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Can You Get a DUI for Taking Prescription Medication?

Water and pills on table with shadow

Impairment due to any substance can result in serious legal repercussions

A DUI charge is a serious offense that can change your life for years. While you're probably aware that driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal, you may not realize that you can face arrest and prosecution for driving under the influence of prescription drugs. While most people may associate DUI charges with the consumption of alcohol, the impairment of one's driving abilities due to any substance or combination of substances can result in serious legal repercussions.

The intricacies of drugged driving cases often make them more challenging to prosecute than traditional DUI charges. Nevertheless, the consequences remain just as severe, with potential penalties including jail time, hefty fines, and more.

Understanding prescription drug DUI

In Florida, you can be charged with DUI if you are under the influence of a substance that impairs your normal faculties. After being pulled over, an officer may have you participate in various tests to assess your ability to walk, talk, hear, and see. Any substance that impedes your capacity to perform any of these tasks may result in an arrest and DUI charge.

DUI tends to be more commonly associated with alcohol, but both prescription and illegal drugs can have similar or worse effects. Among the most common substances involved in drugged driving cases include:

  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Prescription medications like Valium, Xanax, and Oxycontin

Keep in mind that a DUI charge involving prescription drugs is not contingent upon whether you have a legitimate prescription for the medication in question. However, without a valid prescription, you may also be charged with drug possession.

How can a DUI defense lawyer help?

Constructing a compelling defense strategy is essential in securing a favorable verdict in a DUI case. The intricacies of a DUI case can be challenging to navigate, but when prescription drugs are involved, the situation can become even more complex. Here are some potential defenses that can be used in such cases:

  • Adverse drug reaction: Sometimes, an individual may have an adverse reaction to a medication that causes side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, or impaired judgment. If this is the case, the person may not have been aware of the side effects and, therefore, may not have been able to operate a vehicle safely. An experienced attorney can argue that the person was not intentionally impaired but rather a victim of an unexpected adverse reaction.
  • Insufficient evidence: In any DUI case, the prosecution must provide compelling evidence of impairment beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Lack of quantitative impairment by prescription or illegal drug: If an individual is accused of driving under the influence of prescription or illegal drugs, it is critical to establish that there was no quantitative impairment. This means that there is no evidence that the medication or drugs in question hindered the person's cognitive or physical abilities and that the individual was able to operate a vehicle safely.
  • Investigative mistakes by law enforcement: In some cases, law enforcement may make mistakes during the investigation that can impact the validity of the charges. For example, the arresting officer may have failed to administer the field sobriety test correctly or may have mishandled the evidence.

These are just some of the potential defenses that can be utilized by a DUI defense lawyer. If you're facing charges, you should talk to an attorney about the specific details of your case to get a clear understanding of your legal rights and options.

Contact a Clay County, FL DUI defense lawyer

If you were charged with a DUI involving prescription medication in Clay County, FL, Aguilar & Sieron, P.A. can fight for your rights. With years of experience defending clients in DUI cases, our attorneys have a thorough understanding of the law and the criminal justice system. We work tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome for our clients and will fight to protect your rights every step of the way. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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