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What Are The Factors That Determine Prescription Drug DUI Charges?


Prescription drug DUIs are really going to come down to the driving and the level of impairment. If a police officer observes dangerous driving and there is not a good explanation for it, they are probably going to investigate a little further and see if this individual has consumed anything that would show that they seem intoxicated. If you appear to be intoxicated or impaired, they are going to investigate further into that situation. Even if you show the police officer a legitimate prescription pill bottle, you still could be charged with the DUI if they observe driving issues and if there are other indications of impairment or intoxication. If you are charged for this offense, there are many things that could be included in your sentence, for instance, you may be required to attend a driving school to work through your charges. To help your case you could voluntarily take another driving class, you will need to search for the Best Driving School in your area to see how this can be done.

Should Someone Admit to Being on Prescription Medication If They Are Pulled Over By The Police?

It is a myth that a valid prescription will avoid a DUI. I would never recommend disclosing medications you are taking to a police officer in a situation where you have been stopped in your vehicle. Like they say in TV, anything you say can and will be used against you. Obviously, if you have a medical emergency, you should disclose all your medications and medical conditions to a police officer who is trying to help you. But, if you are in a situation where you have been pulled over and there is even a possibility of a DUI, I would be very cautious about admitting anything. In that situation, you have no obligation to tell them about anything that you may have consumed.

What Does The Prosecution Have To Prove In A Prescription Medication DUI Case?

For the drug based DUIs, alleging that you are under the influence, the prosecutor has to prove that you were impaired by the drug to the extent that it rendered you incapable of driving safely. For the zero tolerance cases, all they have to prove is that the drug was in your system, and whether you were or were not intoxicated or impaired plays no part in that type of case. Having a valid prescription might be a defense to that situation, but the burden is on the person charged to prove that defense.

Are Prescription Drug DUI Cases Easier To Defend Than Alcohol Based DUI Cases?

Any type of DUI whether it is alcohol or drug based is going to be particularly difficult if there is a chemical test admitted at trial. But the drug cases where the prosecutor has to prove intoxication or impairment, those types of cases are harder for the prosecutor to prove. The regular field sobriety tests do not apply to drugs and most police officers are not trained as drug recognition experts. I have had great success in my cases involving drug DUIs and excluding evidence in these cases to the point that there is very little left for the prosecution to use.

In order for a police officer to give an opinion about drug intoxication, that officer must be qualified by the judge as an expert witness. In many of my DUI drug cases, I am able to exclude that officer opinion of intoxication as well. Of course every case is different, but these situations do give me a lot to work with in an effort to produce a not guilty verdict for my client.

What Are The Potential Penalties Involved In Prescription Medication DUI Cases?

In Illinois, prescription drug based DUIs have the same penalties as alcohol based DUIs. Most first offenses will be a Class A misdemeanor, which has a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500. Just like the alcohol based DUIs, the prescription drug DUIs have certain aggravating factors that could increase the charges to a felony. For instance, if there are prior offenses or if there was an accident involving personal injury or death.

Does A Second Time Prescription Drug DUI Case Get Affected By A First Alcohol Based DUI?

In Illinois, a second DUI is a very serious situation to be in. But the penalties are the same for a DUI whether it is alcohol or drugs and it does not matter whether the prior offense was a drug or alcohol based DUI. Just the fact that there was a prior DUI of any kind is going to be an aggravating situation and give the prosecutor an opportunity perhaps to upgrade the charges.

A DUI is a DUI whether it is based on prescription, street drugs or alcohol and every subsequent DUI is going to be the same; it is just your second DUI or your third DUI and the consequences will not be any different; it will just be your second or third offense. The basis for the first one really does not matter if it is alcohol or drugs.

For more information on Factors Determining Prescription Drug DUI Charges, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (815) 290-9170 today.

Donald N. Macneil, Esq.

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