State v. SmithAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed Appellant’s conviction of first-degree driving while impaired, holding that Appellant’s 2005 gross-misdemeanor conviction of criminal vehicular operation was not a qualified prior impaired driving incident and was therefore improperly used to enhance Appellant’s offense to a first-degree crime. Appellant’s current offense of driving while impaired was enhanced to a first-degree crime based on the existence of three prior impaired-driving convictions, including the 2005 conviction at issue. The court of appeals affirmed, ruling that Appellant’s current offense was properly charged and adjudicated as a first-degree crime because his 2005 conviction was a qualifying offense. In reversing the court of appeals, the Supreme Court held that the evidence was insufficient to convict Appellant of first-degree driving while impaired because, under the plain language of Minn. Stat. 169A.03, subd. 20, Appellant’s 2005 criminal vehicular operation conviction did not qualify as a prior impaired driving conviction.