Twincities.com reports that a Minneapolis man was convicted of felony DWI in Beltrami County after being involved in a near-fatal accident with a train. The man's vehicle came to rest on train tracks and apparently was struck by a train while the man was in the vehicle. Deputies found the man lying half outside the badly damaged vehicle.
This was the man's fourth DWI incident in 10 years. The court adjudicated him guilty of felony DWI and sentenced him to serve 180 days in jail, with 36 months of prison time hanging over his head for seven years of probation, and the potential for an additional five years of conditional release if his probation is revoked and he is committed to prison for 36 months. All told, he could serve up to 60 months in prison if he is not successful on probation during the seven-year term.
A jail sentence of 180 days is the statutory minimum sentence for a first-time felony DWI, although only 30 days consecutively must be served in jail. Thus, up to 150 days can be served on electronic home monitoring, i.e., house arrest, if a judge allows. Depending on the facts of the case, a judge may allow a significant portion of the 180-day sentence to be served on house arrest. In some cases, a judge will stagger a portion of the the 180-day sentence so that the defendant serves, for example, 30 days in each year of probation, and if the defendant is doing well on probation, he can move the court to excuse each successive 30-day sentence. Staggered sentencing gives the defendant greater incentive to do well on probation.
The court has wide latitude in sentencing someone convicted of felony DWI, and anyone charged with felony DWI should have an experienced DWI lawyer counseling him.