Last week, Attorney Robert Ambrose won an implied consent hearing in Hennepin County District Court. An implied consent hearing is a challenge to a person’s driver’s license being revoked in connection with a DWI case. To keep a person’s driving record from reflecting a revocation for a DWI, you must prevent a DWI conviction in the corresponding criminal record and you must win the implied consent hearing. Not only was Attorney Ambrose successful in keeping a DWI conviction from being entered in the criminal case, he also succeeded at the license hearing.

In this implied consent hearing win, Attorney Ambrose raised the prescription drug defense. One way a person can be charged with a DWI and face a driver’s license revocation is to have a schedule I or II controlled substance in their system. In this case, the presence of a controlled substance appeared in the driver’s blood test. However, that driver neither exhibited impaired driving conduct, nor looked under the influence during field sobriety tests. Shockingly, a person innocently taking their prescription medications can still find themselves in the criminal justice system if that prescription medication contains a schedule I or II controlled substance.

One way to defeat a DWI and license revocation like this is to raise the prescription drug defense. If you can prove that the person was taking the medication in accordance with the prescription. In this case, Attorney Ambrose had a forensic scientist from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) come testify at the license hearing about whether the blood test result reflected a concentration level at a therapeutic or toxic level. Therapeutic levels generally reflect those taking medication in accordance with their prescription. Toxic and fatal levels can show someone potentially abusing the medication. Here, the blood test result reflected a therapeutic level and the BCA expert opined that the driver could have been taking her medication as prescribed.

A prosecutor can defeat the prescription drug defense, if they can show that the person was impaired by the substance. Here, no such evidence existed. This further corroborated that the driver was taking her medication according to the prescription.

All too often, police officers are overzealous. Some do not give drivers the benefit of the doubt and immediately suspect wrongdoing of some kind. With millions of drivers across the country taking prescription medications, it puts many innocent people at risk of criminal charges and license penalties in Minnesota. Mounting a strong defense is critical to preserve your rights, criminal background report, and driving record.

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