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Can You Get a DUI on Prescription Medication?

Simply because you have been prescribed medication, you do not always have the right to operate a motor vehicle while using that medication. Some prescriptions cause intoxicating effects and warn against driving or operating other heavy machinery during use. You can become drowsy and lose mental clarity when on some prescribed drugs, so it is important that you listen to the advice of your doctor and read label warnings before driving under the influence of your prescription medication. Not heeding this advice can lead to a DUI or much worse.

If you are charged with DUI in Arizona for use of a prescription medication, illegal drugs or consumption of alcohol, you need the guidance, support and experience of a skilled Arizona DUI criminal defense attorney. Charges and penalties stemming from driving while under the influence of an intoxicant of any kind can be extreme and will likely cause personal and financial difficulties for months and even years to come. Having a qualified DUI criminal defense lawyer will help you defend yourself against these charges.

If you have been arrested for DUI, while on Prescription Medication, talk to our lawyers today.
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How can an officer tell when you have used medication or other drugs?

Law enforcement officers are trained in how to detect a driver’s ability to maintain safe driving practices on the road. They also have extensive experience in observing drivers and can simply tell when a driver is being erratic, failing to abide standard rules of the road, or otherwise driving in a manner that appears to be due to some form of impairment.

When an officer pulls you over for suspicion of DUI, he may have you perform a roadside test for blood alcohol content. If you have been appear intoxicated but pass this test, he or she may ask you to submit to a chemical test. The purpose of a chemical test is to detect any intoxicants in your system, such as drugs – whether those drugs are prescribed or illegal.

If you refuse to take the chemical test, you will likely be arrested and your driver’s license will be immediately suspended according to the Arizona Implied Consent Law.


How can you be tested for prescription drug intoxication?

A driver’s drug use is tested through one of two chemical tests. Those are urine and blood tests, both of which must be performed by a certified and approved lab technician. Officers will not conduct this test themselves, but will transport suspected DUI drivers to another location for administration of the test.

Both of these chemical tests provide accuracy in determination of the drugs in a driver’s system. But they cannot detect how long ago the prescription or other drugs were consumed, or whether the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle has been impaired. The tests do not help the state’s case very much but may be used as evidence in court.


Prescription Drug DUI Charges

A drug DUI arrest can result from driving under the influence of prescription medications, just as it can for an illegal drug DUI or alcohol DUI. Even if you have a valid prescription from a licensed doctor and are taking medication as directed, you can still be charged with drug DUI in Arizona.

Arizona DUI laws are known as some of the strictest in the country, with some of the toughest penalties. This applies to a prescription drug DUI, as much as it does for alcohol DUI. A first offense DUI charge for prescription medication is treated just like a DUI for alcohol intoxication. It is a Class 1 Misdemeanor, as long as aggravating factors do not apply – such as having young children in the car. Penalties for a first time charge include 10 days in jail, fines and fees, assessments, probation, substance abuse education, counseling and possibly treatment. There may also be other penalties.


Defending Prescription Drug DUI

If you have been pulled over under suspicion of DUI and are charged with prescription drug DUI, you will need the help of an experienced Arizona DUI defense lawyer. There is a possibility you can have your charges reduced or dropped altogether, depending upon the case and your attorney’s skill. There are some effective arguments for defense of prescription drug DUI in Arizona. These may include:

  • No probable cause for law enforcement pulling you over
  • Blood testing was tainted, improperly administered or otherwise illegal
  • There is not sufficient evidence of your impairment
  • There were factors outside of your control that led to impairment

Sentencing may be negotiated if your charges cannot be dismissed. Jail time may be reduced through performance of community service or completion of drug counseling.

When you are faced with DUI charges, you need the help of an experienced attorney who can help you get through your DUI charges, court appearance and other processes with as few personal and financial penalties as possible. The lawyers of the DMCantor know Arizona DUI law and will help you through your case. Call the DMCantor now at 602.307.0808 for a free initial case analysis.

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