Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (DUID) in Minnesota operates under the same DWI laws for alcohol related DWIs in Minnesota. DWI charges can arise from being under the influence of a controlled substance, under the influence of an intoxicating substance, a combination of those two or with alcohol, and if any amount of a Schedule I or II controlled substance other than marijuana. The differences lie in the investigation of those cases, enforcement, and driver’s license revocations.

Investigation & Enforcement of DUID

The reasons for why a person may get pulled over for driving under the influence of drugs are going to be similar to alcohol DWIs. Weaving, speeding, failing to signal a turn, having a headlight all are reasons for people to get stopped by law enforcement regardless of what is in their system. Once that driver gets pulled over, however, is where the differences start to take place.

Most, if not all, drugs besides marijuana have no distinct smell. Therefore, an officer approaching a vehicle will be unlikely to say they smell the odor of narcotics unless it is for marijuana. A favorite reason in alcohol DWIs is the officer stating they smell an odor of an alcoholic beverage on the driver’s breath. In drug cases, the officer is going to start to rely on bloodshot, watery eyes, a person’s speech, reaction time, fumbling with wallet, mannerisms, and the like. The officer will likely even ask the question “are you on any drugs or medications?” Answering that in the affirmative, will almost assuredly instigate field sobriety tests. Even answering that question “no” will still likely lead to testing.

The first test officers often administer is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test. In this test, the officer is looking to see if the driver’s eyes lack smooth pursuit, show nystagmus prior to forty-five degrees and at maximum deviation. Officers will also often perform a Vertical Nystagmus test in drug DWI cases. During these eye tests, the officer will also often look for pupil dilation, constricting, and fluttering.

Some other common tests officers perform when investigating for DUID include: modified Romberg test, finger-to-nose test, and finger counting test. The officer may also take a driver’s vital signs, including blood pressure, temperature, and pulse. They may also examine a person’s muscle tone, check for injection sites, and do a dark room examination of a person’s pupils to check their eyes for reaction to light. Sometimes, officers are drug recognition expert (DRE) certified and adhere to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) training and protocol.

If an officer believes they have probable cause to arrest someone for driving while under the influence of drugs, then they will proceed to obtain a warrant for a blood or urine test. Refusing to submit to a blood or urine test pursuant to a warrant is a DWI refusal offense.

Driver’s License Revocation

In Minnesota, if a driver’s blood or urine test reveals a schedule I or II controlled substance, then the commissioner of public safety will issue a driver’s license revocation. In other DUID cases, a person’s driver’s license will end up subject to revocation if they are convicted of DWI in their criminal case.

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