Even though one may have a valid prescription and have used their medication as prescribed, it is still a crime to operate a vehicle while impaired by prescription drugs. The penalties for drug DUI charges are the same as alcohol-based DUI charges, which includes heavy fines and possible jail time.
If you are facing charges, contacting a Charleston prescription drug DUI lawyer could be crucial. An experienced drug DUI attorney could investigate the specific effects of your prescription medication, consult with physicians and toxicologists, and build the most effective defense possible for your case.
What is Considered a Prescription Drug?
A prescription drug is any medication prescribed by a doctor. Not all prescription drugs cause impairment. The drugs that potentially could cause impairment are referred to as controlled substances. Controlled substances may be either narcotic or non-narcotic and are always prescribed by a doctor.
Drugs that are commonly linked to prescription drug DUIs include Ambien, Xanax, and prescription pain medications like Oxycodone or Oxycotin.
Proving a Prescription Drug DUI Offense
To charge someone with a prescription drug DUI, the law enforcement officer who stops them must determine that their ability to drive the vehicle was materially and appreciably impaired by the use of prescription drugs. Involuntary intoxication is a defense to prescription drug DUI, albeit an unusual and rare one.
If there are no obvious signs of impairment, a person should not be prosecuted criminally unless they were specifically told by their physician to not drive after taking the medication. An accomplished prescription DUI lawyer in Charleston knows that law enforcement and prosecutors often have to be educated on the defendant’s medical history in order to resolve a case successfully.
Building an Effective Defense to Prescription Drug DUI Charges
The criminal justice system often requires direct proof to function well, and a DUI attorney knows they cannot just vouch for the defendant. They must prove to law enforcement and the prosecutor that there is a legitimate treating physician who has diagnosed a certain ailment and subsequently prescribed the medication in question. The length of time a person has been taking that medication is significant and critical when evaluating impairment. Without this information, prosecutors and law enforcement will likely proceed with prosecuting the case.
A prescription drug DUI attorney in Charleston may contact the defendant’s physician and obtain medical record and prescription records from the pharmacy in order to prove that the defendant was taking their medication in accordance with the standards that have been prescribed by their doctor.
Taking drug test as soon as possible after being released from jail likewise can prove valuable in defending against a prescription drug DUI charge. If a urinalysis sample or blood sample was obtained from a DUI defendant, then a toxicologist can help prove based on the levels of that medication that show up on either sample that the individual was taking the medication as prescribed.
Retain a Charleston Prescription Drug DUI Attorney
Too often, drivers who are arrested for a prescription drug DUI make the mistake of shrugging off their charges, believing that their doctor’s written prescription is all they need to clear up the allegations. In fact, DUI cases can be considerably more nuanced. A Charleston prescription drug DUI lawyer could gather the necessary documentation, consult with physicians and toxicologists, and work to build a strong, clear defense of the defendant’s charges.