An arrest for drugged driving could result in a charge for driving under the influence (DUI). In Minnesota, the offense is actually called driving while impaired (DWI), but the two terms are used interchangeably in many situations. A person under the influence of drugs—either legal or illegal—could face a criminal charge for driving under the influence. The offense may be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances of your case. No matter what, you need to defend yourself against these accusations.
You could face jail time, fines, and the loss of your driver’s license if convicted, so it is essential to work with a Minnesota drug DUI lawyer who could work tirelessly to defend your case. Get in touch with a dedicated attorney at our office today to learn more.
Illegal Drugs and DUI
Illegal drugs are intoxicating substances. These drugs are used to get high, and individuals who drive while under the influence of these substances risk being pulled over and charged with a DUI. It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while high on illegal narcotics.
Illegal drugs that could be involved in a DUI include:
- Cocaine or crack
- Illegal marijuana
- Heroin and other opiates
These and other types of illegal drugs could land a person behind bars and facing other serious penalties. After being charged with a drug DUI, it is crucial to retain legal counsel right away to ensure the necessary steps are taken to build a robust defense.
Can Prescription Drugs Lead to a DUI?
A person under the influence of a prescription drug could also face DWI charges. This is especially likely if the person has illegally obtained these otherwise legal drugs. However, even a person with a valid prescription for their medication could be charged for operating a motor vehicle if the drug’s influence makes them intoxicated behind the wheel.
Pain relievers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone can often cause a person to become “high” and therefore unable to drive safely. Other drugs like sleep medications or anti-depression medications may also causes this kind of effect. When a person gets behind a wheel knowing they are intoxicated, they could face drug DWI charges in Minnesota.
Affirmative Defense for Prescription Drugs
An exception with prescription drugs is a particular affirmative defense. If the person used a medication prescribed by their medical professional as prescribed, they might be able to avoid a DWI. This defense requires testimony about a person’s private medical matters and will require proof that the medication created an unexpected result. A seasoned DWI defense attorney could help an individual establish in court that they experienced an unexpected result from their properly used prescription drugs.
Penalties for Drugged Driving in Minnesota
Under Minnesota Statutes § 169A.20, driving under the influence is illegal. People may not operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance. If a person fails to follow the rules of this statute, they could face very serious criminal penalties, including jail time and hefty fines.
Other penalties can be just as severe. A person may lose their driver’s license—either temporarily or permanently, depending on the circumstances. A driver could be forced to pay for high-risk insurance and have to take driving or addiction classes as part of their sentence. Working with an experienced drug DUI lawyer could help an individual avoid the most serious consequences of a conviction.
Defend Your Charge with the Help of a Minnesota Drug DUI Attorney
Every DUI charge is serious, but especially so when drugs are involved. When you face DWI accusations, it is crucial to understand that you have the right to fight back against your charges. A skilled Minnesota drug DUI lawyer could help you build a strong defense against your charges and move forward with your life. Contact our office today to get started on your case.