Prescription Drug DUI in Georgia
Over-the-counter medications and prescription medications are used to treat a variety of disorders, discomforts, illnesses, and pain. However, the side-effects of some medications may affect a person's ability to drive safely. As a result, driving under the influence of medication, taken with or without a prescription, may land the driver in jail, charged with a DUI. Just because someone is arrested for a prescription drug DUI does not mean they should be convicted.
Prescription Drug DUI Laws
According to state law, it is illegal to drive less safe under the influence of any drug. The law does not distinguish between street drugs like cocaine or heroin and prescription medications, like Vicodin or Demerol. It also does not exempt non-prescription medications like Benadryl. If the drug is making the individual drive less safe than they would otherwise, the police may arrest a driver for a DUI.
Specifically, O.C.G.A. 40-6-391, states that a person shall not drive or be in physical control of a moving vehicle while under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive. The law goes on to state that the fact that any person has been legally entitled to use a drug shall not constitute a defense, and they will be in violation if they are rendered incapable of driving safely as a result.
There are thousands of medications that people may take, with a select set of medications requiring prescriptions due to concerns of safety, abuse and addiction. Over the years, prescription drug abuse has been on the increase in the U.S. They are more readily available for some people than illegal drugs, and children and teenagers sometimes take pills from their parents' medicine cabinets. However, the police may arrest a driver for drug DUI whether they have a prescription for the drug or not.
Some of the more common prescription drugs involved in DUIs include opioid pain relievers and benzodiazepines, among others. Opioids include: oxycodone, hydrocodone, Opana or Dilaudid. Benzodiazepines depress the central nervous system, and can include diazepam (Valium), Ativan or Xanax.
The effects of prescription and even over-the-counter medications depend on a lot of factors including the persons tolerance, weight, food and drink interactions, amount taken, time lapsed, etc. For these reasons a simple blood or urine test is not conclusive to whether the driver was less safe. A prescription drug DUI will involve the police officer testifying about their observations of the driver. This can be very subjective, and there is no reason to have a DUI conviction based on inconclusive opinions and tests.
Prescription DUI Defense in Georgia
If you have been charged with driving under the influence of a prescription drug in Atlanta, it does not mean you have to be convicted. Prescription drug or OTC meds DUIs are different than alcohol DUIs. It is important to find a DUI lawyer who doesn't just do alcohol DUIs, but has experience with prescription drug DUIs. I have the training, courtroom experience, and skill to defend medication DUI cases, and a proven record of success. If necessary, we will do what it takes to defend your case, including getting experts to testify on your behalf. Call me anytime, day or night, and together we will fight to defend your rights.