Law enforcement officials can increase the severity of drunk driving charges based on the circumstances behind an arrest. Generally speaking, felony driving under the influence charges will be issued in Minnesota if an alcohol-related car accident causes injuries or death. Being convicted of any type of felony can severely limit professional opportunities, cause a number of privileges to be revoked and usually includes time behind bars.
A 24-year-old woman may be dealing with these consequences after she accepted a plea deal for felony vehicular homicide charges. Police say that the young woman was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
Under the deal, the woman was required to admit that she was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash in question. Reports indicate that the incident took place in October 2013 on a northern Minnesota highway.
The sentence for this particular charge can range from a minimum of 41 months behind bars to 57 months. According to the plea deal, the judge has been asked to issue the 41-month minimum prison sentence. At the same time, it's possible that the woman may seek a more lenient sentence, which could be related to her willingness to cooperate.
When felony charges are on the line, it's especially important to weigh all available legal options. In this case, a plea bargain was offered. Under certain circumstances, agreeing to a deal might be the best way to proceed. Knowing that a plea bargain still causes a conviction to take place, however, a person shouldn’t move forward with a deal without giving it serious thought.
Although a plea might have been the best option in this case, it may be best to challenge charges in other instances. If prosecutors do not have the evidence necessary to convict, working for an acquittal could help minimize the effects of being charged for felony DUI.
Source: Brainerd Dispatch, "Brainerd woman pleads guilty in fatal East Gull Lake collision," Matt Erickson, Jan. 24, 2014