Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs
We all take prescription drugs for different medical conditions and some people are even on regular medication for ailments such as depression, blood pressure and chronic pain. While this may be your basic necessity it can also put you at risk of being charged with DUI. There is a common myth that people on prescription drugs can’t be charged with DUI even if they are unsafe behind the wheels of a car. But the fact remains the law in Pittsburgh as elsewhere in Pennsylvania treats prescription drugs the same way as illegal drugs in DUI cases. If you or someone in your family has been charged with driving under the influence of prescription drugs, you need to immediately seek help from an expert Pittsburgh Drugged Driving Lawyer.
What You Need To Know?
As a DUI Lawyer in Pittsburgh may have already told you if you test twice the legal limit of BAC you would face the highest DUI punishment as per state laws. In such an event you can lose you license, go to jail and bear heavy penalties.
Drugged Driving Vs Drunk Driving
The laws are pretty much the same for drugged and drunken driving. Prescription drugs such as Ambien, Ativan and Xanax are known to be the reason behind most of the cases. The way the police respond to drugged driving is similar to what they do in the case of driving under the influence of alcohol. The police may pull you over when they notice erratic driving such as weaving, swerving or driving under the permissible speed limit. Once you stop they would look for physical indicants such as glassy eyes and slurred speech. They may ask you to undergo a Field Sobriety Test and blood or urine tests.
Officers will also bring in Drug Recognition Evaluators who are specially trained. They will put you through a multiple-step program to verify if you are impaired by drugs. They closely monitor pupils of eyes, measure blood pressure and pulse rate and conduct other physical examination to arrive at a conclusion. As your DUI Lawyer shall inform you, if convicted of driving under the influence of prescription drugs, you can face the highest punishment in the three-tier system in Pennsylvania. The punishment includes –
- First Offense – Up to six months in prison, fines $1,000 to $5,000, one year license suspension and enrollment in an alcohol highway safety school. You may also be ordered to undergo a treatment program.
- Second Offense – In second offence you can serve jail sentence between 90 days and five years, pay fines between $1,500 and $10,000, face 18 month license suspension and have to enroll in an alcohol highway safety school and also take a treatment program. The court would also order installation of IID for a year.
- Third Offense – This offense comes with the harshest punishments, including one to five years in prison, between $2,500 and $10,000 in fines, a license suspension of 18 months, and a treatment program. You would also need to install an IID for one year.
This conviction has lasting consequences and you would have a permanent criminal record that can come in the way of employment and increase insurance premiums. If you are involved in an accident and it results in death or injury it can complicate the matters further and you would additionally be tried in a civil court.
How to Deal With Police
- Don’t make any attempt to walk out of the arrest
- Don’t acknowledge that you have taken alcohol or drugs
- Refuse to answer their questions or give any statements without a DUI Lawyer in Pittsburgh by your side
Your Probable Defense
Though it is illegal to drive under the influence of prescription drugs your drugged driving lawyer would try and prove –
- You weren’t behind the wheel of the vehicle
- The stop wasn’t legal and the DUI checkpoint didn’t meet standards
- You weren’t impaired by your prescription drugs
- The test was not administered properly and the equipment wasn’t calibrated
How Your Lawyer Will Help You?
A seasoned Pittsburgh lawyer will provide you with the best legal counsel and offer you the strongest possible defense in the case. He/she would discredit all evidence that has been gathered against you and protect your rights.
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