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Can I get arrested for a DUI for prescription medication?

The answer is yes. To prove the crime of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) the prosecutor must prove two (2) elements beyond a reasonable doubt. The first is that the person drove or was in actual physical control of a vehicle. Second, that the person was under the influence of alcoholic beverages, a chemical substance, or a controlled substance to the extent that the person’s normal faculties were impaired. There are many substances, some can be legally prescribed while others would be illegal, however, both types would fall under the controlled substance category that is outlined in Florida Statute 893. Some examples of prescription medications that could lead to a DUI arrest would be Oxycontin, Xanax, or Valium. Since the offense of driving under the influence focuses on the impairment of one’s normal faculties, it is not a defense to argue that you can legally possess or consume it. Much like alcohol that can legally be consumed and possessed by many adults, it is the effects of the substance regarding impairment level that creates the issue. Prescription medications will have warning labels regarding potential side effects that a consumer should be close attention to, such as may cause drowsiness or use care when operating a motor vehicle. Understanding the effects that certain prescription medication may have on your normal faculties is a conversation worth having with your medical provider. Although a person can be arrested for a DUI based on prescription medication, the case itself may tend to be more difficult to prove from the prosecutor’s perspective. The most common type of DUI is based on impairment by alcohol, which typically involves an odor of alcohol and potentially a breath test that indicates a level of alcohol (BAC). However, in a prescription medication DUI, a person may still be requested to provide a breath sample, but if that result is below the legal level the officer will request a urine sample. An important note is that if you provide a breath sample and then are requested to provide a urine sample and you refuse your license will be suspended administratively through the DMV for that refusal. If a person provides a sample, then the prosecutor will need to have a toxicology expert to testify to those results, which would allow for cross-examination and also the possibility of the defense presenting their own expert to rebut the state’s expert. If you have been arrested for DUI it is important to know your options, your rights, and the potential defenses or motions that you may have in your specific case, at Meldon Law we have the knowledge and experience to assist you in every aspect of your case. The attorneys at Meldon Law, know the rights you have and are dedicated to defending them and defending you if you have been charged with a firearm or weapons offense call us at 352-373-8000 for a free consultation.

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