneys of Gerald Miller are here to advocate on your behalf. We understand what is at stake in a criminal vehicle operation case, and we will work tirelessly to have the charges against you dismissed. Reach out today to learn how we could help.


What is a Criminal Vehicle Operation Charge?

In Minneapolis, criminal vehicular operation covers a broad range of behavior. The wide range of careless acts covered by this offense each carry significant penalties upon conviction.

Criminal vehicular operation is governed by Minneapolis Statute Section 609.2113. In general, this offense applies when a person causes great bodily harm while operating a motor vehicle. There are several specific situations that qualify under this statute, including when a person operates a motor vehicle:

(1) in a grossly negligent manner;

(2) in a negligent manner while under the influence of:

(i) alcohol;

(ii) a controlled substance; or

(iii) any combination of those elements;

(3) while having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more;

(4) while having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, as measured within two hours of the time of driving;

(5) in a negligent manner while under the influence of an intoxicating substance and the person knows or has reason to know that the substance has the capacity to cause impairment;

(6) in a negligent manner while any amount of a controlled substance listed in Schedule I or II, or its metabolite, other than marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol, is present in the person’s body;

(7) where the driver who causes the accident leaves the scene of the accident in violation of section 169.09, subdivision 1 or 6; or

(8) where the driver had actual knowledge that a peace officer had previously issued a citation or warning that the motor vehicle was defectively maintained, the driver had actual knowledge that remedial action was not taken, the driver had reason to know that the defect created a present danger to others, and the injury was caused by the defective maintenance.

The statute also provides exceptions to this statute. Any act of attempted murder or assault using a motor vehicle does not qualify as criminal vehicular operation. That is not because these acts are not a crime. Instead, there are more serious charges that apply in those situations.

Penalties for Criminal Vehicular Operation

The statutory penalties for a conviction for criminal vehicular operation vary depending on the circumstances. In each case, the severity of the injuries caused by a motorist will determine the potential sentence that comes with a conviction. Each case is categorized by whether the defendant caused bodily harm, substantial bodily harm, or great bodily harm.

  • Bodily harm. Any injury, illness, or sensation of physical pain qualifies as bodily harm. A conviction for criminal vehicle operation causing bodily harm could lead to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $3,000.
  • Substantial bodily harm. Substantial bodily harm is a more serious injury that plain bodily harm. These injuries result in severe but short-term physical impairment, disability, or disfigurement. A conviction for substantial bodily harm could lead to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Great bodily harm. The most serious of three, great bodily harm involves permanent health consequence as the result of an act of criminal vehicular operation. Great bodily harm involves permanent disfigurement, permanent bodily impairment, or fatal injuries.

Who can Dismiss These Charges?

The right to dismiss a criminal vehicular operation charge is limited to two important parties: the prosecutor and the judge overseeing the case. Most of the time, it is the prosecutor that will choose to dismiss a case or otherwise not pursue prosecution. Even if the police recommend charges, it is the prosecutor that determines whether or not they are ultimately brought.

The prosecutor is not the only party with the power to dismiss charges, however. A judge not only can dismiss a case against you, but also bar the prosecution from ever bringing the charge again.

Of course, a judge is unlikely to dismiss a criminal charge on their own. While a prosecutor might opt to dismiss or reduce these charges on their own, a judge will typically only consider dismissal following a motion from the defense.


What Can My Attorney Do to Get My Charges Dismissed?

Your defense attorney could play an important part in having your charges dismissed. While it is true that the prosecutor is the party that typically must agree to dismiss your charges, the pressure your attorney applies could make the difference in your case.

Prosecutors don’t like to lose, and most of them will not be interested in bringing a case that is likely to fail. If your attorney can establish that you have a strong defense in your case, the prosecutor could agree to dismiss the charges against you.

A prosecutor will not usually dismiss a case just because an attorney asks them to do so. Instead, it is necessary for a defense attorney to push back against the state by highlighting the strengths of their defense strategy. This could involve pointing to a lack of evidence, or making note of the other aspects of the defense strategy that are likely to result in an acquittal.

Our firm understands what it takes to work with prosecutors and secure a dismissal. While dismissal of all charges against you is never guaranteed, of firm is ready to aggressively advocate on your behalf. Reach out right away to discuss your defense options with the attorneys of Gerald Miller.


What if the Prosecutor Refuses to Drop The Charges?

There are times that—despite the best efforts of your legal counsel—the prosecutor will not agree to dismiss your criminal vehicle operation charges. That does not mean you are out of options. In many cases, you could still fight back against the charges and secure a favorable outcome in your case. Some of these options include:

Negotiating a Plea

Most people facing criminal charges hope to see their case dismissed by the prosecutor. While this outcome is possible, it will not happen for everyone. In many cases, the best-case scenario involves pleading guilty to the charges against you.

Your attorney help you soften the impact of a conviction—or even avoid penalties entirely. A plea bargain could keep you out of jail or even have the charges against you reduced to a lesser offense. For some people, the state might agree to a plea that allows the court to put off accepting the plea. In these cases, if you meet certain conditions the charges against you could eventually be dropped.

Prevailing at Trial

If your attorney’s efforts prior to trial are unsuccessful, you could still secure an acquittal from a jury of your peers. Taking your case to trial might seem overwhelming to some people, but the reality is that trying your case is often your best path forward.

Criminal vehicle operation cases are often defensible. The state has the burden of proof, and they are not always capable of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. With the guidance of a skilled defense attorney, you could highlight the weakness of the state’s case and secure an acquittal during your trial.

Learn how Gerald Miller Could Help in Minneapolis

If you are currently facing charges for criminal vehicle operation, it is vital that you seek out legal counsel that is willing to fight for you. The attorneys of Gerald Miller are proud to advocate for the accused. We look forward to the chance to fight for your rights. If you are ready to discuss your options, reach out to Gerald Miller right away for a free consultation.

Related Content: Can Adjudication Criminal Vehicular Operation Be Expunged in MN?


About the author

Gerald Miller

Gerald Miller is a top-notch and experienced DWI/DUI lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. in Minneapolis, MN. He has more than 35 years of experience in Criminal Defense practice. He has also been a mentor to numerous DUI/DWI defense attorneys.

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