Prescription Drugs and DUIs

A woman recently had a driving under the influence charge from May 2016 dropped. The incident in question occurred when the woman was pulled over by a law enforcement officer due to an issue with the woman’s vehicle’s tag. When the law enforcement officer asked the woman if she was using drugs, the woman responded that she was taking prescription medication that was authorized by her doctor.

The woman then informed the law enforcement officer that none of the drugs contained warnings preventing the woman from driving. The law enforcement officer proceeded to perform a field sobriety test which resulted in the arrest of the woman. Over two hundred individuals have signed a petition calling for the district attorney to perform a formal criminal investigation of the law enforcement officer in question.

This article highlights some key information that individuals who take prescription medication should understand about driving under the influence charges. Although many individuals take lawfully prescribed medications every day and there are no laws against driving while taking your medication, there are laws in existence about driving under the influence of drugs.

Applicable Georgia Law

The law in Georgia regarding driving under the influence of drugs is particularly broad and applies to a variety of types of drugs. Georgia law prohibits an individual from driving or being in actual control of any moving vehicle while under the influence of any drug to such a degree that it is less safe for the individual to operate the vehicle.

The fact that an individual is or has been entitled to use a drug does not constitute a defense against any charge of violating this type of law. As a result, individuals who operate motor vehicles while under the influence of prescription might be illegally operating the motor vehicle because the prescription drugs might lessen the individual’s motor skills and functional capacity.

The Symptoms and Detection of Prescription Drug Use

Prescription drugs have the ability to create a significant range of symptoms in an individual. Some drugs, like opioids. have the potential to slow a driver’s reaction time and reduce a driver’s attention. Other drugs, including Benzodiazepine medications, can increase the risk of accidents.

Georgia law enforcement is trained to examine a motorist’s eyes and physical behavior for any suggestion that the individual is operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs. The four main eye tests that law enforcement performs, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are:

  • Tracking ability,
  • Pupil size,
  • Side to side-eye jerking, and
  • Up and down eye jerking.

Other prescription medications turn up on blood tests, but just because a driver’s blood tested positive for a drug class does not mean that it was less safe for a driver to operate a vehicle.

Contact a Skilled Atlanta DUI Attorney

If you are being charged with any type of driving under the influence charge in the Atlanta area, you likely require the services of a talented DUI attorney who can make sure that your case resolves favorably. Do not hesitate to contact Yeargan & Kert today.