Criminal Vehicular Homicide in Minnesota

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In October of 2016, a motor vehicle operator drifted into the opposing lane of traffic of County Road 3 near Kilkenny, Minnesota and was involved in a head-on crash with a motorcyclist. The police report written at the scene reported that the motor vehicle operator had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.17. In August of 2017, the motorist pled guilty to felony criminal vehicular homicide. The motor vehicle operator was ordered to serve 113 months in jail. Additionally, the motorist was sentenced to several thousand hours of community service, which will include speaking to groups about the dangers of drunk driving. The motorist was also required to pay $28,000 in restitution to the deceased man’s family and must spend 10 years on probation without any alcohol or drug use.

The Law in Minnesota About Criminal Vehicular Homicide

In the state of Minnesota, a person can be convicted of criminal vehicular homicide if, while operating a vehicle, that person causes the death of another person under one of several circumstances:

  • The motorist drives in a negligent manner while under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.
  • The motorist leaves the scene of the accident.
  • The motorist operates the vehicle in a grossly negligent manner.
  • The motorist operates the vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .08 or greater, which is the law under which the motorist in this story was charged.
  • The motorist was previously issued a notice that the vehicle was not properly maintained, was aware that the recommended repairs were not made and presented a risk to others, and the vehicle’s defect resulted in a death of a person. 

The Penalties Under Minnesota Criminal Vehicular Homicide

There are various penalties that a person can face if someone dies or was injured due to his or her negligent behavior. These penalties include the following:

  • If a person was injured, the motorist can face a maximum prison sentence of one year and a maximum fine of $3,000.
  • If a person received substantial bodily harm, the motorist can face a maximum prison sentence of three years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
  • If a person suffered great bodily harm, the motorist can face a maximum prison sentence of five years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
  • If a person was killed, the motorist can face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum fine of $20,000.
  • Civil liability 

It is in your best interest to immediately contact experienced legal counsel if you or someone you know was involved in a similar situation. Contact Tatum O’Brien online at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss or by calling 701-235-8000 (or toll free at 877-235-8002) as soon as possible.

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