Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, “I was arrested for driving under the influence two weeks ago. The weird thing is I don’t remember even getting in the car and driving. I do take Ambien to help me sleep. After some research I found out that there have been other cases of drivers taking Ambien and not remembering driving. What will happen now? Will I be charged for a DUI I don’t remember committing?”
Stories of individuals in a hypnotic state now referred to as “Ambien blackouts” have been reported over the last several years. Some of the bizarre behaviors described by users include cooking elaborate meals, binge eating, having sex, and ordering products on Amazon.
One of the most dangerous activities, however, is driving. Drivers who take Ambien have been known to drive their cars without any memory of the action, only to find their cars parked in a new location in the morning. Worse still, some drivers drive while under the influence of Ambien and cause accidents or or kill other drivers.
DUI defense lawyers have successfully fought DUI charges against some drivers who have been charged with a Ambien DUI, defending them with what they term as the “sleep driving defense.” This defense argues that the driver cannot be held liable for injuries or accidents they may have caused if they didn’t know they were even driving.
FDA requires more detailed labeling for Ambien
Given the history of this product, however, the sleep driving defense may be less effective than it once might have been. Several high profile Ambien DUI cases have led the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to require more detailed labeling on a number of sleep aid medications.
In fact, Ambien labels now include warnings about the potential for blackouts and sleep activities, including driving. Now with the publication of the risks of taking Ambien, legal experts warn users may not have a strong defense if they take Ambien. Users should understand the side-effects and take steps to avoid any dangerous activities while they are on the drug.
What do you do after an Ambien DUI arrest?
Driving under the influence is most notably associated with drinking alcohol and driving, but drivers can be arrested and convicted of driving under the influence regardless of whether or not the intoxicant was alcohol, an illegal drug, or a prescription medication.
The state does not care about the drugs you have ingested, only your ability to safely operate your motorized vehicle. And this makes since, if you had a loved one who was maimed or killed by an intoxicated driver you won’t care whether they were intoxicated with Ambien or Cocaine.
So what do you do after an Ambien DUI arrest? You will need to do the same thing you would have done if you had been arrested after drinking alcohol or taking an illegal drug. You will need to contact a DUI lawyer and have them review the evidence the state has against you.
Discuss with your DUI lawyer whether you will need to plead guilty, accept a plea agreement, or plead innocent and fight the DUI charges.
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