Athens Prescription Drug DUI Attorney
Have You Been Charged With a DUI After Taking Prescription Medication?
Driving under the influence in Athens is illegal, but intoxication does not mean only intoxication resulting from the use of alcohol or illegal drugs. A Georgia driver may also be convicted of DUI if he or she drives while under the influence of prescription medication, if the medication affects the ability to drive safely.
If you have been charged with a DUI, an experienced Athens criminal defense lawyer can work to protect your rights. Call (706) 705-5122 for immediate help.
Types Of DUI
There are two types of DUI in Georgia: per se and less safe violations. A per se violation means that a driver’s blood alcohol content was .08 percent or more, or .02 percent or more for those under age 21, within three hours of operating a motor vehicle. These levels are determined by a breathalyzer test or blood test.
If a driver refuses to submit to breath testing, or if the intoxication is not the result of alcohol use, the driver may still be convicted of a less safe violation. A less safe violation occurs when intoxication renders a driver incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle. The intoxication may result from drugs, alcohol, or a combination of the two.
Drug intoxication means impairment due to the use either of illegal drugs, such as marijuana and other controlled substances, or of legal medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter. A driver under the influence of legal medications can be convicted of a DUI as long as the drug impairs the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle.
Georgia law specifically states that the legality of a drug is not a defense to a DUI, provided that no one shall be convicted of a DUI unless the use of the medication impairs the driver such that he or she is rendered unable to drive safely.
Driving after taking the following prescription drugs could result in a DUI:
- Sleeping pills
The state is likely to prosecute a prescription drug-related DUI if the driver exhibited poor driving abilities and caused an accident, or if the driver took more medication than prescribed. Further, mixing prescription medications with alcohol may have unintended effects. Even if a driver has only one drink, the combination of the drugs and alcohol may impair him or her, and, if he or she drivers, a DUI charge may result.
The consequences for those convicted of a prescription drug DUI are the same as for drunk drivers. Penalties may include jail time, fines, license suspension, mandatory community service, and DUI education programs. A driver may have an ignition interlock device installed on his or her vehicle for second and subsequent offenses. Additionally, the vehicles of habitual offenders may be seized.
Beyond the legal consequences, a DUI conviction can have social and economic ramifications. There is a social stigma against DUI charges, and though a driver under the influence of prescription medications may not be as culpable as someone who drank and drove, the criminal charges are the same. Importantly, a DUI conviction can have an effect on economic and educational opportunities.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Georgia, Athens DUI defense Attorney J. Lee Webb can defend your rights and work with the prosecution to try to get your charges reduced. Please contact us for a free initial consultation.