After a fatal car crash caused by huffing cans of air duster in the summer of 2017, a loophole in Minnesota’s DWI laws was closed last year. The crash occurred in Wisconsin, but one of the individuals who was killed had brothers in Minnesota. Then, in October, 2017, the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed a DWI conviction. The driver had been huffing air duster, and the court concluded that the chemical which caused her impairment, DFE, was not included in Minnesota’s DWI laws. The brothers quickly realized that the driver who killed their brother could not have been convicted of DWI in Minnesota, and they began a push at the legislature to change that. Their efforts succeeded, and became part of a bill which made a number of changes to Minnesota’s DWI laws which went into effect on August 1, 2018.
In addition to drug- and alcohol-based offenses, Minnesota defines DWI to include driving, operating, or being in physical control of a vehicle while “the person is under the influence of an intoxicating substance and the person knows or has reason to know that the substance has the capacity to cause impairment.”
Ultimately, these laws are designed to reflect the reality that driving while under the influence of a substance is dangerous – whether that substance is alcohol, street drugs, prescription medication, or inhalants like those found in air dusters or paint fumes.
However, everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes people don’t realize that they are impaired, or have a chemical dependency problem. Sometimes it is not the driver, but the officer, who has made a mistake. Regardless of the situation, if you have been charged with impaired driving, our experienced defense attorneys can give you the straight talk and honest answers you need.