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Minnesota Drugged Driving

In Minnesota, a person is guilty of a DWI if he or she drives while under the influence of a controlled substance, or if the person is knowingly under the influence of a hazardous substance that affects the nervous system, brain, or muscles so as to substantially impair the person's ability to drive. Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 169A.20[1](2)-(3) (West 2010).

NOTE: Minnesota has a zero tolerance DUI offense if a person tests positive for schedule I & II controlled substances or associated metabolites other than marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinols. Actual impairment is not a necessary element of this offense. Id. § 169A.20[1](7).

Implied Consent

  • Any person who drives, operates, or is in physical control of a motor vehicle within Minnesota shall be subject to a chemical test of that person's blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining the presence of alcohol, a controlled substance or its metabolite, or a hazardous substance. Id. § 169A.51[1](a).
  • Withholding right of accused to confer with counsel before making a decision about taking a chemical test renders the test results or evidence of a test refusal inadmissible. State v. Schmidt, 712 N.W.2d 530 (2006).
  • It is a crime for any person to refuse to submit to a chemical test of the person's blood, breath, or urine. Id. § 169A.20
  • At the time the officer requests the test, the officer shall give the driver a set of warnings, known as an implied consent advisory. Id. § 169A.51[2].
  • The officer chooses whether the test is of blood, breath, or urine. Action may be taken against a person who refuses to take a blood or urine test only if an alternative test was offered. Id. § 169A.51[3]-[4].
  • If a person refuses to permit a test the driver's license shall be immediately suspended. Id . § 169A.51[3](a).
  • Refusal of a test will result in additional license restrictions if defendant is convicted of DUI. Id.

Penalties

NOTE: for offenses occurring within ten (10) years.

3rd offense within 5 years; not less than 2 years (90 days or 180 days mandatory) revocation for 4th or subsequent offense.

  • First Offense misdemeanor Up to 90 days imprisonment; not more than a $1000 fine; up to 180 days of license suspension (180 days is a mandatory minimum if defendant refused a chemical test). Id. § 169A.27(2).
  • Second Offense - minimum of 30 days of incarceration, at least 48 hours must be served in a local correctional facility; OR, 8 hours of community work service for each day less than 30 days that the person is ordered to serve in a local correctional facility; up to 1 year of license suspension(180 days is a mandatory minimum if defendant refused a chemical test). Id. §§ 169A.275(1)(a)(1)-(2).
  • Third Offense - minimum of 90 days of incarceration; at least 30 days must be served consecutively in a local correctional facility; OR, mandatory participation in an intense supervision probation program for repeat DWI offenders, and consecutively serve at least 6 days in a local correctional facility; license suspension of up to 2 years. Id. §§ 169A.275(2)(a)(1)-(2).
  • Fourth Offense - minimum of 180 days of incarceration at least 30 days must be served consecutively in a local correctional facility; OR, mandatory participation in an intense supervision probation program for repeat DWI offenders, and consecutively serve at least 6 days in a local correctional facility; OR, program of staggered sentencing, with a minimum of 180 days of incarceration; at least 30 days that must be served consecutively in a local correctional facility; OR, mandatory participation in an intense supervision probation program for repeat DWI offenders, and consecutively serve at least 6 days in a local correctional facility; indefinite license revocation. Id. §§ 169A.275(3)(a)(1)-(3).
  • Fifth and Subsequent Offense - minimum of one year incarceration, at least 60 days which must be served consecutively in a local correctional facility; OR, mandatory participation in an intense supervision probation program for repeat DWI offenders, and consecutively serve at least 6 days in a local correctional facility; OR, program of staggered sentencing, with a minimum of one year of incarceration; at least 60 days that must be served consecutively in a local correctional facility; OR, mandatory participation in an intense supervision probation program for repeat DWI offenders, and consecutively serve at least 6 days in a local correctional facility; indefinite license revocation. Id. §§ 169A.275(4)(a)(1)-(3).

Sobriety Checkpoints

In Minnesota, sobriety checkpoints are illegal under the state constitution.

Police use of temporary roadblock to stop cars and investigate large number of drivers in the hope of discovering evidence of alcohol-impaired driving by some violates Minnesota state constitution, which requires that a driver is not arbitrarily subjected to an investigative stop without and office first having articulable suspicion of criminal wrongdoing.Ascher v. Comm. of Public Safety, 519 N.W.2d 183 (1994); Gray v. Comm. of Public Safety, 519 N.W.2d 187 (1994).

Case Law

State v. Prax, 686 N.W.2d 45(2004) -- Law enforcement officer had probable cause to arrest defendant for DWI, even though defendant performed well on many field sobriety tests because officer saw defendant drift over lane dividers, weave within his lane, and make illegal left turn at stoplight. Defendant had dilated pupils, and anxious behavior. The well trained officer recognized defendant's behavior as consistent with a person under the influence of marijuana.

Per Se Drugged Driving Laws

Minnesota has a zero tolerance per se drugged driving law enacted for controlled substances, not including cannabis or cannabis metabolites. 

The law states, "It is a crime for any person to drive, operate, or be in physical control of any motor vehicle ... when the person's body contains any amount of a controlled substance in schedule I or II other than marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols." (Minnesota Statutes Annotated Section 169A.20)






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