Minnesota’s laws prohibiting driving while impaired apply to many more substances than alcohol. The DWI statutes include provisions related to controlled substances and hazardous substances. Controlled substances can include illicit drugs or prescription medications.
While DWI charges can be complex, a person accused of driving under the influence, and driving in a negligent manner in causing serious injury or death to another, can face felony charges on a first-time offense. The criminal vehicular homicide or operation statute stands separately in the tomes of Minnesota criminal laws. But, the felony level offenses essentially have provisions that work similarly to the DWI laws. A conviction for a DWI-related vehicular homicide or injury charge can bring significant consequences.
Hennepin County prosecutors have filed felony charges against an Apple Valley man related to a car accident that was reported last September. Authorities claim that the 50-year-old man was under the influence of drugs when he was involved in a car accident. A 58-year-old Burnsville woman died after the accident occurred.
The Apple Valley man was formally charged on March 25 with criminal vehicular homicide. He faces up to ten years in prison on the CVH charge. A recent news article does not chronicle what evidence of drug impairment prosecutors intend to rely upon in bringing the felony charge.
Generally, when a person is accused of criminal vehicular homicide involving alcohol or drugs, the state may rely on many forms of evidence, including chemical tests and testimony of officers regarding observations during an accident investigation. These kinds of evidence may be flawed, depending upon the circumstances.
Recently, we discussed issues in the Wisconsin crime lab that are calling into question the reliability and veracity of toxicology reports. Problems with testing procedures and the chain of evidence are things that DWI defense lawyers often review in evaluating a case.
Often, authorities may wait a significant period of time before formal charges are filed in these types of cases. But, it is important for a person who is under suspicion of an offense to consider speaking with legal counsel as soon as possible after allegations arise to begin building a defense.
Source: Sun This Week, “Apple Valley man charged in Burnsville educator’s traffic death,” John Gessner, April 3, 2014