DUI (driving under the influence) is a term that causes most people to think about someone who drives a vehicle after drinking alcohol. The same is true for the term DWI (drinking while intoxicated). When you hear these words you probably think about someone who is drunk driving.
You may not have thought or realized that these terms DUI, DWI can also refer to driving under the influence of either prescription or illegal or drugs. In fact, they can and do refer to a driver who is impaired (under the influence of) by prescription or illegal drugs, as well as alcohol.
The person who drives a motor vehicle after using psychoactive drugs is an issue of ongoing concern to authorities. It is an issue of ongoing concern to law enforcement officers, forensic toxicologists, attorneys, physicians and traffic safety professionals in every state in the United States. Some of the things these professionals are concerned about are the documentation and assessment of the impairment displayed by the driver, ways to identify the drug impaired driver on the road, the availability of appropriate chemical tests and the interpretation of the subsequent results.
Someone may ask, “Do medications or drugs really impair a driver? Is prescription medication as potentially dangerous as drunk driving?”
The primary concern in regard to drugged driving is the effect that medication or drugs will have on your as a driver. Driving under the influence of any drug that acts on your brain can impair your reaction time, motor skills and judgment. Driving under the influence of drugs is a public health concern because it puts not only you, the driver at risk, but also your passengers and others who share the road.
The drugs and prescription medications that act on your brain can alter your coordination, attention, balance, reaction time, cognition, perception and other faculties that are needed for safe driving. The effects of specific drugs of abuse differ depending on the history of the user, their mechanisms of action, the amount consumed and other factors.
You may not have realized that a DUI can be issued and a DUI arrest made for prescription medication. Most people think, in fact it is commonly believed that a DUI can only be issued when the officer believes that you have consumed alcohol or illegal drugs in excess of the legal limits. As mentioned earlier, this is not the case. Any substance, even prescription medication, which can render you incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle, can be the reason for you facing a DUI arrest and DUI charges.
Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to tell how prescription medication affects your mental faculties until after you have already gotten behind the wheel. You may have recently had surgery and are still taking narcotics for the pain, but mistakenly believe yourself ready to drive. Whatever the case, it can be terrible to get a DUI when you did not think you were doing anything illegal to begin with.
You may be facing a DUI arrest for prescription medication? DUI charges have been filed against you because of prescription medication. What will you do now? How can you defend yourself?
Facing DUI charges and DUI penalties is a serious matter. Even if this is your first DUI arrest, you may face a long driver’s license suspension and time in jail. In many states, judges are being required to give out stricter DUI penalties and fines. Other DUI penalties and consequences you may face for first time DUI charges are community service and mandatory attendance at drug and alcohol classes (DUI School).
So, how can your DUI for prescription medication be defended? There are a few ways to defend, but you will need to be proactive in collecting evidence and establishing your claims.
The first way to defend against a DUI for prescription medications is to state that you were not affected by the prescription medications as the officer or officers say you were. For example, an officer may have seen a pill bottle in your vehicle’s cup holder. This may have led him to jump to the conclusion that you were not fit to drive at all. Also, roadside sobriety tests are often inaccurate, especially those that do not require blood samples or a breathalyzer.
A second way to defend against a DUI for prescription medications is to proclaim your innocence. In order to use this DUI defense you will have to be able to show that the prescription medications did not affect you at all. You will need to bring a copy of the side effects of your prescription medications to court to show the judge that they do not include potential mental impairment. You will need to mention the time at which you took the medicine. You could not have been driving under the influence if the effects should already have worn off.
It should be obvious to you by now that your DUI defense for prescription medication is not a matter that you can handle by yourself. You will need the help of an attorney, but choosing the right lawyer can make all the difference in the world. This is something that can affect you for the rest of your life.
Family and general attorneys are wonderful, but you are going to need a DUI lawyer who know DUI laws and can give you the best possible DUI defense. You need a DUI attorney who works with this type of case everyday. A skilled DUI attorney may be able to minimize the fines and damages that you face. A determined DUI lawyer may even be able to have the DUI charges against you dropped.