Many people in Minnesota may assume that vehicular homicide is not that serious of a crime, especially because the driver who is accused of fatally injuring another obviously did not intend to kill someone. They are wrong, however, and many judges and juries are unsympathetic to a client who tries to explain that he or she did not mean to kill someone. When alcohol or drugs are involved, even if the driver is not legally intoxicated or is using a drug that has been prescribed to him or her, it can be even more difficult to convince a jury that the driver should not be found guilty of the criminal charges.
Some questions might be raised, however, when the individual who is accused of vehicular homicide is only using a substance that has been prescribed to him or her. If that impairs the motorist’s driving, can that really be considered the motorist’s fault? This is why it is important to work with an attorney who can help argue that a substance that may have contributed to an accident should not be considered in a trial.
It is not entirely clear if the fact that there was methadone found in a Cloquet woman’s vehicle will be relevant in her trial for vehicular homicide. The bottles were prescribed and it appears that she had received the medication from a clinic in Brainerd. If she was under the influence of methadone at the time of the accident, it may be relevant to know if the woman knew that it would affect her driving. If she did not, it may not matter to the criminal case.
It is not known if this was the first time the woman had ever taken methadone or if she was familiar with the medication.
Source: KSTP 5 ABC, “Authorities Link Methadone to Crash that Killed 2,” Jennie Olson, Oct. 4, 2012
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