South Carolina’s DUI statute contemplates drug impairment by specifically stating “alcohol and/or drugs” as the means by which someone may be under the influence.
The penalties associated with a drug DUI do not differ from those of an as an alcohol-related DUI, and anyone found to be under the influence of an over-the-counter, prescription, or illegal drug while driving could face severe consequences.
If you have been charged with driving while impaired, you may benefit from the help of a Charleston drug DUI lawyer. A knowledgeable DUI attorney could investigate the circumstances of your case and work to build the best possible defense.
Prescription Drugs in Charleston Drug DUI Cases
Just because a medication could cause impairment it does not mean that it has actually impaired a driver. Many of the DUI law enforcement officers in Charleston area may incorrectly think that taking prescribed medication that has potential side effects is a per se indication the driver is impaired. In fact, a driver is simply taking prescribed medication is not the proper or most appropriate inquiry. Instead, law enforcement officers should inquire as to whether a driver they encounter is abusing their prescribed medication.
Even over-the-counter medications like Benadryl could potentially cause the law enforcement officer to think someone is under the influence such that they are to be arrested for DUI. However, a drug DUI lawyer in Charleston could investigate to see if there is no proof of the individual being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The most important question in drug DUI cases is whether the individual has abused or misused the medication and whether that abuse or misuse has rendered them unable to drive safely.
Disclosing a Prescription to an Officer
If an individual is pulled over by law enforcement officer and accused of being under the influence of prescription medication, the biggest mistake is not telling that officer how long they have been taking the medications or who their doctor is that prescribed the medication. It is crucial to let the officer know that are taking their medication as prescribed as soon as possible in the interaction. Taking medication according to a doctor’s instructions could be a valid defense against a drug DUI charge.
How Involuntary Intoxication Could Affect a Drug DUI
Involuntary intoxication is a legitimate defense for DUI. For a DUI conviction, the prosecutor must prove that a defendant had some level of intent, and knowingly decided to drive while under the influence. It is up to the jury to determine whether the defendant’s involuntary intoxication prevented them from having the criminal intent necessary to justify a DUI conviction.
A knowledgeable drug DUI attorney in Charleston could recognize this possible defense at the beginning of the case and investigate or obtain an expert to help present a winning involuntary intoxication defense.
Drug and Alcohol Interaction
In situations where a driver’s impairment is the result of a drug or alcohol interaction, most law enforcement officers are still going to arrest that individual for a DUI, no matter what the defendant says or what the circumstances are on scene. After the arrest, however, a dedicated lawyer could quickly obtain the necessary medical information to prove the impairment was involuntary.
Reach Out to a Charleston Drug DUI Attorney
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of a drug—be it legal medication or a controlled substance—you may benefit from experienced legal representation. Drug DUI cases often involve complicated lab tests, toxicology reports, and other minutiae that may be difficult for a layperson to understand. A Charleston drug DUI lawyer could gather the necessary evidence to build a strong defense and preserve a defendant’s future.