Minnesota laws prohibiting driving while impaired go beyond driving under the influence of alcohol. Like the other states in the union, Minnesota DWI laws also prohibit driving under the influence of controlled substances and other “hazardous” substances that may substantially impair a person’s ability to drive. In some instances, a driver can often face other serious charges after a DWI arrest. A recent case in Northfield illustrates how allegations of DWI can increase in severity during an encounter with police.
A Rice County deputy claims he noticed a car parked at in the Big Steer parking lot off Interstate 35 when he was reporting to another call earlier this month. He says he first noticed the car around 2:30 a.m. Twenty minutes later, the deputy says the car was still in the parking lot with its engine running and the headlights on. The deputy apparently approached the parked car in the parking lot.
The deputy claims he found a man sleeping in the vehicle at the truck stop. The deputy claims he woke the man and identified him as a 27-year-old Northfield man. After awakening the driver, the deputy claims the man’s pupils appeared constricted that early morning.
Law enforcement claims the man admitted to having taken Adderall and suboxone at some point and smoked some marijuana sometime on Saturday. During the encounter, the deputy says he found 0.3 grams of heroin in the car, although reports indicate law enforcement also weighed the packaging in determining the weight of the alleged heroin.
Prosecutors in Rice County later filed formal charges against the Northfield man after the DWI arrest. The formal charges include a felony charge of fifth degree controlled substance crime for possession of heroin. The man is also facing charges of DWI, possession of marijuana and driving after revocation after the parking lot incident.
The most serious charge is the felony possession of heroin charge. However, all of the charges arising after the parking lot incident are serious and carry not only harsh sentencing provisions upon conviction, but the potential addition to the man’s criminal record, if he is convicted.
Source: Northfield Patch, “Northfield Man Charged With Heroin Possession,” Corey Butler Jr., Nov. 7, 2011