For many traffic offenses, it should be expected for them to translate into misdemeanor level criminal charges with the minimum, but still stiff punishments. However, many who commit a traffic offense think felony charges are reserved for murder or other serious crimes. Yet, any traffic offense can become a felony if serious enough and you face felony-level punishments.
As with a felony charge in any other situation, a felony-level traffic offense can mean serious time behind bars. Furthermore, a felony conviction stays on your record and must be disclosed when applying for everything from a job to housing. It is not something you want to suffer just because of one mistake.
How a Traffic Offense Becomes Elevated to a Felony in Minnesota
A traffic offense becomes elevated to a felony when a driver engages in harmful and/or intentional activities. Furthermore, aggression also plays a role in a charge’s elevation. For example, if you run a red light, you’ll probably get away with just an expensive ticket and no criminal charges. However, if you run a red light to intentionally ram another car, then that malicious behavior will likely be elevated to a felony charge. You recklessly, aggressively, and intentionally sought to harm another driver, and to the courts, that is akin to attempted murder.
However, let’s be honest. There aren’t a lot of drivers maliciously ramming other vehicles out there. Instead, a much more common occurrence where traffic violations become felonies is when a driver gets behind the wheel while intoxicated. If you engage in drug or alcohol use and then drive, if pulled over, you may not face felony charges unless certain circumstances are met. However, this changes if you were to get into an accident because of it. The more seriously another person is injured because of intoxication behind the wheel, the more enhanced the charge will be.
What to Do for a Felony Traffic Offense in MN?
Fighting a felony-level traffic offense is much the same as fighting any other criminal charge that is escalated to a felony. The first and the best thing you can do is find a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer so you can be proactive in your defense. In felony cases, it is not so much gathering evidence that you didn’t commit a felony. Instead, a felony traffic defense is about lessening the charges or even getting them dropped altogether. Perhaps the arresting officer made a mistake in procedure or the breathalyzer was not properly calibrated. If the charges are dropped, it will negate the punishments. However, even if the felony charges cannot be dropped, your lawyer can also work at either limiting the punishments or getting the charge reduced to a non-felony level.
There are many different options you may have available to you for felony-level traffic offenses. However, what options you have available to you depends on the specific aspects of your case. This is why it is crucial that you get a dedicated lawyer who can help you identify and pursue different defensive avenues. A felony on the record for a mistake is a punishment that can last a lifetime. Paying fines and even serving time are punishments enough, but having a felony on your record means that you will likely cut your future opportunities in life in half, so you need to fight against it.
If you have been arrested for a traffic offense or accident that has been elevated to a felony level, contact us today. Whether your action was reckless, aggressive, or even intentional, we can help you. Rogosheske, Rogosheske & Atkins, PLLC is a dedicated criminal defense lawyer that is here to help those who have made mistakes and need legal representation.