A Minnesota State Patrol trooper says that an off-duty Belle Plaine police officer was driving 96 miles per hour on highway 169 between Belle Plaine and Jordan, Minnesota last week. The trooper conducted a traffic stop shortly before 2:30 in the morning Tuesday. The traffic stop apparently led to an investigation of the off duty cop for suspicion of drunk driving.
State Patrol officials say that the 32-year-old suspect was tested for alcohol. The test registered 0.17 percent blood alcohol concentration. The man accused of driving while impaired has a prior DWI conviction within 10 years, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He was charged with gross misdemeanor DWI in that case, but reportedly pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge in February 2004.
Minnesota law allows authorities to upgrade DWI charges in a current case based upon alleged evidence of an aggravating factor. One of the factors that can aggravate a DWI charge is a prior DWI conviction-- or prior implied consent loss of license-- within 10 years of a current alleged offense.
The Minnesota DWI laws also include a BAC reading of 0.20 percent or more as an aggravating factor. The Belle Plaine man was accused of a gross misdemeanor charge in late 2003 based upon a 0.20 percent BAC reading. The charge was later resolved in the February 2004 plea bargain as a misdemeanor conviction.
The 32-year-old off-duty cop is charged with third-degree DWI, a gross misdemeanor after last week's arrest, based in part upon the man's prior record.
The 10-year veteran with the Belle Plaine police was booked into the Scott County Jail, and released later that same morning after posting bond.
Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Belle Plaine cop faces 2nd DWI," Paul Walsh, Nov. 21, 2012