(a) In a civil action involving a motor vehicle accident, it is sufficient for the trier of fact to consider an award of punitive damages if there is evidence that the accident was caused by a driver:
(1) with an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more;
(2) who was under the influence of a controlled substance;
(3) who was under the influence of alcohol and refused to take a test required under section 169A.51 (chemical tests for intoxication); or
(4) who was knowingly under the influence of a hazardous substance that substantially affects the person's nervous system, brain, or muscles so as to impair the person's ability to drive or operate a motor vehicle.
(b) A criminal charge or conviction is not a prerequisite to consideration of punitive damages under this section. At the trial in an action where the trier of fact will consider an award of punitive damages, evidence that the driver has been convicted of violating section 169A.20 (driving while impaired), 609.2112, 609.2113, or 609.2114 (criminal vehicular homicide or injury) is admissible into evidence.
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