DUI on Prescribed Drugs?
Many who use prescription medications legally to manage chronic pain and discomfort or who use prescriptions to get high wonder about the consequences of being pulled over for a DUI due to the effects of their medication. Orlando is a hotspot for criminal prescription drug activity in Florida, the state known as the “pill mill capital” of the United States.
Not long ago, the state’s loose prescription drug laws and abundant pain clinics would draw thousands of “patients” from all over the country to Florida looking for their prescription painkiller fix. Oxycodone was the #1 drug killer at the time, with more than 1,500 people dying from an oxycodone overdose in 2010. The state also had 93 of the country’s top 100 oxycodone-prescribing doctors, and an abundance of shady pain clinics known as “pill mills” that made it easy for people to purchase potent painkillers with cash on-the-spot.
It’s no wonder that Orlando sees more cases of prescription drug DUIs than many other parts of the country. A person addicted to painkillers or who legitimately requires medications to manage a health problem can easily receive a DUI.
Consequences for a Drug DUI in Orlando
Those who are impaired behind the wheel pose a threat to fellow motorists and pedestrians, regardless of why they are impaired. Law enforcement officers throughout Central Florida are on high alert for people driving under the influence and will investigate a driver they believe will cause harm if that person is not taken off the street.
The consequences for a drug DUI are the same as those for an alcohol-induced DUI or a DUI induced by illegal drugs. Jail time, steep fines, and probation are all possible. Officers will investigate the DUI using nearly the same methods as they would for an alcohol DUI to determine whether a person’s “normal faculties” are impaired.
A person’s normal faculties include his ability to see, hear, walk, talk, judge distances, drive, act in an emergency situation, and other routine tasks. These faculties can be impaired by a number of legal medications.
The most common medications that cause drowsiness and other side effects behind the wheel are:
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Over-the-counter medications
Drug DUIs are also commonly issued to people who are under the influence of illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. If a law enforcement officer discovers legal or illegal drugs on your person during a DUI stop, you could face possession charges in addition to DUI charges. Possession of a prescription drug without a valid prescription can lead to illegal drug possession charges, further augmenting the severity of your case.
How Orlando Police Know You Used Prescription Drugs
If you were not drinking before you were pulled over for a DUI, the prescription drugs you may have ingested are undetectable by a breath test; however, the officer will use field sobriety tests to determine the extent of your impairment. A drug recognition expert (DRE) may also come to the scene to administer a urine or blood test in cases in which a person suffered severe bodily harm or death.
Defenses Against DUI with Prescription Drugs
Even though it’s extremely difficult to do, Florida prosecutors must prove without a doubt that you were under the influence of prescribed medications at the time of your arrest. Urine and blood tests are not always dependable for this situation which may help your defense case.
It’s also important that the events leading up to and during your DUI stop are accurate on the reports and in your testimony. Your attorney should work diligently to suppress any evidence that is questionable in nature and closely examine how the police conducted your arrest.
Orlando Prescription Drug DUI Lawyers
If you or a loved one were under arrest for DUI with prescribed medications, it’s critical to have a seasoned DUI defense lawyer working for you before you ever go to court. Investigation of the circumstances around your charges is critical to building a solid defense for your case.
Attorneys with The Umansky Law Firm have more than 100 years of combined criminal law experience to put to use in defense of the charges against you. As former state prosecutors, they know exactly how a lawful DUI stop and investigation should occur and can use this knowledge to get your case a favorable outcome. As recognized Super Lawyers, the Umansky legal team will fight the prosecution aggressively to protect your future, freedom, and rights. Contact our DUI lawyers today for a free case review or call us today.