It’s a crime to drive a car in Minnesota when a person is under the influence of a controlled substance. https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169A.20. Marijuana is defined in Minnesota as a Schedule I controlled substance. The punishment for a conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana can range from county jail time to imprisonment. Charges can vary from a 4th Degree misdemeanor DWI to felony DWI depending on the number of prior DWI convictions or license revocations a person has within the preceding 10 years.
Probable cause to arrest for driving under the influence of marijuana requires a police officer to have more than mere suspicion but less than the proof beyond a reasonable doubt required for a criminal conviction. What are the usual circumstances and observations of intoxication made by a officer when deciding whether or not to arrest a suspect? The case usually begins with an officer observing bad driving conduct such as speeding, drifting over the lane dividers, illegal turn, etc. These observations will justifying the initial stop or “seizure” of the car under the Constitution.The officer then approaches the car and questions the driver attempting to gain an admission that he or she violated the traffic laws. Any admission made by the driver will be included in a traffic report and used in court to prove the legality of the car stop. Next, an officer who has presumably been trained in narcotics detection will notice symptoms typically displayed by a person who is driving under the influence of controlled substance. The symptoms of intoxication can include watery and glassy eyes, fidgety and anxious behavior, sweating and dilated pupils. The observation of these symptoms will justify the officer in requesting that the suspect exit the vehicle and perform field sobriety tests in order to determine intoxication. These tests can include a preliminary breath test to eliminate the possibility of alcohol followed by an eye-convergence test to show that your eyes react slowly to light. Police also look for an elevated pulse and body and eyelid tremors to justify an arrest. The officer will use his training and experience combined with a suspect’s demeanor, driving conduct, and physical condition in order to establish probable cause for an arrest.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for driving while under the influence of marijuana or any other controlled substance, you will need to hire an experienced Minneapolis criminal defense attorney to protect your freedom and reputation. Attorney Robert J. Shane has 30 years of criminal defense experience. Call now for a free phone consultation at (612) 339-1024 or visit my website for “The Best Defense” at www.criminallawyerminnesota.com.