By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota county attorney says he will decide by early next week whether to charge the Hennepin County sheriff with drinking and driving.

Sheriff Dave Hutchinson remains hospitalized following a crash early Wednesday morning in central Minnesota. The sheriff is under investigation for DWI after the rollover on Interstate 94 near Alexandria.

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Hutchinson is recovering from broken ribs and other injuries suffered in the crash. A state trooper told Hutchinson’s attorney, Fred Bruno, that the sheriff is “lucky to be alive.”

Bruno says his client will “not receive special treatment” in the case, adding that the sheriff has “owned the conduct and has a lot of integrity to come right out and say what happened.”

In a statement, Hutchinson admitted drinking and apologized. The Douglas County Attorney’s Office says the results of lab testing on Hutchinson’s urine sample should be finished by early next week.

Any first-time DWI case depends on alcohol levels: .08 – to .15 means a three-month loss of driving privileges and up to 90 days in jail. Above .16 means losing driving privileges for a year and up to a year in jail.

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Attorney David Valentini, who is not affiliated with the case, says in reality first time DWI offenders rarely do jail time.

“It will be a stayed jail sentence for a year and the typical conditions, do a chemical use assessment, comply with the conditions,” he said.

Valentini says his wide range of first time DWI clients rarely lose their jobs. He says there is one exception to that: clients of his who got a DWI in a company car have been fired. The sheriff was driving a Hennepin County Ford Explorer.

WCCO reached out to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office to see what consequences Hutchinson could face internally. No one returned the call.

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Esme Murphy