Driving while under the influence of alcohol is incredibly common, causing 10,142 fatalities in 2019. But what about driving while under the influence of legalized marijuana? With more and more states legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use, what happens if you’re involved in an accident with someone who’s high?
What are Minnesota’s Medical Marijuana Laws?
Medical marijuana is legal in Minnesota for use with qualifying conditions, such as:
- Tourette Syndrome
- Muscle Spasms
- And more
To use marijuana medically, patients must have a certificate signed by a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant. The person who signs their certificate must be the person treating them for their condition.
Minnesota allows the use of liquids, oils, and pills for medical marijuana treatment, meaning that no smoking is allowed.
Is Driving While High Considered a DUI in Minnesota?
Driving while high can have many effects on one’s driving ability and, therefore, illegal in Minnesota. According to §§ 169A.20(2)-(3),
“A person is guilty of 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 as to substantially impair the person’s ability to drive.”
This means that any person who drivers or operates a motor vehicle in Minnesota may not be high at the time of use. There isn’t a blood alcohol concentration to go by. DUI for marijuana is determined based on whether or not there’s any in one’s system. If any use of marijuana is detected, the driver will be charged with DUI. It may not always be possible to tell if a driver has been smoking or not.
As marijuana stays in one’s system for weeks after use, it can be hard to get a proper drug test done. However, if law enforcement finds that they were high while driving, they will be charged.
How Does Marijuana Affect One’s Ability to Drive?
Driving while high can cause all sorts of problems, including accidents. Driving while high will impair your judgment, decrease your motor coordination, your ability to concentrate, and your reaction time.
Drivers must be focused on the road at all times while operating a motor vehicle. They must be able to pay attention to changing traffic patterns, sudden stops, and more. Driving requires all of one’s attention.
Therefore, if someone is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, they won’t give driving 100% effort. They might find themselves to be distracted or confused, making accidents more likely.
How Big of a Problem is Drugged Driving?
We hear about drunk driving cases in the news all the time. Some statistics show how many fatalities there are each year, and documentaries showing the significant dangers of drinking and driving. From a young age, we’re shown how scary drunk driving is and how big of an effect it can have on everyone involved.
However, it’s not often that you hear about drugged driving or its consequences, even though they can be just as severe. Here are some quick statistics about the dangers of drugged driving and the effects that it can have.
- One in 3 fatally injured drivers tested positive for medications or drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medications as well as illegal drugs.
- Over 1 in 5 drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could impair driving skills.
- Drivers involved in fatal crashes who had used marijuana increased from 2% in 1999 to 12.2% in 2010.
- The prevalence of weekend nighttime drivers with THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) detected increased 48% from 2007 to 2014.
- An estimated 17 to 27 percent of drunk drivers have also used drugs while driving.
- Marijuana is the most commonly combined drug with alcohol, and those who drive drunk are more likely to also drive under the influence of marijuana.
What Compensation Can I Get if a Drugged Driver Injures Me?
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a drugged driver, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages. Devastating and severe injuries can lead to large medical bills and lost wages, leaving you feeling even more stressed about your situation.
Thankfully, you can receive compensation to cover these losses and more. You can receive compensation for the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability, scarring, or disfigurement
Your non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of earning capacity, are calculated based on how much your life has changed because of the accident. In contrast, your economic damages, like medical bills and lost wages, are calculated based on the monetary value associated with them.
Minnesota Car Accident Lawyers Near Me
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident because of a drugged driver, please contact our talented team of personal injury attorneys here at Sand Law in Minnesota. We have years of experience working on cases involving medicinal and illicit drugs, and we can help you get the compensation you deserve.
We will work with law enforcement to get the results of the at-fault party’s drug test and work with insurance companies to get you the best settlement possible.