Many people associate DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charges with alcohol. However, there are also penalties for driving under the influence of prescription drugs. These penalties can be quite severe and are virtually identical to those that drivers receive for operating motor vehicles under the influence of alcohol. Prescription drugs and driving laws in the state of Florida are clearly outlined, and many find themselves surprised when facing charges.
A DUI charge for driving under the influence of prescription drugs is a criminal offense that can result in jail time, heavy fines, a loss of your driver's license, a permanent criminal record, and more. If you receive a DUI charge for operating a vehicle while on the prescription medication, you must hire a prescription drug DUI lawyer near you right away. The courts take these charges very seriously and you do not want to face a judge without legal representation.
Attorney Matt Shafran at Weinstein Legal is the criminal defense lawyer you want on your side when fighting such a case. Mr. Shafran will stop at nothing to protect your rights and make sure you get the justice you deserve.
What Types of Prescription Drugs Impair Driving?
There are many different types of prescription drugs that can impair a person's driving. Many individuals assume that these only include narcotics, such as opioids, but this is not the case. There are many prescription bottles that include warnings that state they may impair your ability to "drive or operate heavy machinery."
These often include sedatives, such as sleeping medications, anxiety, and epilepsy medications such as benzodiazepines, and more. However, your body can have an adverse effect on virtually any medication. Each person is different, and what causes impairment in one individual may not in another. It is important to take this into consideration before driving while on prescription medication.
Many times, DUI cases involve prescription drugs such as Xanax, oxycodone, Adderall, Vicodin, Percocet, fentanyl, and hydrocodone.
Medication without a Prescription
If you are driving under the influence of prescription drugs that you are taking recreationally, or without a valid medical prescription, law enforcement can charge you with a DUI even if you do not believe you are significantly impaired.
This is because taking prescription medication recreationally is illegal, whether you purchase it from an individual or take it out of a family member's medicine cabinet.
Penalties for Drugged Driving
According to the Department of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the penalties for a DUI on prescription medication are the same as for driving under the influence of alcohol. Prescription drugs and driving laws in the state of Florida mandate that an individual convicted of the criminal charge as a first-time offense lose their license for a period of six months to one year.
If another individual sustains an injury as the result of an accident during the incident, you may face a license suspension of up to three years. Additionally, you will have to pay court fees, fees to reinstate your driver's license once the suspension period is over, and you may have to complete community service or a substance abuse treatment program. The courts may place you on probation, and if you have a prior record you may face time in jail.
Social and Personal Repercussions
Listed above are only the legal penalties. If convicted, you will also face complications in your daily life. Without a driver's license, will you be able to get to work? Will you be able to transport your children to school and activities? Will you be able to complete your everyday errands and make it to doctors' appointments? The answer is likely no.
You may also have difficulty gaining future employment. As prescription drugs and driving laws state that the conviction is a criminal offense, it will appear on any background check a person runs on you. Many employers are hesitant to hire individuals with a criminal record.
Is a DUI Considered a Drug-Related Offense?
In the state of Florida, driving under the influence of prescription drugs is a criminal traffic offense. If you are found to have prescription drugs on your body or in a vehicle that is not yours, you may be charged with possession of a controlled substance. Possession charges are drug offenses, just like possession of heroin or cocaine.
No matter whether you receive a DUI or a drug possession charge, you will need an experienced attorney to prepare a defense for a prescription DUI charge on your behalf. No matter which charge you receive, you will have to appear in criminal court and many penalties are the same. If you receive both a DUI charge and a drug possession charge in the same incident your penalties may be more severe.
Criminal Defense for DUI Drug Cases
If you are facing criminal charges relating to prescription drugs and driving laws, you must hire an attorney immediately. Mr. Shafran at Weinstein Legal will begin working on your case right away. He will look for all evidence that led up to the arrest and ensure that law enforcement did not break any legal protocol. If your legal team determines that the police did break protocol, it may be possible to have your charge dismissed.
Additionally, Mr. Shafran will fight aggressively to have your charges reduced if there are no grounds for dismissal. At the Weinstein Legal Team, your goals are our goals too and we do not want to see you lose your driver's license, pay any fines, or spend time in jail. We will stop at nothing to protect your rights.
To present a defense that clears your name and proves your innocence, Mr. Shafran will look at police reports and see whether you were drug tested at the time of the incident. If there is no documentation that drugs were in your system at the time of your arrest you may be able to avoid a conviction.
Seek a FREE Consultation Today
At the Weinstein Legal Team, our phone lines are available 24-hours a day, 365-days a year. There is never a time when your call will go unanswered. We provide free case evaluations, quickly and confidentially.
If you are facing charges for driving under the influence of prescription drugs, do not wait. Contact our dedicated DUI attorneys as soon as possible so that we can begin working on your defense to assure the best possible outcome in court.