Most people associate DUI arrests with alcohol or illegal drugs. However, these aren’t the only substances that can result in a DUI arrest. In fact, an officer can arrest a driver for operating a vehicle while under the influence of prescription drugs.
Prescription Drugs and Driving
It is not illegal to take prescription medication and drive. There are many types of prescription medications, and a lot of them have no affect on a person’s ability to operate a vehicle. In other words, prescription medication use does not automatically make a person an impaired driver. However, as noted above, there are circumstances under which a driver may be charged with DUI for prescription drug use.
In Georgia, a police officer must have reasonable suspicion that a driver is impaired in order to make a DUI traffic stop. Following such a stop, the officer may request that the driver take a chemical test. If the test comes back positive for certain prescription drugs, the state will likely charge the driver with DUI, regardless of whether he or she has a prescription for the substance in question. A driver can refuse chemical testing, but this can later be used against him or her in court.
Unsafe Operation of a Motor Vehicle
When determining whether to arrest a driver for a prescription drug use DUI, an officer will assess whether the medication or medications in question impaired the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle. Following an arrest for DUI, the state will determine whether to move forward with a DUI charge.
Prescription Drugs and Alcohol
Although there is no law in Georgia that forbids people from driving while on prescription medication, a person can be charged with DUI if his or her ability to drive is impaired due to the use of a prescription medication. However, police officers are often unfamiliar with what constitutes a safe amount of prescription drug use, and this often results in wrongful arrests. This is particularly true if a breath or blood test detects alcohol and prescription drugs in a driver’s system. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors often assume that even small amounts of alcohol cause dangerous impairment when mixed with prescription medications. This isn’t always the case, however, and an experienced criminal defense attorney can dispute this in court.
Contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been charged with DUI in Georgia, you need an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney on your side. At Carter Pilgrim, our experienced and talented Georgia criminal defense attorneys will review your case and determine the best legal strategy for your Georgia DUI case. We have a strong reputation in Georgia for our success in both litigation and negotiations. Therefore, if you need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney in Georgia, please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an initial consultation.