Felony DWI and Criminal Vehicular Operation / Homicide (CVO/CVH)
Minnesota law provides several different ways to charge a DWI offender with a felony level crime. One category of felony offenses is based on prior DWI history, and the other is based on injuries or death during an alcohol-related traffic accident.
A person with three prior DWI incidents within ten years of the new offense will be charged with a felony First Degree DWI or Test Refusal. If the person is convicted of the felony, any future DWI offense will automatically be charged as a felony, no matter how far into the future. Felony DWI convictions cannot be expunged, which makes it necessary to put up the best possible defense if you are facing these charges. A felony conviction will alter your life permanently when it comes to employment background checks, social stigma, basic rights like voting, and custody battles. Felony convictions will also likely lead to deportation if you do not have full residency or citizenship. Retaining an experienced DWI defense attorney should be the first goal if you are facing felony DWI charges in any county.
All felony matters are handled by the County Attorney’s Office of the county the offense is committed in, and those offices take these matters very seriously. Typically, on a first-time felony First Degree DWI a County Attorney will be seeking at least seven years of probation with more than three years of prison time stayed and at least six months of county jail time. If you have custody points due to prior criminal convictions, it is possible to be sentenced to time in prison for up to seven years for any felony DWI. If you already have a previous felony DWI conviction, prison is mandatory upon conviction. You will need a carefully crafted strategy of defense whether you feel you are guilty or not, and you should discuss your case with an attorney immediately.
The other category of felony drinking and driving offenses are called Criminal Vehicular Operation (CVO) and Criminal Vehicular Homicide (CVH). These are the cases that motivate officers, prosecutors, probation officers, and judges to impose harsh sentences on all DWI offenders. The tragedy of a serious injury or death due to an alcohol-related accident is always in the back of their minds. When one of these cases actually comes before them, the penalties can be severe. Often, the offender has lost a loved one, good friend, or experienced extreme trauma themselves before even going to court. The entire process is a painful one, and our office will be there for you every step of the way.
We have successfully beaten CVO charges and had them reduced to lesser charges. We have also negotiated reasonable outcomes in these types of cases that allowed everyone to move on and deal with the intense emotional reality of the situation. Do not face this type of charge alone. An attorney with the proper experience, knowledge, and dedication can help you get through this. We will be there for you and fight for you when no one else is on your side.