DeKalb County DUI Attorney
Prescription Drugs & DUI
At the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson, we have been defending DUI cases for nearly twenty years. Our founding DeKalb County DUI attorney Mr. Lawson has resolved more than 4,500 cases and has served as lead counsel at the jury trials and motions of hundreds of Georgia DUI cases. In his years in practice, he has helped over 4,000 Georgians retain their driving privileges despite the
DUI charges they were facing.
In the last few years we have seen more DUI cases than in the early years of our practice. We are aware of the fact that an increased percentage of our population is medicated at any given time. One reason for this is that people are living longer these days than in previous generations. As our aging population grows older, their medical needs increase accordingly. Another reason is the growing number of people taking medications for conditions such as anxiety, ADHD, depression and insomnia. So, naturally the more people that are medicated, the more susceptible they are of a DUI-drug arrest.
We are aware of the anti-drinking and driving campaigns put on by local law enforcement and other organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD). These awareness campaigns have led to a decrease of the numbers of drunk drivers on the road. Where on the other hand, there has actually been an increase in the numbers of people driving under the influence of prescription or over-the-counter medications.
DeKalb County Prescription Drug & DUI Defense Lawyer
In recent years, a growing trend in DUI law is the increase in DUI arrests for driving under the influence of drugs. Although alcohol is assumed as the primary reason for a DUI case, recent trends have shown that police officers are expanding their assessment of drivers to include those who are impaired by prescription or illegal drugs as well.
While most people are aware that they can be arrested for driving under the influence of an illicit drug, many people are not aware of the fact that driving on their prescription medication can lead to a DUI arrest and conviction as well. This is not limited to prescribed medications; it also includes over-the-counter medications for colds, coughs and allergies. Additionally, in some cases the combination of a prescription medication and an over-the-counter medication can cause impairment.
Police officers have a large amount of discretion when it comes to assessing for impairment by a drug. Many of them make assumptions or conclusions based upon their field experience or opinion, and often times these conclusions are wrong. This is a worrisome development of DUI law because to date, there haven’t been any studies quantifying any illegal or legal drug use with driving impairment. What’s more, the standardized field sobriety tests used on the roadside are not designed to detect drug impairment. There are only a very small percentage of police officers that have any relevant training in detecting whether or not someone is under the influence of an illegal or illegal drug that impairs driving ability.
Unlike alcohol-related DUI cases, with DUI-drug cases no quantitative amount of any drug or substance creates a known level of impairment. It truly is a newly developing area of law that can prove valuable to the defense. In fact, even if a blood test shows a high level of a prescription medication in the person’s system, a crime lab witness or a toxicologist cannot state that the drug level impaired the driver. DUI-drug cases are much more difficult for the state to prove since this area of DUI law is rather undeveloped and lacking scientific research to back it up. Until more studies are conducted, this gray area of the law can be used to the client’s full advantage in court.
To discuss your defense options, contact a DeKalb County prescription drug & DUI lawyer from the firm today.