What Happens When You Get Charged with Criminal Vehicular Operation in Minnesota?
The offense known as criminal vehicular in Minnesota operation covers a wide range of behavior. This criminal charge can involve dangerous behavior behind the wheel of a vehicle that leads to another person’s injuries. These allegations should be taken seriously, as the consequences of a conviction are significant.
The good news is that an arrest for criminal vehicular operation is not the same as a conviction. If you fight back against these charges, you could prevent a conviction and avoid the criminal consequences that can come with it.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller understand what is at stake in a criminal vehicular operation case. If you are convicted, your life could be turned upside down. Let our attorneys help you fight for a fair outcome in your case. Reach out today for a free consultation.
The Criminal Process in Minnesota
There is a similar process that every criminal vehicular operation case must take in Minnesota. While these cases can have a wide range of outcomes, you can come to expect this similar process to play out for you in your case. Some of the things to expect in your case include:
- Arraignment. Arraignment is the name of the first court appearance in your case. Once you are arrested for this offense, you will be given an initial court date where you have the chance to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Your attorney could represent you at this hearing.
- Discovery. The discovery process involves receiving evidence from the state that they intend to use against you. It can take time to receive this information, much less go through it all.
- Motions. Motion practice can be important in these cases. If your rights were violated by law enforcement, you could have viable grounds to seek dismissal. Your attorney might also be able to exclude some of the evidence the state plans on using against you.
- Trial. Outside of cases where plea agreements are entered, criminal vehicular operation cases end in a trial. Your attorney could build a strong case at trial. You have the opportunity to testify, but you are not obligated to do so.
Understanding the Nature of Your Offense
There are many different ways you could face a charge of criminal vehicular operation under Minnesota law. This offense is governed by Minnesota Statute 609.2113, and applies to the following circumstances. Some of the situations that can lead to a charge of criminal vehicular operation include:
- Gross negligence in operating a motor vehicle
- Leaving the scene after causing an accident
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Failing to correct a vehicular defect that you were aware of
These acts on their own will not result in a charge of the criminal vehicular operation. Instead, this criminal charge is appropriate when one of these acts results in an accident that causes bodily harm.
Allegations of criminal vehicular operation are serious. It is important for you to develop the strongest defense strategy possible in these cases, as a conviction could result in prison time, fines, and other consequences. The attorneys of Gerald Miller could help you develop a defense while advising you of your best legal options moving forward.
What to Expect if you are Convicted at Trial
If you are convicted at trial, you could face a variety of penalties. The extent of those penalties is directly related to the severity of the injuries resulting from the accident. The more severe the injuries, the steeper the potential criminal penalties.
When it comes to this offense, the law categorizes bodily injuries in three different ways. Each category has its own maximum penalties. These categories include bodily harm, substantial bodily harm, and great bodily harm.
- Bodily harm. Bodily harm involves any physical injury, pain, illness, or other physical impairment. It is the lowest level of bodily injury. A conviction of this offense resulting in bodily harm leads to a jail term of one year and up to $3,000 in fines. It is treated as a misdemeanor under the law.
- Substantial bodily harm. Substantial bodily harm is more severe than bodily harm. This type of harm involves an injury that leads to short-term impairment or the loss of function for a body part. It can also involve short-term disfigurement if that disfigurement is considerable. When a criminal vehicular operation results in substantial bodily harm, it is treated as a felony. A conviction will lead to as much as three years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000.
- Great bodily harm. The highest level of injury is known as great bodily harm. This involves injuries that are likely to be fatal. They can also include physical harm that leads to permanent disfigurement or impairment. A conviction in this situation would lead to five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Can an Attorney Help with my Case?
There are many ways that an attorney could help with your criminal vehicular operation case. The earlier you reach out to legal counsel, the more likely you are to develop a defense strategy that is appropriate in your case. It is possible that your attorney could help you secure a favorable outcome to your case, even when there is evidence of your guilt.
Dismissing the Charges Against You
One of the primary ways an attorney could help with your case is by fighting to have it dismissed. If you have been charged with criminal vehicular operation, it can feel like your conviction is a foregone conclusion. Nothing could be further from the truth. When you fight back, you have the chance to see your charges dismissed entirely.
In some cases, your attorney could develop a defense strong enough to push the state to drop the charges. Prosecutors avoid losing at trial when they can. If your attorney can show that they lack the evidence needed for a conviction, they might agree to dismiss the case against you.
Alternatively, the court could also dismiss your charges against you. A judge will not consider a motion to dismiss on their own, but your attorney could pursue one. If your attorney can show that your rights were violated, it might serve as grounds for dismissal.
Fighting Back at Trial
Taking your case to trial might also be an option worth considering in your case. If you decide to try your luck in court, the guidance of your attorney will be invaluable. Trials are complicated. They are governed by antiquated rules, and the state will have endless resources to use against you. Having an attorney by your side could dramatically improve your chances at trial.
It is important to remember that an acquittal of all charges is a best-case scenario. An acquittal means that you were never convicted of a crime in the first place, and you will not face any of the penalties that can come with a conviction. Our firm could help you build a trial strategy that gives you the best shot at success.
Negotiating a Fair Plea Bargain
The reality is that plea bargains are a common practice in these cases. The state often has enough evidence to obtain a conviction, and your attorney could help you understand when the chances of a conviction are high. In those situations, it might be in your best interest to reach a plea bargain.
Pleading guilty might not be the worst option in some cases. In fact, reasonable terms in a plea agreement could prevent you from facing serious criminal consequences. Your attorney could negotiate a plea that keeps you out of jail or even reduces the severity of the charges you face. It is often possible to secure the dismissal of the charges against you.
Talk to Gerald Miller About Your Criminal Vehicular Operation Case
Many people worry that they have little choice but to plead guilty when charged with criminal vehicular operation. While a plea bargain might make sense in your case, you have options in front of you. Our firm is ready to help you review those options and make the best decision possible for your case. If you are ready to get started with your defense, reach out as soon as possible to the attorneys of Gerald Miller.
Meta description. There are numerous things that happen when you get charged with criminal vehicular operations in Minnesota. Talk to attorney Gerald Miller to learn more.
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