Accident DUI Based on Prescription Drugs
Prescription drugs can alter your judgment or make you sleepy. While drunk driving is the most common type of accident DUI, driving on prescription drugs is also dangerous and increases the risk that you will get into an accident that causes injuries or death. If you are charged with an accident DUI based on prescription drugs in Arizona, you should consult an experienced Phoenix drug DUI lawyer. James E. Novak is a former prosecutor who understands how to put his insights about prosecution toward developing a strong defense to accident DUI charges.Accident DUI Based on Prescription Drugs
Accident DUIs may involve commonly prescribed drugs, including Valium, Percocet, Oxycodone, Vicodin, Ambien, Xanax, and Morphine. Any of these drugs can make it hard for a driver to navigate, and they can also cause the driver to be excessively drowsy or fall asleep behind the wheel. You may have assumed that DUI charges are only brought against drunk drivers, but in Arizona, you can be convicted of a DUI if you operate your car under the influence of a prescription drug if you are impaired to the slightest degree while driving. You can be convicted of a DUI even if you had a prescription for the prescription drugs if you drove and the prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were impaired to the slightest degree.
The penalties for a prescription drug DUI are particularly harsh if you get into an accident, and they are even harsher if a minor was also in the car. It is important for parents not to take anti-anxiety prescription drugs, pain medications, or sleeping pills while operating a vehicle. You can face not only criminal penalties, such as imprisonment, but also a civil personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit brought by someone who has been injured in the accident or the family of somebody killed as a result of an accident DUI.
The penalties for an accident DUI based on prescription drugs can be harsh. For a prescription drug DUI that is a first offense, you can face misdemeanor charges, which carry up to 6 months in jail as well as fines and a license suspension if you are convicted. However, the consequences of an accident DUI are harsher, even if it is a first-time offense, particularly if somebody is injured or killed. You may be charged with aggravated assault for an accident that causes injuries, or you may be charged with negligent homicide, manslaughter, or second-degree murder if you cause a death due to driving under the influence of prescription drugs.
Depending on the specific charges, you could face years in prison and substantial fines. You will likely need to perform community service and pay to have an ignition interlock device installed on your car. You will also face the stigma of having a criminal record, which means that it can be harder to get a job, impossible to get certain professional licenses, and difficult to secure housing. The penalties will be harsher if it is your second offense.
Prescription drugs, like other drugs, often leave metabolites in your body after the liver breaks down a drug. Sometimes these metabolites are prohibited under A.R.S. 28-1381(a)(3). You can be charged with a DUI if you take a prescription medication, and its metabolites are both prohibited and found in your system at the time that you have an accident.
As with other DUI charges, you may have strong defenses available. It may be possible to challenge the charges by showing that the police violated your constitutional rights, such as when you are not given a Miranda warning after being taken into custody, and the prosecutor is trying to use your statements against you. Your attorney may also be able to challenge the admission of any inappropriately obtained blood or urine samples.Consult a DUI Defense Attorney in Phoenix or Surrounding Cities
Accident DUIs are serious. Often, somebody has been hurt or killed, and this is why the police come out to the scene and discover that a driver may have been impaired by prescription drugs. It is crucial to retain an experienced lawyer if you are suspected of causing an accident DUI based on prescription drugs. James E. Novak represents defendants throughout the Phoenix area, including in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and elsewhere in Maricopa County. Contact James Novak at (480) 413-1499 or via our online form.