You may have seen or heard the recent barrage of public service announcments on TV, radio, and online re-enforcing the message “Driving high is a DWI.” In all states, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. For Minnesota drivers, the penalties associated with this illegal activity can include time behind bars, expensive fines and other consequences that have the potential to change a defendant’s life. To determine if a driver is intoxicated, law enforcement may conduct a test using a Breathalyzer device. However, this test only detects alcohol in a driver’s system. There is currently no roadside test for drugs.
Legalization of marijuana in the state
On August 1, 2023, possession of recreational marijuana became legal in Minnesota for those aged 21 and over, which means that there may be a higher chance of intoxicated individuals getting behind the wheel. Unlike with suspected drunk driving, law enforcement has no accurate way to determine if a driver is under the influence of drugs and by how much. Law enforcement has admitted that this makes marijuana-related cases more complicated.
There are tests to determine if a person has THC in his or her system, but there is no test that immediately determines ongoing drug intoxication. There are still many questions regarding how this new law could impact intoxicated driving.
Defending against intoxicated driving charges
If you are facing charges for intoxicated driving in Minnesota, you have the right to defend yourself. It is in your interest to seek an understanding of your defense options by speaking with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Whether your case involves drugs or alcohol, you will find that seeking guidance can help you more effectively confront the case against you.