Coon Rapids 2nd Degree Gross Misdemeanor DUI Case Study
Charge: 2nd Degree DUI
In March, 2017 my client was charged with a 2nd Degree Gross Misdemeanor DUI and Over .08 in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. He served four days in jail at the time of his arrest and was released on a $12,000.00 cash bail. He had a prior offense in 2014 for drinking and driving.
Client was approached by police when he struck a parked unoccupied vehicle. Fortunately no one was injured in the accident. He tested over .08 with an actual reading of .20. The maximum penalty for his offense is 1 year in jail and/or a $3000 fine. His vehicle was seized subject to forfeiture.
After reviewing all of the reports it was determined that my client did not possess a defense. When a case involves an accident it gives the police the right to investigate. The police are coming to the scene in their serve capacity and not their protect capacity. This allows the officer to observe without the usual need for a reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle. Once on the scene it was apparent that my client had been drinking (smelled of alcohol, slurred speech, watery eyes, admission of drinking, and poor balance). His portable breath test was .239. He was placed under arrest, read the Motor Vehicle Implied Consent Advisory and administered a DMY Breath Test (DataMaster) which showed a reported alcohol concentration of .20. Additionally, witness accounts alleged my client had attempted to leave the scene of the accident.
A person can be charged more seriously based on enhancement which means multiple offenses within a ten year window. My client had a poor criminal history and driving record. Since he had a prior offence within ten years and tested over .16 he was charged with the aggravating count of 2nd Degree Over .08. This is serious because the mandatory minimum jail sentence for a 2nd Degree offense is 90 days in jail. My client and I discussed these ramifications and determined that we needed to resolve the case and attempt to mitigate the consequences.
I recommended my client get an alcohol assessment and start following the recommendations in an effort to proactively show how serious he was taking the case. He had made the commitment to become sober and had interlock installed in his vehicle.
Based on my negotiations and my client’s proactive approach I was able to resolve the case with a jail cap of 30 days instead of the 90 days mandatory minimum. His jail consequence would have been much higher had he not been proactive based on the high alcohol test, client’s extensive criminal history and the accident. A cap means that the most jail time the judge can sentence the defendant to is the cap number. For instance in this case my client could only be sentenced to 30 days in jail because that was the cap. The maximum penalty for my client was a year in jail and/or a $3000 fine.
Fortunately I was able to resolve his case below the mandatory 90 days of jail time. This was possible because my client had taken his case seriously, had taken the proactive steps of getting on interlock and having an alcohol assessment completed. Since his high alcohol test had enhanced the charges it was possible to sentence the case as if it was a 3rd Degree Offense. His fine was reduced from $900 to $200. He served a total of 16 days with work release. Additionally, he was not ordered to attend treatment, aftercare and AA because he had already committed to sobriety and was on interlock. This saved him thousands of dollars in costs.
Impact (Reduced Jail Consequence and Cost Savings)
My client was very happy with the resolution. He was very motivated to resolve the case and move forward with his life. This result was extremely positive since most cases with these facts result in more jail time. He was able to maintain his employment and work additional hours while on work release. This case is a good example of no matter how bad the facts of the case appear there is nearly always a way to present the case in a manner that allows your client to manage the consequences of the incident and turn the negative situation into a positive outcome.