Friday, November 5, 2010

DWI Laws and Prescription Medication

At this point many of us are almost experts on driving under the influence/driving while intoxicated (DUI/DWI) laws. We know the limit in our area, what the basic penalties are, and most of us take proactive steps to avoid ending up behind bars. What about prescription medication? Many people do not know that a large amount of prescribed medication (and even some over the counter) can lead to a DUI/DWI charge if a police officer believes they are impaired. Here I will describe how this occurs, how to avoid it, and what to do if you are charged with a DUI/DWI because of prescription drugs.

How could this happen? Easier than you think! To give a personal example, the author was once involved in a relatively car accident which caused some minor shoulder injuries. In the process of recuperation, he was prescribed common pain medication, and warned it may cause drowsiness. Did it ever! A lot of prescription drugs for pain or anxiety can make the person taking them feel like they have drunk a six pack! However, because the stigma in our society is against drinking and driving, many people feel that they are fine when on a prescription drug. After all, no one believes that they may be impaired, and no one thinks that they will get pulled over.

Surprising when it happens, that person could easily be pulled over by law enforcement. Once detained, law enforcement officers are trained to detect the side effects of drugs; after all, the side effects of legal drugs are not that far off from illegal ones. At this point, the fact your doctor signed off on it will have no bearing on the rest of the encounter. That person would most likely be arrested for driving under the influence, and processed like any drunk.

This would be quite a shock to the system! The penalties for DUI/DWI not withstanding, no one wants to believe that they were endangering the public safety by driving under the influence. At this point the above described person would be booked into processing just like any other criminal, and would end up with a record. I have written other articles on the penalties for DUI/DWI, but to summarize, they lose time, money, and a little bit of freedom.

But what should you do if you have already been charged with a DUI or DWI because of prescription drugs? The answer is simple and urgent: contact a DUI lawyer. DUI attorneys specialize in defending those accused of DUI's, and may be able to mount a defense based on your exact situation. Most attorneys offer free consultations, so you have nothing to lose... and your freedom to gain.

Cias Hart is a veteran and resident of Arizona. If you live in the greater metro area and have been charged with a DUI or DWI because of prescription drugs, contact a reputable Arizona DUI attorney immediately. Even if you have never had a negative police encounter, it is advisable to contact an attorney to establish a relationship. Many practicing lawyers are also Phoenix DUI lawyers and will offer a free consultation where they will outline what they can do for you should you find yourself in a situation not of your choosing.


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