When motorists think about DWI, chances are they’re thinking about driving under the influence of alcohol, or perhaps some illegal substance like marijuana or cocaine. The truth is, and as absurd as it appears on the surface, in Minnesota, you can be arrested for driving after having used drugs legally prescribed by your doctor.
The Law In Minnesota
In fact Minnesota is one of many states where it is a crime to drive with prescription drugs in your system. Minnesota DWI laws, for example, make it a crime to drive having even a small amount of many “Schedule I or II” prescription drugs in your system.
“Schedule I or II drugs” constitute a long list of prescription drugs, such as opiates and opium derivatives, taken by millions of people every day. What this means is that you may be in driving in violation of the law without even knowing it, and while taking drugs legally prescribed by your physician. You can be charged just as if your blood alcohol level were above the legal limit, and that can mean anything from a fine to suspension of you license to incarceration.
Is There Any Defense to Such Laws?
The state of Minnesota does allow for a defense to such charges. Defendants must demonstrate that they obtained their prescription drug leagally, through their doctor. However, is such cases, defandants are typically required to take the witness stand in their own defense, and the same exceptions do not generally apply to civil cases, only to criminal ones.
Many would argue (and many have) that such laws violate the constitution and the right to a fair trial. That’s for the courts and the legislature to iron out. In the meantime, drivers in Minnesota need to be aware of the law as it stands, and are well-advised, especially if they find themselves facing charges for driving under the influence of legally-obtained prescription drugs, to obtain the help of a competent Minneapolis DWI Attorney.
For more information on this and other DWI topics, contact us today.