Misdemeanor DUI Case Study
Charge: 4th Degree DUI over .08
In February, 2014 my client was charged with a 4th Degree Misdemeanor DUI in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. He served one day in jail at the time of his arrest and was released without bail or bond. He had no prior offenses for drinking and driving but a couple of minor moving violations and other violations.
Client was approached by police when he drove off the road and became stuck in a snowbank. To make matters worse he was currently working in a delivery capacity and he had drunk while on his job causing him to be terminated. He also had a large knife on his person. He tested over .08 with an actual reading of .11. The maximum penalty is 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. It is an enhanceable offense.
After reviewing all of the reports it was determined that his only potential defense was the reason for the stop and that was weak at best since the officer’s had responded to him being stuck in a snowbank. My client concluded that it was not in his best interests to challenge the implied consent revocation of his license. My client and I discussed his license ramifications. We also discussed possible defenses and determined that we needed to resolve the case and 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 and to avoid a pre-sentence investigation.
Based on my negotiations and my client’s proactive approach I was able to resolve the case with no jail. He received stayed jail time that would never be served unless he violated the sentence. Since he had taken the alcohol issues seriously he was not ordered to do any additional alcohol education, treatment, aftercare or be randomly tested for drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, he was allowed to be on unsupervised probation which is very rare. This saved him from paying the probation supervision fee and reduced the contact he had with probation and the court as long as he did not violate and get a new offense. I was able to negotiate a resolution to reduce the case to a careless driving but my client decided to plea to the 4th Degree DUI to avoid additional consequences imposed if the case was reduced to careless driving.
Impact (No Jail, Unsupervised Probation, No Community Service)
My client was very pleased with the resolution and very motivated to get the case behind him. This result was extremely positive since most cases with these facts result in community service, jail time, supervised probation and additional alcohol treatment or education classes. There is nearly always a way to present the case in a manner that allows your client to manage the consequences of the incident in a favorable manner. Many times I am able to offer my client more than one option to resolve the case and it is imperative to talk through the options until my client can make a thoughtful informed decision.