If you take any type of medication prescribed by your physician, you need to know whether taking it regularly can affect your driving ability. Even if you have proof that your medication was approved by a doctor, it won’t help if you are stopped by a police officer who then goes on to arrest you for driving while intoxicated. Florida’s DUI / DWI offense covers many types of drugs, including alcohol, marijuana, and a variety of legal and illegal drugs and prescription medications. The bottom line is that the law thinks that it has proof that you were impaired, i.e. incapable of driving safely, when you were in control of a vehicle.
Types of medication that can impair driving ability
Generally, all medication that could affect your driving ability should be clearly labeled on the packet or bottle where the pills or capsules are packed. It might take the form of a picture, such as someone looking sleepy, or stated in words. Ignorance of the effects of a particular medication cannot be used as an excuse by a driver if the driver has been using medication with clearly defined warning labels, or has been given specific instructions from the physician or pharmacist. That includes the small number of people who are using marijuana for medical purposes.
In fact, patients who use medical marijuana but are careful to not use it before they drive can still test positive for marijuana long after they actually consumed it. This is because marijuana is fat soluble rather than water soluble (like alcohol). Traces of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, remain in the body’s tissue for long periods, even if they are no longer having any effect on pain sensation.
Defense against a DUI charge if you have been taking prescribed medication
Police officers usually only charge a driver for drug or medication use if there has been an advertised DUI stop or the driver has been stopped for some other traffic related reason. An attorney can get a charge of DUI dismissed if it can be shown that there was no reasonable cause for stopping and interrogating the driver.
Drivers cannot be charged with DUI just because they have been taking legally prescribed medication. A drug test may very well reveal the presence of a legally prescribed drug, but that test cannot be used as evidence of impairment unless there is proof that the driver’s actions were erratic, or the responses the driver made to questions by the officer who stopped them appeared to show impairment. This sort of evidence tends to be quite subjective and can be challenged in court by a good defense attorney. The alleged ‘impaired response’ by a particular driver may also be the effects of fatigue or anxiety caused by the interrogation procedure
If you have been charged with a DUI offense that is related to a legally prescribed drug or medication, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. It is not sensible to try and talk your way out of a DUI charge. It is your right to stay silent apart from giving your name and address until you have access to your attorney. In Miami, contact renowned DUI attorney, Albert Quirantes Esq. You can call him at his law firm office at 305-644-1800.
Albert Quirantes: Your Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer & DUI Lawyer
For over 30 years, Miami criminal defense attorney Albert M. Quirantes has been aggressively and zealously defending the rights of those accused of felony and misdemeanor crimesthroughout South Florida. With his dedicated team, reasonable legal fees, and a well-earned reputation for challenging prosecutors at every turn, he has protected over 8,000 clients during some of the roughest times of their lives.
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If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: (305) 644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.