June 2015

Huffing from aerosol cans can lead to DUI charge in Montana

The Montana Supreme Court has ruled that a person can be charged with driving under the influence for huffing aerosol propellants.

The June 9th  5-0 decision rejects a Butte man’s efforts to have a case against him dismissed.

Taylor Nelson Pinder was charged with felony DUI after a toxicology report indicated he was under the influence of difluoroethane when he crashed his car in February 2013.

The state’s DUI law prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Pinder argued state law only defines a drug in the context of pharmacy regulation and since DFE is not intended for medical use, it is not a drug.

The Supreme Court agreed with the state judge that the plain meaning of the word drug — a substance that alters one’s perception or consciousness — applied to DUI laws.