Many people believe the common falsehood that only those who abuse alcohol and drive can be arrested for DWI. In fact the opposite is true. Those who abuse controlled substances such as drugs and prescription drugs are just as susceptible to a DWI arrest as an alcohol-impaired motorist.
Minnesota Statute 169A.20 defines DWI as Driving While Impaired – a stark difference from the common belief – and previous definition – that DWI stands for Driving While Intoxicated. Subdivisions 2 and 3 of this statute deal specifically with the use of hazardous or controlled substances while operating a motor vehicle. Subdivision 2 states the statute applies if “the person is under the influence of a controlled substance” and Subdivision 3 states: “the person is knowingly under the influence of a hazardous substance that affects the nervous system, brain, or muscles of the person so as to substantially impair the person's ability to drive or operate the motor vehicle.”
Police officers across the state are on the lookout for drivers guilty of DWI. If you are pulled over and a police officer suspects you of driving under the influence of drugs or prescription drugs, the officer may speak with you, listening and looking for signs of drug use. While slurred speech is often a sign of alcohol use, individuals who have used drugs often display jittery movements and noticeable sweating.
If the officer believes there is probable drug use, he or she may call for a drug recognition expert – a specially trained officer – to attend to the scene. Forty-eight states employ these officers, including the state of Minnesota. This officer will conduct a series of tests and while a breathalyzer will not reveal drug use, blood and urine tests will show if you have been driving under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs. If you are faced with these tests, it is important to remember that the implied consent law in Minnesota states that refusing to submit to such a test will result in the immediate revocation of your license.
If you are facing DWI charges related to drug use, you need experienced legal counsel. Contact Olson Defense for vigorous defense and unrivaled results.