Drugged Driving in Minnesota: What You Need to Know

On Behalf of | Nov 26, 2018 | DUI, DWI |

A recent change to the law has tightened a loophole which existed in Minnesota law, particularly when it comes to “Huffing,” but the activity of Drugged Driving is one that many drivers are still unsure about.

So here are a few key details you need to be aware of when it comes to what might happen if you are caught behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or substances.

What is a DWI?

Driving while impaired (DWI or DUI) is most often associated with driving under the influence of alcohol; but the law also prohibits drugged driving – that is, driving under the influence of drugs or hazardous substances.

A driver is considered “under the influence” if they don’t “possess the clearness of intellect and control” that he or she otherwise would.

As a result a Minnesota motorist can be convicted of a drug DWI for driving, operating, or being in physical control of a motor vehicle while:

  • Under the influence of a “controlled substance”
  • Knowingly under the influence of a “hazardous substance” that affects the body and substantially impairs driving abilities
  • Having any amount of a schedule I or II controlled substance (except marijuana) in the body

Controlled Substances

According to Minnesota’s DWI laws a “controlled substance” includes any substance listed in schedules I through V of the state’s Controlled Substances Act. This includes opiates, hallucinogens, depressants, narcotics, and marijuana.

Schedule I and II controlled substances

Minnesota law prohibits drivers taking these drugs in any amount and then driving. Defendants who are charged for driving with a schedule I or II drug in their system only have a defense if they can show that the drug was being used pursuant to a valid prescription – though this doesn’t apply if the driver is found to be under the influence of the drug rather than just having the drug in their blood.

These substances include; heroin, LSD, and ecstasy on schedule I, and methadone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, methamphetamine, and cocaine on schedule two.


Essentially a schedule I controlled substance this is excluded from the zero-tolerance rule that applies to all other schedule I and II drugs. However, it’s still an offense to drive under the influence of marijuana.

Hazardous substances

These are defined by Minnesota’s Administrative Rules and include common household products, such as aerosol sprays and paint thinners, which can be inhaled to produce a high in an activity known as “Huffing.”

Driving and Huffing

In May 2018 The Minnesota Senate voted 62-4 to modify DWI law to include huffing the chemical found in keyboard cleaner.

It’s part of an effort to broaden the state’s driving while intoxicated law to include a number of new substances, like the popular household product “ultra duster” that a Wisconsin man had used prior to a wrong-way crash that killed three Minnesota men last summer.

A Minnesota court ruled that compressed gas from a can of “Dust-Off” was a hazardous substance under the DWI statute.

What are the punishments for Drugged Driving?

If you are arrested for drugged driving in Minnesota will be charged with a DWI and the same DWI penalties apply to drunk driving apply to drugged driving meaning this is an extremely serious matter while a drugged driving incident is considered as a prior offense when it comes to future DWI sentencing.

If you’ve been charged with Drugged Driving

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you need the help of an experienced attorney. A qualified DUI and DWI lawyer will be able to explain to you exactly how the law applies in a way you will understand as well as advising you on the best course of action to take.

Call 1-800-DWI-GUYS or 612-688-2299 locally, day or night 24/7



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