To ensure protection on the highways and even on your local streets, state legislators want to do everything in their power to avoid any impaired driving. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are admissible. However, if they influence how you drive your vehicle, police officers can pull you over they notice it.
The term DUI (Driving Under Influence) does not refer to alcohol or illegal drugs alone. It is a crime to drive when any substance, legal or not, affects your performance. Regardless of your opinion, the laws are clear on mind-altering substances. You may need an experienced prescription drug DUI lawyer to represent you in a court of law if you get a DUI charge. If you want to know how to fight a DUI charge for prescription drugs, see the information below.
How Can Legal Drug Use Lead to a DUI?
Even when taking legal drugs, the police can detain you for driving under the influence. Simply put, the use of legal drugs can lead to DUI arrests and subsequent convictions. In many cases. prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications get the same treatment as alcohol-related DUIs.
The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) is firmly against driving and taking many over-the-counter drugs, as some come with strict warnings of operating a motor vehicle.
Different substances can influence your driving in various ways. As such, some legal drugs warn of side effects, including:
· Diminished ability to make good judgments
· Decrease in alertness
· Shorter attention span
· Slower reaction time
· Blurred vision
As a consumer of legal or over-the-counter drugs, it's your responsibility to understand the side effects and the danger you can potentially cause to others on the road. You also have the duty to understand how these medications react with other substances you ingest when you choose to get behind the wheel.
If a cop pulls you over for the way you're driving, consider the following.
Don't Disclose Your Medications to the Police Officer
If an officer pulls you over for a possible DUI, never reveal the prescription drugs you have taken to a police officer. As many movies or TV shows state, “anything you say can or will be used against you in a court of law.” Instead, be courteous, but state that you would prefer to speak to an attorney before answering any questions.
Otherwise, they can use anything you say or do against you as proof if your case ever goes to court. While they may detain you, it may better serve you in the end.
Please note, it's best to report all your drugs and medical problems to a police officer who tries to support you're experiencing a medical emergency. However, if the officer suggests you're under the influence, insist on speaking with an attorney present so he or she can provide legal counsel.
You Can Say No to Field Sobriety Tests
The police officer who pulls you over can order field sobriety tests. These are essentially different activities that test your coordination, balance, vision, and other physical faculties. You may think you're more than capable of performing the tasks, but if a trial comes of it, a failed test can also go against you as evidence of DUI infringement.
Examples of field sobriety tests include:
· Counting backward
· Walking on a straight line
· Balancing on a single leg
If you do consent to a field test, the police officer or an attorney can use suspicious behavior as incriminating proof that you were under the influence of mind-altering substances. Even if you have a legitimate medical condition, the field sobriety test can indicate or allude to intoxication when balance problems arise, nervous movements occur, or other similar behavior that a drunk person exhibits. Then, it can be more difficult to defend against in a court of law. Field sobriety tests are not mandatory and are instead voluntary. Should you not perform them, your non-performance can be used against you in the officer determining whether he believes you are under the influence.
Refusing the Breathalyzer Test
Should you be asked to provide a sample of your breath for the purposes of determining its alcohol content, you have one of two decisions to make. When you sign for your driver's license in Florida, you consent to a lawful request for breath, blood, or urine testing. Should you refuse a lawful request of any of those options, then the Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend your license for up to 12 months if it is your first refusal to do so. If this is your second or subsequent refusal, the Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend your license for up to 18 months and you can be charged with a misdemeanor for Refusal to submit to Breath/Blood/Urine testing.
However, understand fully that when you provide that sample of your breath, blood, or urine, you are providing evidence to the police and prosecutors of what is in your breath, blood, or urine. While you may suffer consequences from refusing to provide those samples, it may, in your case, be the best option for you.
As it relates to prescription medication, many cough medications contain some amount of alcohol in them. The breathalyzers, commonly used when an officer suspects drunk driving, might be inaccurate or sensitive. Depending on the last time you drank the medicine, and the amount of food in your system, tests may show the presence of alcohol in your blood. Even if you maintain that you're sober and are confident you can pass a breathalyzer test, it may be best to refuse one and wait to speak to an attorney.
If by chance, you inform an officer of your ailment but were unaware that you driving under the influence, they may be able to charge you with voluntary intoxication. This instance can be more challenging to defend in court.
What prescription drugs are considered DUI?
There are many drugs that can affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle. As above, any prescription or over-the-counter medication that affects your mental or physical ability to drive can work against you in a court of law.
Some examples of prescription drugs that can get you a DUI charge include:
- Other opioids and methamphetamines
Whenever you take any of the above, abstaining from driving may keep you out of trouble with the law. If you must take any of the substances, ask or pay for transportation to ensure your safety and avoid a DUI charge.
How to Beat a DUI Charge for Prescription Drugs
If your case gets as far as court, the prosecution needs to prove that drugs made you unable to drive safely. All the prosecution has to show with the zero-tolerance cases is that the medication was in your system.
The defense would need to question the significance of an officer's findings to beat a DUI charge. It depends on the circumstances, although it can be hard to convince the jurors that an officer's results were wrong about your intoxication.
In any event, a Florida DUI attorney can do many things to help you beat a DUI charge. For example, your attorney may:
· Call for witnesses on your behalf
· Seek medical expertise
· Collect video or audio evidence
· Request blood or urine samples
· Initiate plea bargaining
· Suggest the use as a mitigating circumstance
While you may be capable of beating a prescription drug charge yourself, an attorney may be able to execute any or all of the above to best protect your rights and interests.
Discuss the details of your cases with an attorney who can employ the right tactics based on your circumstances.
Hiring a Lawyer to Defend You
There are occasions where the person arrested for and charged with a DUI could use a lawyer's assistance to handle these charges immediately. Legal aid may help you with the officers' questions while you are still under arrest.
Even if it is based on medication, illegal drugs, or alcohol, a DUI is DUI. Any subsequent DUI would be the same. Apart from it being your first, second, or third offense, the consequences remain the same.
Other potential acts, such as plea bargains, could be available when a plan is constructed ahead of time when you are about to face charges. A plea bargain can help mitigate the adverse effects when the conviction seems likely to be the outcome.