To be convicted of a prescription drug DUI charge, the prosecution must prove that the defendant was under the influence of a prescription drug to the extent that they were rendered incapable of driving the vehicle safely. The individual must have a legitimate doctor’s script to be using that drug, otherwise, they will also be given a charge for the unlawful possession of a controlled substance. If you have received these types of charges, know that a professional Atlanta prescription drug DUI lawyer can help. Read on to learn more about how a dedicated defense attorney could act in your best interests today.Types of Drugs and Their Side Effects
Examples of prescription drugs that are most commonly involved in DUI cases include substances that are usually used to treat anxiety, depression, or pain. They often result in lethargy and induce a state of mind that could potentially affect one’s reflexes. These drugs could include Xanax, Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, and Codeine. Benzodiazepines, opiates, and amphetamines are also known to cause these types of side effects.
It is important to take into account the fact that even if an individual has a lawful prescription for a drug and is using the correctly recommended dosages, they could still be charged with a DUI if it impaired their ability to drive safely. In Georgia, attorneys cannot use the fact that an individual did not know about a drug’s side effects as a defense strategy against this charge. For this reason, it can be imperative to gain legal protection from an experienced Atlanta prescription drug DUI lawyer as soon as possible following an accusation.Potential Penalties
The penalties for a prescription drug DUI will be the same as an alcohol-related driving offense, including the loss of one’s driver’s license, obligatory community service, and jail time. A conviction for a second offense within 10 years will yield a minimum period of three days in jail and 240 hours of community service, in addition to attending a counseling and treatment program.
The biggest difference in these penalties is that the charge cannot be aggravated by one’s BAC level, as there will not be any alcohol in the defendant’s system. Rather, the case will be affected if the individual was not in possession of a legitimate doctor’s script to take the drug they were allegedly impaired by. Know that a skilled Atlanta prescription drug DUI lawyer could fight against these penalties through aggressive representation in court.Importance of an Atlanta Prescription Drug DUI Lawyer
Prescription drug DUI charges can often be more serious than alcohol-related offenses because a conviction can lead to a six-month driver’s license suspension with no work permit. To potentially avoid this consequence, an individual will need the assistance of a qualified Atlanta prescription drug DUI lawyer as soon as possible to help fight for their defense. A dedicated attorney can gather evidence, interview key witnesses, and skillfully advocate on a defendant’s behalf. If you have received accusations for a prescription drug DUI, do not hesitate to reach out to a professional defense attorney today for your initial consultation.
Law enforcement must take many steps when proving Atlanta prescription drug DUI offenses, as all criminal offenses bear the highest burden of proof under constitutional law. To do so, they will often retain the expertise of a drug recognition expert while performing a myriad of sobriety tests to be used as evidence against a defendant. Read on to learn more about what goes into proving Atlanta prescription drug DUI offenses, as well as the ways a skilled defense attorney could fight for your rights today.Drug Recognition Experts
When proving Atlanta prescription drug DUI offenses, an officer may call upon a drug recognition expert for assistance after or during an arrest. A drug recognition expert (DRE) has been trained to recognize the signs or effects of the use of prescription drugs and what they are supposed to do. They will classify the class of the drug and its side effects. They will run a driver through a 12-part test to determine if the drug impaired them while behind the wheel. DRE’s will usually have much more training than the average police officer.Evaluation Process
The DRE evaluation has 12 major components or steps when proving Atlanta prescription drug DUI offenses. The first step in the drug evaluation process is to perform a breath alcohol test. They give a handheld breath test on the side of the road to determine if alcohol was involved in the case. Then the arresting officer on the scene is supposed to interview the driver to make some sort of determination as to what could possibly be impairing them.Preliminary Investigation
Then they perform a preliminary investigation involving questions, eye examinations, and whether they are unsteady on their feet. The next part is the examination of the eyes including the horizontal gaze nystagmus, vertical gaze nystagmus, and lack of convergence tests. These tests involve the officer observing whether the driver’s eyes cross by moving his finger in a circle and moving it towards the suspect’s nose.Sobriety Tests
The officer will then perform walk and turn tests, a one-leg stand test, a finger-to-nose test, and a Romberg head tilt. In these tests, an officer is ultimately trying to determine if the driver can balance himself. Oftentimes, officers may ask a suspect to carry out non-standardized tests such as estimating 30 seconds or reciting the alphabet backwards. They check one’s vital signs by taking the driver’s pulse, blood pressure, and body temperature.Arrest Procedures
Once the suspect is arrested, they are given their Miranda rights and taken to a dark room where the officer can take a look at their eyes and determine the pupil size in three different lighting conditions. These include room light, near total darkness, and a direct light. The officer uses these tests to tell how the pupils contract or dilate in different scenarios.
To assist in proving Atlanta prescription drug DUI offenses, the officer performs an examination for muscle tone by looking at the muscles on an individual’s arm to see if the muscles are flaccid or flexed, because oftentimes drugs can cause the muscles to tense up or become more flaccid. The officer will also check the driver’s arms for an injection site to see if they were using a needle as well as their nose to see if they have any sort of drug residue present.
They will ask the driver questions about the observations they have made at this point, and will then make an initial opinion based on their findings. The final step is to take a blood test and/or urine test. At this point, the officer will make a final determination whether or not he believes the driver is under the influence of drugs. When the blood test comes back, know that it could potentially exonerate the individual. To learn more about proving Atlanta prescription drug DUI offenses, reach out to a dedicated defense attorney today for your initial consultation.