You accept a certain amount of responsibility every time you get behind the wheel, and you can be criminally charged if you recklessly ignore this responsibility. In Minnesota, if you cause harm to another person because of reckless disregard for their safety, you can be charged with what’s known as Criminal Vehicular Operation. Below, we take a closer look at this crime and the penalties if you’re convicted.
Types of Criminal Vehicular Operation in Minnesota
There are six forms of criminal vehicular operation on the books in Minnesota. The majority of them are felony-level offenses. You can face criminal vehicular operation charges for your role in an accident involving:
- Criminal vehicular homicide
- Great bodily harm
- Substantial bodily harm
- Bodily harm
- Death to an unborn child
- Injury to an unborn child
In order to face these charges, you need to exhibit blatant disregard for another person’s safety. For example, driving under the influence is probably the most common type of action that could lead to criminal vehicular operation charges for an accident involving the above factors, but it’s not the only way. You can also face CVO charges if you are found to:
- Be driving in a grossly negligent manner.
- Flee the scene of an accident.
- Be operating a vehicle with a known defect, knowingly decide not to mitigate the risk caused by the defect, and causing an accident that resulted from the risk this created (For example, if you know the brake lights on your trailer aren’t working but you don’t fix them and another car strikes your trailer because they couldn’t see it, you could face criminal vehicular operation charges depending on the severity of the accident).
Criminal Vehicular Operation Penalties In Minnesota
Under the current sentencing guidelines, criminal vehicular homicide is considered a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. For CVO with great bodily harm, you’ll face felony charges that carry a sentence of up to five years in jail and fines up to $10,000. Substantial bodily harm is a felony punishable by up to three years in jail and fines up to $10,000. Death to an unborn child by CVO is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $20,000, while injury to the unborn child carries the same monetary penalties up a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
The only CVO charge that is not a felony is causing bodily harm, and that constitutes a gross misdemeanor charge which carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and fines up to $3,000.
If you or someone you know has been charged with criminal vehicular operation, you need to speak with a defense lawyer. As you can see, the penalties for the crime are severe, and you need to do everything you can to defend yourself in court. For more information or for assistance with your case, reach out to the team at Appelman Law Firm today.