Arrested for a Prescription Drug DUI in Georgia?
If you are pulled over by the police, and they suspect you were drinking, you may be hesitant to admit to drinking, even if it was only one beer, because the police could use that admission against you. But if the police ask if you took any medications, you are more likely to answer because you have a prescription, and think there is nothing wrong with taking medication. However, the police may think your medicine prescribed by a doctor is responsible for less safe driving, and arrest you for a DUI.
Medication and DUIs
Even though legal prescription and over-the-counter medications are treated completely different from illegal drug for other criminal offenses, under DUI laws, they are treated pretty similarly. A DUI for legal medications can still result in penalties including possible jail time, fines, DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction course, clinical evaluation, and community service. These are the same penalties as for a drunk driving conviction.
Police officers are not doctors or scientists, but they attempt to determine whether a driver is impaired just by their own observations. This may include watching how the car is driven, including swerving, erratic driving or slow reaction times. They may also ask a driver what drugs or medications they have taken. During interactions with the police, the officer will try and evaluate a driver's speech patterns, eye reactions, and attempt to have the driver submit to a variety of field sobriety tests. Even if there are other reasons for any perceived impairment, the police will usually arrest the driver, and have them submit to chemical testing of the breath, blood or urine.
Prescription and Over the Counter Medications
There has been an increase in prescription drug abuse here in the U.S., and police are on the lookout for prescription drug use in drivers, whether or not they are driving less safe because of the medication. Prescription drugs have a wide range of physical and psychoactive effects, intended alleviate pain, enable sleep, relieve anxiety and more. Although some drugs also have side effects that could affect driving in some people.
Opioids like OxyContin or Demerol could make a driver sleepy, reduce reaction time, reduce attention and short-term memory, and reduce coordination. However, different people are affected differently. Benzodiazepine drugs like Xanax, Ativan or Klonopin can also increase the risk of accidents when combined with driving, especially where alcohol is also involved.
Some prescription medications will turn up in a blood test performed by the Georgia crime lab. This includes opioids and benzodiazepines, and several other drug classes. However, just because a driver's blood tested positive for a drug class does not mean that it was the cause of less safe or impaired driving.
Defending prescription drug cases can involve review the facts and all records produced by the police, investigate the case, consult doctors and experts, review the blood draw sample and test, and more. In order for you to have the best chances to get a prescription DUI charge dismissed, you need to consult an experienced Georgia DUI lawyer who understands the unique differences involved in prescription drug cases.
Prescription Drug DUI Lawyer
If the police or Georgia State Patrol arrested you or someone you love for a drug DUI involving prescription drugs, you need someone to fight on your side. The lawyers at Lawson and Berry have successfully represented many people charged with prescription DUIs in the Atlanta area and North Georgia. We have undergone specialized training in drug detection and field sobriety testing. Don't risk a criminal record just because the police treated you like a criminal. You have rights, and need to understand your options before pleading guilty. Call us anytime, day or night, so we can get your charges reduced or dismissed, and you can keep your license to drive.