Criminal Vehicular Operation

Criminal Vehicular Operation in Minnesota is a crime requiring both bodily harm and either gross negligence, impairment, hit and run, or failure to repair.  There is no crime unless evidence proves causation, or a causal connection between the bodily harm and the intentional criminal act.  If the level of bodily harm is death, the crime is called Criminal Vehicular Homicide.

Most Criminal Vehicular Operation (CVO) charges relate to a DUI claim plus allegations of bodily harm caused by the driver.  As a result, the defense of CVO cases is similar to the defense of DUI cases, but with the additional potential defense that the accused driver did not cause injury to another.  Many cases have been charged as CVO or Criminal Vehicular Homicide (CVH) cases where the bodily harm or death was not in fact caused by the accused.

roll-over-sm+CMPRSDCausation Defense
For example, if a driver was impaired by alcohol driving through a green light at an intersection collides with a sober driver driving through a red light, any accident injuries were not caused by the impaired driver.  They were caused by the sober driver who ran the red light.  We defended a case where the driver had been drinking, and had to execute a sudden, emergency stop in a curve while already slowing for an intersection, when sober driver crossed the center-line and was driving in our client’s lane after turning onto that road.  (The oncoming, wrong-way driver had turned wide.)  This caused our client’s car to weight its front right corner, skid, and rollover.  A passenger in client’s car was hurt, but the injuries were not caused by our client but rather by the wrong-way driver who caused the crash.

Level of Bodily Harm
The severity of the criminal charge is based upon the level of bodily harm the prosecutor claims was caused by the accused.  In cases where death, death or injury to an unborn child, “great bodily harm,” or “substantial bodily harm” are claimed, the charge is a felony.  In cases alleging “bodily harm,” the criminal charge is a Gross Misdemeanor.

Questions? You can call Minneapolis DWI Lawyer Thomas Gallagher at
(612) 333-1500.