Driving is a responsibility, and violations of that responsibility are handled seriously. When irresponsible driving conduct leads to serious injury, you can be charged with criminal vehicular operation. If you are facing charges of criminal vehicular operation in Minnesota, you need an experienced attorney to help build your defense.
Understanding Criminal Vehicular Operation Charges
In the state of Minnesota, you can be charged with criminal vehicular operation if your negligent driving causes bodily injury to another individual. Not all negligent driving qualifies as criminal vehicular operation. Minnesota law requires at least one heightened negligent behavior to be present in order for these charges to be issued. Heightened negligence can include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or a controlled substance;
- Leaving the scene of an accident;
- Failing to notify the policy about an accident; or
- Knowingly operating a defective vehicle.
Criminal vehicular operation is a serious crime that is charged either as a felony or a gross misdemeanor. The exact charges you face will depend primarily on the severity of the injury caused by negligent criminal driving.
When an accident causes great or substantial bodily harm, you will typically be charged with felony criminal vehicular operation. Great bodily harmrefers to disfigurement, the loss or impairment of a body part, or an injury that puts an individual at a high risk of death. In cases where great bodily harm occurs, a conviction can result in up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Substantial bodily harmoccurs when the accident results in a fracture or any temporary loss or impairment. A conviction of criminal vehicular operation in cases of substantial bodily harm can lead to three years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Criminal vehicular operation is typically charged as a gross misdemeanor if the level of injury is less severe. The maximum sentence for a gross misdemeanor conviction is a year in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000. This is still a very serious crime that can have a lasting impact on your life.
Criminal Vehicular Operation Defense Lawyer
Criminal vehicular operation is a serious charge with harsh consequences. Rather than facing the charges alone, you need a qualified defense lawyer on your side. Your lawyer can build the case that will help get your charges reduced – or even dropped. With the right defense team on your side, you can often avoid a conviction, or face a lighter sentence. If you don’t seek the help of a lawyer, you may find yourself sentenced to the maximum fines and jail time. Additionally, you may be subject to a civil lawsuit that will require you to pay restitution to the victim, or the victim’s family.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you are charged with criminal vehicular operation, you need the best attorneys on your side. At Brown Law Offices, P.A., we have the experience and knowledge to handle your case and get a great result. We have helped many clients overcome serious criminal charges involving a motor vehicle. Don’t let a conviction have a negative impact on the rest of your life. Call us today at 763-323-6555, or complete our online form for a free consultation.