At the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson, our lead Cherokee County DUI attorney Richard S. Lawson has been practicing DUI law for nearly twenty years. In the past couple of years, we have seen more DUI-drug arrests than ever before. We believe that this increase has a few different causes, one of them having to do with the fact that people are living longer these days than in previous generations. With our aging population, more people are relying on prescription medications as they grow older.
Another factor is the great frequency with which people are taking daily medications for conditions such as nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, ADHD and depression. The more people are medicated, the greater their chances of being arrested for DUI-drugs.
Thanks to public awareness campaigns educating the public about the dangers of drinking and driving such as those put on by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), the actual incidence of alcohol-related arrests has decreased. On the other hand, the rate of medicated drivers on the roadways has increased, so it just makes sense for DUI-drug arrests and charges to increase as well.
Does the state have a case?
Along with the number of drivers operating motor vehicles under the influence of prescription medications, attorneys have observed a growing trend in DUI law whereby the frequency of DUI arrests for driving under the influence of prescription medications has increased. While alcohol was the usual reason for a DUI arrest, recent trends have indicated that police officers are expanding their arrests to include drivers impaired by prescription medications as well.
While most people are aware that they can be arrested for driving on an illegal substance such as marijuana or LSD, many of them are surprised to learn that they can be equally arrested and charged for DUI if they were driving under the influence of a lawfully prescribed medication. This can even include over the counter medications someone might take for allergies, or a cold or cough.
Surprisingly, police officers have a tremendous amount of discretion when it comes to assessing the impairment by an illegal or legal substance. They often make assumptions that are strictly based upon their field experience or instincts. Often times their assumptions are completely wrong. This is a troubling development in DUI law because at present, there aren't any studies quantifying any legal or illegal drug use with driving impairment level. What adds salt to the wound is the fact that the standardized field sobriety tests that most DUI officers are trained in are not designed to detect a person's impairment from drugs.
Cherokee County DUI Lawyer
With a prescription drug DUI case, no quantitative amount of any drug or substance creates a known level of impairment. In fact, even when the blood test shows a high level of a prescription drug in the person's system, neither a crime lab witness or a toxicologist can state that the drug level means the person was impaired. Because this is a newly developing area of law without any standards for measuring impairment, this is very valuable for the defense attorney. Fortunately for the accused, a prescription drug DUI case if much more difficult to prosecute than an alcohol-related DUI.
As a DUI law firm that focuses strictly on DUI cases, we make it our business to stay abreast of all changes to DUI laws in the state. If you have been arrested for a drug-related DUI offense, we urge you to contact us immediately. Many of such cases can be successfully argued and thereby resulting in a favorable result for our client. Call us today.
To discuss your prescription drug DUI case, contact a Cherokee County DUI attorney from the firm without delay!