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Other felony DWIs count here

Published (3/4/2010)
By Mike Cook
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Someone who gets their first DWI in Minnesota could have a similar infraction in another state count against them here.

Sponsored by Rep. Paul Rosenthal (DFL-Edina), HF2978 would amend Minnesota’s first-degree DWI crime to include felony DWI convictions in another state.

Approved March 2 by the House Public Safety Policy and Oversight Committee, the bill was sent to the House Finance Committee with a recommended re-referral to the House Public Safety Finance Division. It has no Senate companion.

Currently, a person is guilty of a first-degree DWI if they commit the violation within 10 years of the first of three or more DWI violations; they have previously been convicted of felony DWI; or they have been convicted of felony criminal vehicular operation.

Under current law, only second DWIs and beyond are considered felonies in Minnesota; however, for them to count, the offenses had to occur in this state, said Steve Simon, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. Prosecutors want to be able to charge a first-time offender in Minnesota with a felony if, for example, they have multiple felony DWIs in Wisconsin.

“The limitation of the law is that other state laws have to be in conformity with ours,” Simon said. “That’s a protection so that somebody is not swept in for something that wouldn’t basically be a felony in Minnesota. … It’s only a small number of people, but it’s a justice type of issue.”

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