Little do many people know, you can still be arrested for driving while under the influence (DUI) when you take prescription drugs—even if they have been legally prescribed to you by a doctor. There are some drugs that can actually impair your ability to drive, which can make you a high-risk driver on the road.
If you or a loved one is facing drugged driving charges, you need a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney that understands Florida law to represent you in a court of law. With the right attorney on your side, you can receive the proper legal advice and representation to assist you in beating the case.
Which Prescription Drugs Can You Be Arrested for While Driving?
The most common type of prescription drugs that occur in DUI cases are painkillers. These are also known as Narcotic Analgesic drugs. Another common type is Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants that are used to treat anxiety and panic attacks.
The one thing that these two types of drugs have in common is that they cause the body to relax in order to suppress either pain and/or the nervous systems natural reaction. Since the body becomes so relaxed, it can impair your ability to drive and delay your reaction time to dangerous driving situations.
Here is a list of the most common prescription drugs that have resulted in the arrest of drug-related driving:
- Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet (hydrocodone)
- Valium (diazepam)
- Xanax (alprazolam)
- Percocet, Oxycontin (oxycodone)
Although the arrest is a bit different than that of an alcohol-related DUI, the field sobriety test remains the same. The typical breathalyzer test will not be able to determine whether or not you are under the influence of prescription drugs, but the sobriety test will highlight your impaired actions. It may be able to determine that your ability to drive safely on the road is impaired by a delay in motion or lack of ability to speak clearly.
Because these results are mostly determined by opinion, there must be a blood or urine test that is included during the arrest. This helps to determine if there really were any drugs present (legal or illegal) in the driver’s system at the time of arrest.
What Penalties are You Facing with Drugged Driving Charges in The State of Florida?
Since DUI charges in Florida are greatly frowned upon, they are taken very seriously in a court of law. There are two things that could happen when facing drunk or drugged driving charges: fines and jail time. However, the severity of these two punishments depends on the severity and repetitiveness of the driver’s actions and past arrests.
In addition to facing a varying amount of time served and/or fines, Florida automatically demands that the driver’s license is suspended for at least two years. Not to mention, since prescription drugs are highly addictive, the driver could face even more serious charges like illegal possession of prescription medication drugs.
How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney in Florida Help You Beat DUI Charges?
When you are arrested for a DUI, there are a million things going through your mind. How long am I going to be in jail? Am I going to lose my job? What am I going to tell my family?
It may be difficult to try to ignore all of these worrisome thoughts, but the first thing that you should do is call a criminal defense lawyer to start preparing for the case that you are about to fight. There are a few things that your lawyer will be able to inform you about prescription drug DUI’s and the fact that they are actually pretty difficult to prove in a court of law. Here are some things that your lawyer may go over with you:
- There is no minimum when it comes to prescription drug DUI’s, which is against you in the case. This means that even if you have only taken one Percocet, you could technically be arrested for a DUI. However, that makes it that much more difficult to prove that you were completely impaired and unable to drive, which your lawyer will work to prove in court.
- There are several ways to prove drugged driving when a saliva, urine, or drug test has been taken at the time of arrest. Plus, if you have a pill bottle present in the vehicle, that is also evidence that could be used against you in court.
- Although there are many factors that feel like they are against you, you can still beat the case! There are a few different approaches that could be taken, like the fact that you may have mistaken a pill for another if there is Tylenol also present in the vehicle. Or, you could have been involuntarily drugged by someone else’s doing.
At the end of the day, it is all about communication when it comes to your court case. The first step that you should always take when facing any kind of charges—especially criminal ones—is to get in contact with a local criminal defense attorney in the West Palm Beach area. It is also important to make sure the attorney you are considered hiring is experienced with fighting DUI charges.
Your lawyer is here to support you through this difficult time in your life by providing sound legal advice, handling all court paperwork, and representing you in court. If you or your loved one feel as though they are being wrongfully accused of drugged driving, feel free to reach out to our office! Our team of qualified lawyers would be happy to meet with you to discuss the facts of your case and develop a plan to help you beat your prescription drug DUI case.
Do not hesitate to give our law office a call today. Discussing the details of the arrest with a skilled attorney could be the difference between paying unnecessary fines and/or serving undeserved time in jail and your freedom! Feel free to call our office.