Felony Fleeing Police Officer in A Motor Vehicle and 3rd Degree DUI in Anoka County (Coon Rapids)
Charge: Felony Fleeing in a Motor Vehicle 609.487, 3rd Degree Gross Misdemeanor DUI 169A.20.1
In March of 2016 my client was charged with Felony Fleeing Police in a Motor Vehicle, Gross Misdemeanor DUI and Fleeing Police on Foot. My client was driving under the influence of alcohol and failed to stop for police.
Client was approached by police after allegedly failing to signal and stop sign violation. Client allegedly failed to stop when the officer put on emergency lights and siren and evaded police by driving extremely fast, evading stop sticks, driving on property. When cornered in a cul-de-sac Client allegedly ran on foot until apprehended. Officers obtained a search warrant and collected a sample of Client’s blood. Client complied with a portable breath test and tested a .252. The blood test result was over .16. Client was charged with Felony Fleeing a Police Officer in a Motor Vehicle punishable by a maximum of 3 years in jail and/or a $5,000.00 fine. Client was additionally charged with 3rd Degree Gross Misdemeanor DUI punishable by 1 year in jail and/or a $3,000.00 fine and Fleeing Police punishable by 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine. Client had a prior driving under the influence offense within ten years of this incident.
After careful review of the police reports and video evidence it was determined that Client did not have a defense for the actions. Client was adamant about “making things right” and wanted to prove this was out of character conduct and was determined to not let this incident define Client’s life. Client immediately stopped drinking and had an alcohol assessment done. This assessment recommended he complete an alcohol education class and continue with his sobriety. If unable to remain sober he would be recommended to complete a treatment program.
When faced with a situation where no defense exists it becomes necessary to find an avenue that can gain an inroad for mitigation. Client did not have any prior felony offenses and was proactive with regards to addressing the alcohol issue. It is imperative to diligently search for positives in an effort to get the case dismissed, reduce the charge or develop a strategy that allows for a resolution that provides a second chance.
Client’s proactive nature (chemical dependency evaluation) and remorse for conduct was disclose to the prosecutor. The evaluation was important to show that Client was taking this situation very seriously. The sobriety and remorse did not excuse or provide a defense for the charges but it did show good faith to the prosecutor and the court that this was out of character and it provided me with an argument to request leniency at sentencing.
After months of diligent Client communication I approached the prosecutor in the effort of resolving the case and providing my Client a chance to prove this conduct was out of character. The prosecutor was amenable due to the commitment to sobriety, but the facts were too egregious to reduce the charges. I advised Client that the proposed resolution would be to a plea to Felony Flee in a Motor Vehicle and Gross Misdemeanor DUI with a jail cap of 30 days and a stay of imposition of sentence. This means after the period of probation the felony conviction would be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Client understood this was an excellent result since there was the opportunity to have the felony conviction reduced but also understood this would most likely affect his employment. Client also was advised and understood that I had maintained the right to argue for a gross misdemeanor disposition at the time of sentencing as part of our plea agreement. I explained that this was very unlikely due to the facts of the case but would make every effort to zealously argue the point. Client entered into a plea to Felony Flee in a Motor Vehicle and Gross Misdemeanor DUI and awaited sentencing.
At sentencing I was able to persuade the judge to impose a downward durational departure. I based my argument on my client’s sobriety, proactive nature, commitment to show this was isolated conduct, remorse for the conduct and employment. The court wavered back and forth but eventually imposed the gross misdemeanor sentence based on defense arguments.
This resolution was critical because if convicted Client would have had a felony record and had many of her personal freedoms (right to Vote, housing, firearms, etc.) taken away. By the sentencing Client was granted a second chance and did not lose extremely important employment.
By being proactive and seeking professional counseling assistance outlined to the prosecutor, probation and the court that this individual was worthy of a second chance and requesting as part of the plea to argue for a gross misdemeanor disposition was critical. This was an incredible result. Client had consequences for the actions but the Felony Fleeing a Police Officer in a Motor Vehicle was reduced to a gross misdemeanor by a downward durational departure.
My client was relieved, ecstatic and extremely appreciative of the second chance. The resolution (s) allowed employment to be maintained and no felony conviction. It is critical to get to know your client’s background and personal issues in order to resolve the case in a successful manner especially when no defenses are present. The prosecution and court are oftentimes willing to be creative when a client shows good faith and has taken proactive steps to show that they have attempted to remedy their problem(s).
Most clients don’t realize how important it is to have a clean criminal record and particularly no felony convictions on their record. Employment, housing, voting, loans, possession of firearms, immigration, etc. are all areas that can be restricted or prohibited if a felony conviction is placed on your record. It is imperative to contact an attorney immediately upon getting charged with any criminal offense, and specifically a felony offense, to determine whether it is possible to effectively resolve or dismiss the case in an attempt to keep a criminal conviction off of your record.