I was prescribed medications – am I at risk of losing my driving privileges?
The short answer is no, not unless “impaired” driving can be proven. According to Minnesota Statute 169A.53 subd. 3(i), relating to license revocation, if you are lawfully prescribed medications from a healthcare professional, an affirmative defense to the implied consent law is established. This means that the presence of a substance I or II controlled substance given in accordance with 152.11, the prescription statute, and 152.12, the statute relating to what healthcare providers may prescribe, mitigates the offense. A first time offense is a 90 day revocation of one’s driver’s license; a second offense is a year-long revocation.
In order to be revoked in the first place, a peace officer must have probable cause to believe a person was driving, operating, or in physical control of a motor vehicle and was driving while impaired by a controlled substance in accordance with section 169A.20. Once revoked, there must be a hearing before a judge at the earliest practicable date, no later than 60 days following a filing of a petition for review. Within this petition for review, the affirmative defense shall be noted.
An affirmative defense is a set of facts brought and proven by the defendant which, in this scenario, defeats the legal consequences of the defendant’s otherwise unlawful conduct. Here, the affirmative defense is established for prescription medicine and the defendant must show that they used the controlled substance in accordance with the terms of the prescription. Unless the Court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the use of the controlled substance impaired the person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle, the affirmative defense shall be successful in overturning the revocation. A person is considered “impaired” when they are so affected by a substance that they do not possess such a clearness of intellect and control as they otherwise would.
If you have been prescribed medications by a healthcare professional and subsequently revoked under statute 169A.20, Driving While Impaired, contact us to help you bring an affirmative defense to get your driving privileges back.