Arrested for DUI of Prescription Drugs?

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Orange County Attorney for Prescription Drug DUI

Accused of Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs?

It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, but did you know that you can still be charged with DUI for driving under the influence of legally obtained substances? Drugged driving is a form of “impaired driving” and it puts the driver, the passengers, and others who share the road at risk of serious injury and death. Many prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs can can impair their ability to drive a vehicle.

A DUI charge can happen to anyone at any time – even to those who have never been in trouble with the law before. If you are being accused of driving under the influence of prescription drugs, you should immediately contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to discuss your case with an Orange County DUI attorney.

Why Drugged Driving Is SO Dangeous

Drugged driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving, but people are less aware of the hazards of driving while under the influence of prescription medications. While each drug affects the brain differently, all drugs impair the faculties necessary to operate a vehicle safely. That said, controlled substances (illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medications) affect:

  • Motor skills
  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Attention
  • Reaction time
  • Perception
  • Judgment

Drivers beware: even small amounts of certain types of drugs can have a measurable effect on your ability to drive safely, which is why it’s illegal to drive under the influence of illegal and prescription drugs. To learn about California’s drugged driving law, we suggest reading VC Section 23153 (e).

Common Prescription Drugs in DUI Cases

Prescription drugs that are "legal" can still affect your driving and may warrant an arrest for DUID. Even cough syrup can result in a DUI. Regardless of whether they're illegal or legal -- use of drugs can compromise a person's ability to safely operate a vehicle.

Common drugs associated with prescription drug DUI include:

  • Sleep aids
  • Pain medications
  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Medical marijuana
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Opioids such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Methadone, Fentanyl, Dilaudid, and Demerol
  • CNS depressants such as pentobarbital sodium, Valium, Xanax, and other barbiturates
  • Stimulants such as dextroamphetamine, methylphenidate, and amphetamines

In the eyes of the law, although you did not break the law by possessing and consuming a legal drug, you are still a threat to the drivers, passengers, and pedestrians around you, which is why this type of DUI provides stiff penalties.

Penalties for DUI with Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug DUI can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. A first offense for DUI is punishable by three to five years of informal probation, a $1,000 fine, up to six months in jail, a driver’s license suspension of up to six months, and DUI school. However, aggravating circumstances such as property damage, excessive speed, or injuries, or previous DUI or other criminal convictions, could result in more severe penalties.

A drug DUI will stay on your criminal record for 10 years, which can be harmful to your reputation and make it difficult when seeking insurance, employment, and more. If you are arrested for DUI again in the future, a prescription drug offense will count as a previous offense, subjecting you to increased penalties.

Potential Defenses to Prescription Drug DUI:

  • Physical appearance
    A police officer may claim that you looked like you were DUI of drugs. While this may have given them probable cause to arrest you, it does not prove drugged driving on its own.
  • Chemical testing
    While chemical testing may reveal the presence of prescription drugs in your system, it does not prove that you were DUI. Many substances can stay in the body for weeks after use. If you submitted to a chemical test and the results came back positive for a prescription drug, an attorney may be able to challenge the evidence and potentially help you avoid a conviction.

Schedule a Free & Confidential Consultation

If you have been accused of prescription drug DUI in Orange County, you need a seasoned criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and liberty. Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. After a thorough analysis of the facts of your case, we can determine which defense strategy may be available to you with the goal of having your charges reduced or dismissed.

Call today to get started: (949) 537-2202.

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