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Impaired Driving: Prescription Drug Use Can Lead to DUI Accusation

Written by Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law on May 5, 2016

We often think of DUIs as a charge related to drunk driving and forget that DUI charges are about driving while impaired. This means that you can be arrested for driving while using drugs prescribed to you by your doctor. Florida DUI laws focus on driving while under the influence of any unnatural substance. This includes prescription drugs. There are no special prescription drug exceptions. If you take prescription drugs regularly you should understand how Florida views drugged driving and the possible consequences of a DUI conviction.

What is Drugged Driving?

Florida law defines DUI as driving or controlling a vehicle while impaired beyond your normal faculties. Your normal faculties include sight, hearing, walking, speaking, determining distances, driving your car, responding to emergencies, and performing routine mental/physical acts. In order to ensure a DUI conviction, a prosecutor must demonstrate that the accused faculties were impaired or prove the accused had a blood alcohol level, or BAC, of .08 or higher.

Drugged Driving Charges are Complex

Drugged cases are complex and can prove difficult for prosecutors. This is because it can be difficult to prove a defendant’s intoxication levels at the time of arrest. There is no breathalyzer test that an arresting officer can administer on site. Furthermore, there may be no smell or other clues that a person is using prescription drugs. Finally, there is no set standard similar to the .08 BAC for measuring the levels of prescription drugs in the human body. What may be just enough for one person maybe too much for another.

What Types of Prescription Drugs Can Cause a DUI Charge?

There are many drugs which when used as prescribed or abused may lead to a DUI charge and conviction. There are many drugs which may cause drowsiness, impaired motor function, or clearly warn the user to avoid driving. Improper use of these drugs may result in a DUI accusation. Common prescription drugs which may cause impairment include:

  • Valium,
  • Oxycodone,
  • Vicodin,
  • Prescription sleeping pills and
  • Some drugstore medications.

What are the Penalties for Drugged Driving?

Judges have a number of penalties available for those convicted of drugged driving. The exact penalty will depend on the circumstances of the crime, however, penalties include:

  • A fine of up to $1000;
  • 50 hours of community service;
  • Up to one year of probation;
  • Six months in jail;
  • License suspended for at least 180 days
  • DUI Driver Education and counseling
  • Victim awareness class
  • Impoundment of vehicle.

Seek Help From an Attorney

Florida DUI law does not make an exception for driving while using drugs. Since it is more difficult to determine whether a driver was under the influence of drugs or other medication. If you are facing drugged driving charges you need to contact the DUI defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth, we can review the facts of your case and provide you with the best defense possible. Call us today at 407-377-0150 to schedule an appointment.

Posted Under: DUI

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