Gross Misdemeanor DUI Case Study - Anoka
Charge: 2rd Degree DUI
In 2014 my client was charged with a Gross Misdemeanor 2nd Degree DUI, Refusal to Test, 3rd Degree DUI and Driving after Cancellation in Anoka. He served three days in jail at the time of his arrest and posted $12,000.00 bail to be conditionally released.
Client was involved in a motorcycle accident where he was thrown from the vehicle. A witness stopped and was providing aid when the police arrived to see about the well fare of my client. He was driving with a cancelled license from previous alcohol incidents. He had prior 4th Degree DUI, 3rd Degree DUI and prior driving after revocation offenses. He failed a portable breath test with a reading of .274. He admitted to drinking and was unable to perform any field sobriety test. He had four prior DUI offenses and two prior DUI offenses within ten years.
Since he was driving and was involved in an accident that was witnessed by other parties the police had a reasonable suspicion to approach him and see if he needed medical attentions. Once they observed and spoke with him it was apparent that he had consumed alcohol and he admitted that he had drank. He blew over .08 on her preliminary breath test (PBT) and was in no condition to perform field sobriety tests. He was placed under arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence. He was read the Minnesota Implied Consent advisory and ultimately refused to take a breath test. After careful review of the police report it was apparent that he did not possess a defense to either challenge his license revocation or the criminal charges.
I directed my client to get an alcohol assessment and start following the recommendations in an effort to proactively show how serious he was taking the case. Fortunately, he followed my advice and started a treatment program and sobriety.
Anoka County is a rigid county with regards to sentencing. The maximum penalty for my client was a year in jail and/or a $3000 fine. The mandatory minimum sentence was 90 days in jail. It is important to get to know your client and their situation in an effort to satisfy their needs. I uncovered that my client had been grieving and had not addressed the underlying reason for his drinking.
Once that was addressed it became easier for him to cope and understand his alcohol issue. I was also able to impress upon the court that he had changed his life around by the time we appeared in court and had a daughter to care for since his wife was deceased. Being creative allowed me to resolve his case with a staggered sentence in which he served 17 days of work release and a $500.00 fine and was furloughed for any treatments programs. As long as he continues with his sobriety all other jail consequences will be excused. Should he fail, however, then there will be additional consequences.
This was a fantastic resolution since the legislature mandates ninety days in jail and a $900 fine for his offense. I was able to convince the judge to depart based on what he had accomplished with regards to his alcohol counseling, his remorse and his child responsibilities. It was creative to have a staggered sentence since that allows my client to earn his positive result and benefit from his continued sobriety and good behavior by addressing his addiction he was able to achieve his ultimate goal of being able to care for his daughter. It is extremely satisfying to be able to craft a resolution that affords your client the ability to maintain their lifestyle and day-to-day responsibilities while at the same time be able to prove to the court that their life is back on track.