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DWI Injury Collision
Hit and Run
Grossly Negligent Operation
Reckless Driving with Injury
Section 609.2113 of the Minnesota Statutes is one of the most complex and most serious felonies in the Gopher State. This statute covers most impaired driving offenses which cause serious injury or death. So, this part of the law applies to a number of situations and the potential penalties are quite severe.
Serious charges like CVO demand a serious attorney, like Gerald Miller, P.A. We focus on making complex things simple and on reducing or eliminating the catastrophic consequences of a felony conviction. We break things down for clients so they understand exactly what they are facing, and we focus on simple defenses that are easy for jurors to embrace. Furthermore, we work hard to help our clients avoid felony convictions.
DWI Injury Collision Defense
As proficient Minneapolis Criminal Vehicular Operation attorneys, we know that this law splits DWI-related injuries into Bodily Harm, Substantial Bodily Harm, and Great Bodily Harm, and Great Bodily Harm. The more severe the injury, the worse the penalty, as follows:
- BH (any physical injury): one year in jail,
- SBH (substantial but temporary disfigurement, loss of function, or fracture): three years in prison, and
- GBH (permanent injury or an injury that carries a high probability of death): five years in prison.
Generally, an injury requiring first aid is BH, a visit to the ER is SBH, and hospital admission is GBH. Prosecutors must establish the extent of injury, usually with medical records. These same injury categories also apply in other CVO subcategories, such as reckless driving with injury.
The state also has the burden of proof regarding the DWI itself. Prosecutors must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant was driving the vehicle while intoxicated. Both these points are often hard to prove. Frequently, there is no eyewitness testimony or other evidence which conclusively placed the defendant behind the wheel at the time of the crash. Additionally, unless someone administered a chemical test, prosecutors must rely on circumstantial evidence of intoxication.
Hit and Run Defense
Fleeing the scene of an accident, whether or not you were at fault for the crash and whether or not you knew about the crash, can also be a felony. Once again, the penalty depends on the extent of the alleged victim’s injuries.
Gerald Miller, an adept Minneapolis Criminal Vehicular Operation attorney, often resolves these cases before trial. If the defendant immediately surrenders, prosecutors are often willing to drop or at least greatly reduce the charges. Only an experienced lawyer can negotiate a favorable deal like this one.
At trial, the state sometimes has proof issues. Frequently, the state lacks a witness who can place the defendant behind the wheel at or near the time of the crash. Proving something like vehicle ownership is not enough. The state must prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the defendant was driving the car. Furthermore, if the defendant admitted driving to investigators, that statement might be inadmissible.
Grossly Negligent Operation Defense
Any good Minneapolis Criminal Vehicular Operation attorney knows that Minnesota law does not define “grossly negligent.” Typically, this phrase means “extremely careless.” Committing multiple traffic violations at once, like zipping between lanes at a high speed without signaling, is usually gross negligence. Extreme violations, like street racing in a school zone, are usually grossly negligent as well.
Since there is no set definition, judges have a great deal of discretion in this area. And, they normally side with prosecutors in these disputes. In a real sense, “grossly negligent operation” is whatever the state says it is.
The injury portion of this offense is different. As mentioned above, there are set standards for what constitutes bodily harm, substantial bodily harm, and great bodily harm.
Assume Tom hits Frank, and Frank bangs his head on the steering wheel. Frank’s injury is technically bodily harm, but without any medical evidence, prosecutors will be hard-pressed to establish the extent of Frank’s injury beyond a reasonable doubt.
Let’s change the facts a bit. Assume Frank cuts his chin badly and he goes to the emergency room. After a three-hour wait, Frank gets tired of waiting and he goes home. Prosecutors will likely jump on the cut notation in the police report and file SBH charges. But when the case goes to court, there might not be enough medical evidence to support such a charge.
Reckless Driving with Injury Defense
Minnesota law clearly defines this offense, and the definition has a number of moving parts, as follows:
- Prior citation
- Of defective maintenance
- No remedial action
- Driver “had reason to know that the defect created a present danger to others,” and
- The defect caused an injury.
A lack of evidence on any point causes this CVO prosecution to collapse like a house of cards. And, there are lots of opportunities for a Minnesota criminal defense attorney to create doubt.
Assume Sally’s brakes were bad. She hit Jennifer, causing serious injury. If Sally had the brakes checked but did not authorize the repairs, she arguably took some remedial action, even though she did not fix the brakes.
Or, assume Sally’s car had a defective turn signal. That defect could cause a serious injury accident. But most people would not say that a busted turn signal “created a present danger to others.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Largely depending on the extent of injury, the prison term for CVO could be between one and five years. Prosecutors must typically use medical evidence to establish the extent of injury beyond a reasonable doubt.
CVO is an umbrella term for various illegal driving behaviors which cause serious injury. Specific CVO infractions include a DWI injury collision, hit and run, grossly negligent operation (usually due to multiple traffic infractions), and reckless operation (usually due to an unsafe vehicle).
Since CVO is a felony, a conviction could restrict gun ownership rights. Additionally, a CVO arrest or conviction could be sufficient for officials to take action under Minnesota’s red flag law. This law makes it illegal for people to own firearms if they are a danger to themselves or others./p>
All three degrees of CVO are felonies.
DUI, or driving under the influence, does not have an injury element. If the defendant was intoxicated and caused an injury or serious injury crash, prosecutors usually file CVO charges.
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