Qualified prior impaired driving incidents are basically comprised of prior impaired driving losses and prior impaired driving convictions. The loss of operating privileges in other types of driving-related incidents that have transpired in the last ten years, as well as the loss of a license stemming from implied consent revocation are considered as prior impaired driving losses. Prior impaired driving incidents can take the form of alcohol-related license cancellations, revocations, and disqualifications – even if no criminal conviction related to the license loss existed.
According to the law, a qualified prior impaired driving incident includes the operating of a motor vehicle while impaired, operating a motorboat while impaired as well as operating an all-terrain vehicle, off-road recreational vehicle, snowmobile, Head Star bus, commercial motor vehicle, or aircraft while impaired. A qualified prior impaired driving incident also includes all criminal vehicular operations that are related to controlled substances or alcohol, regardless of whether the convictions occurred in Minnesota or any other state.
A qualified prior impaired driving incident within the last ten years is considered as one of the aggravating factors under Minnesota DWI laws, which means that its existence can make a current offense more severe and can possibly result in harsher penalties. “Enhancing” a conviction occurs when an individual is charged with a more serious offense due to a prior offense. Former implied consent revocations might also be treated as a previous conviction, which means that a present charge can be enhanced if you were previously arrested for a DWI that was lessened to a charge with a revocation resulting from implied consent.
For example, if were previously arrested for DWI and it was reduced to a careless driving charge but your license was still revoked, then you will be treated as if the prior incident was actually a DWI.
You may also be charged with a felony DWI if any one of the following factors exist: You have already been convicted of a Minnesota felony DWI in the past, you have a prior felony vehicular homicide or criminal vehicular operation conviction, or if you have three prior qualified prior impaired driving incidents in the last ten years.
The good news is that it is very possible to keep a qualified prior impaired driving incident from being used against you in your current case if your attorney is able to prove that the previous conviction or revocation was not constitutionally received. This means that the state must first be able to present a valid waiver to use your previous conviction in the case. However, this waiver of right to counsel cannot be easily produced if the defendant had counsel present during the previous offense. If this right to counsel was waived at the time the previous offense occurred, then the prosecution may not be able to find the valid waiver.
Why is it important to discuss your case with a Minnesota DWI Attorney?
When it comes to successfully reducing the impact of a prior conviction on a current Minnesota DUI charge, a skilled and experienced attorney should be able to employ strategies such as initiating a collateral attack on the previous conviction or revocation. In such situations, penalties and charges may be reduced, or dismissed. If certain factors are present, there may even be an acquittal.