“Are you Serious? I was arrested for DUI just for taking my medication?”
I had a person retain me recently for a DUI where the basis of the DUI was not alcohol, but her prescribed Ambien. My client’s reaction, understandably, was how can I be arrested for this when all I did was follow my Doctor’s orders? Many of us assume that DUI’s result from being drunk on alcohol or high on street narcotics (pot, hash, cocaine, etc.). It came as a surprise to my new client that, in Pennsylvania, a DUI can result from driving while impaired by a validly prescribed medication.
DUIs that result from medication create an array of issues. The statute does not delineate an object test to measure impairment. While there may be tests to determine the amount of medication in your system, there is no set standard to define how that amount of medication translates to level of impairment. What often happens is the arrest is made based on the police officer’s opinion as to how impaired the driver was.
Over my fifteen years in practice, I have vigorously defended motorists charged with Driving Under the Influence of prescription medication. I have successfully challenged the police officers’ opinions of impairment through cross examination and expert analysis provided by forensic Toxicologist. If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge relating to medication, call the Law Office of William DeNardo.