February 26, 2024

Navigating a DUI Arrest: Your Rights When Accused of Prescription Drug Impairment

As more law enforcement agencies across the state of Georgia turn to drug recognition experts to help bring impaired driving charges to motorists, it is important you know your rights when it comes to charges of prescription drug impairment.

Being accused of driving under the influence (DUI) is a daunting experience, and it becomes even more complex when prescription drugs are involved. At Clark Adams Attorney at Law, our goal is to shed light on your rights when pulled over and accused of impairment due to prescription medications. This information is crucial in navigating the legal landscape and ensuring a fair process.

Remain Calm and Compliant:

The first and foremost advice when pulled over is to remain calm and comply with the officer’s instructions. Being cooperative does not mean waiving your rights; it simply avoids escalating the situation unnecessarily.

The Right to Refuse Field Sobriety Tests:

Many people are unaware that they have the right to refuse field sobriety tests. These tests are subjective and can be influenced by various factors, including medical conditions. Politely decline, stating that you prefer to take a chemical test at the police station or a medical facility.

Not only that, but the three National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) so-called “standardized” field sobriety tests (Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, Walk and Turn, and One-Leg Stand) have never been validated for drugs.

Understanding Prescription Drug DUI:

DUI laws often focus on alcohol, but driving under the influence of prescription drugs is equally significant. However, proving impairment due to prescription medications is complex, as effects vary among individuals. It’s crucial to highlight that having a valid prescription does not exempt you from a DUI arrest, but it is a factor that should be considered in your defense.

In addition, merely driving with prescription medication in your system is not illegal and, unlike alcohol, the level of medication cannot be equated to impairment.

The Implied Consent Law:

In many jurisdictions, there is an implied consent law, meaning that by obtaining a driver’s license, you automatically agree to chemical testing if arrested for DUI. However, this does not mean you must consent to a roadside breathalyzer for prescription drug-related DUI. You have the right to request a blood or urine test, which is more accurate in detecting the presence of certain medications.

Invoke Your Right to Remain Silent:

Remember that you have the right to remain silent. While it’s crucial to provide necessary identification and cooperate during the traffic stop, you are not obligated to answer questions about your medical history or the medications you are taking. Politely state that you would like to consult with an attorney before answering any questions related to your prescription drugs, and contact our office.

Consult an Attorney Early in the Process:

Seeking legal representation early is essential. We are here to guide you through the legal proceedings, help you understand the specific laws in your jurisdiction, and build a robust defense tailored to your situation. We can also advise you on how to handle interactions with law enforcement.

The Importance of Documentation:

If you are taking prescription medications, keep detailed records of your prescriptions, dosage, and any side effects. This documentation can be crucial in establishing that you were taking the medication as prescribed and not abusing it. It serves as evidence to support your case.

Challenging the Arrest:

DUI arrests based on prescription drug impairment can be challenged. Factors such as the officer’s lack of training in recognizing drug impairment, inaccuracies in testing procedures, or medical conditions that mimic impairment should be explored to strengthen your defense.

Clark Adams Is Your Best Defense For A Prescription Drug DUI

Facing a DUI arrest involving prescription drugs is a serious matter, but knowing and exercising your rights is paramount. Remaining calm, refusing unreliable field sobriety tests, understanding the implied consent law, and consulting with a DUI attorney are key steps in navigating this challenging situation. By being informed and proactive, individuals can better protect their rights and work towards a fair resolution in their case. Contact our office today if you are in need of legal representation.