Can I get Arrested for DUI for Drugs Prescribed by a Doctor?

You can be arrested for driving under the influence of prescription drugs such as Ambien, OxyContin, or Oxycodone, just to name a few. In the state of Florida, driving under the influence is an offense proved by impairment of “normal faculties” or an unlawful blood-alcohol level of .08 or above. An arrest for drug DUI is serious and can have long-lasting impacts. If you’ve been charged for a DUI involving prescription drugs in Hillsborough County, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your case.    

What Can Happen When You Drive Drugged? 

Driving under the influence of medication (prescribed sleep aids, pain medication, allergy drugs, anti-anxiety drugs, etc.) can affect your ability to operate a vehicle. If pulled over for erratic driving, an officer will likely perform a sobriety check for dilated pupils, poor coordination, and other signs of impairment. The police officer can then charge you with a DUI and may arrange for a blood test. 

But it was prescribed to me… 

The courts will not blame big Pharma. Although you are taking a legally prescribed a sleep aid like Ambien if you fall asleep while driving, you may be charged with DUI in Florida. You can face the same penalties for “sleep-driving” on Ambien as you would for driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances. 

If this situation is familiar, you need legal representation. Board-certified attorney Ben Stechschulte provides aggressive and confident criminal defense. These are serious charges that can stay on your record for 75 years. Call us 24/7 to speak with a DUI lawyer. 

Proving Impairment with a Drug DUI

To prove the DUI charge, the Florida State prosecutor must show the defendant was under the influence of alcohol and/or a chemical substance at the time of the arrest. DUI cases involving drugs are uniquely hard to prove as several factors could’ve led to the impairment.  

These may include:  

  • Physical or mental illness 
  • A chronic condition 
  • Sleep deprivation or drowsiness 
  • Depression or anxiety 

Stechschulte Nell Law in South Tampa can review your DUI case involving prescription drugs. Protect your license and possibly avoid higher car insurance rates. Call us at 813-280-1244 for a free case review. 

Involuntary Intoxication Defense 

If the drugs taken at the time of the arrest were prescription medication, a common and effective strategy used by our criminal defense law firm is the Involuntary Intoxication Defense – when the legal use of medication may accidentally or unexpectedly have affected the driver.  

Perhaps the driver took more medication than intended or simply took the wrong medication. This is used when the drug taken was truly “involuntary” and has been recognized by Florida law as a viable defense.  

Law Enforcement and Unreliable Drug Testing Procedures 

Hillsborough County law enforcement agencies have implemented programs that provide more comprehensive training procedures for drugs and other controlled substances such as the Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DEC). Common sobriety testing procedures implemented by the DEC may include:   

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) – an eye test to show impairment from drugs or a controlled substance 
  • DUI blood test 
  • DUI urine test 
  • Psychophysical tests for divided attention 
  • Muscle Tone Tests 
  • Observations of injection sites

Law enforcement officers trained to perform standardized field sobriety testing can receive additional training to become a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). However, it is more common than not that the arresting officer did not receive this special training.  

In this instance, the lack of training to detect impairment caused by drugs may be used as another defense strategy.  

Erratic, sleep driving due to the consumption of medication may lead to an arrest. Contact Stechschulte Nell Attorneys at Law today for help with your DUI case. 

Can a DUI Defense Lawyer Help Me?

If you or someone you know has been arrested for a prescription drug DUI offense in the greater Tampa Bay area, it is critical to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney who specializes in this specific type of DUI offense.  

At Stechschulte Nell, we will represent your case and protect you against these serious allegations. Call 24/7 for a free case review at 813-280-1244

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