Prescription Drug DUI Under Arizona Law

Investigative Article: Is Arizona’s Prescription Drug DUI Law Just?

Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and alcohol is a serious criminal offense in Arizona, punishable by hefty fines, license suspension, and jail time. However, what about prescription drugs? Is it fair for someone to be charged with DUI when they were using medication as directed by their doctor?

The Truth Behind Prescription Drug DUI Charges

While prescription drugs, when used properly, can help manage pain or treat medical conditions, they can also impair a person’s ability to drive safely. According to Arizona law, driving under the influence of any drug, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, that impairs a person’s ability to drive is a DUI offense. In other words, if someone is pulled over by law enforcement, and their driving is impaired, the investigating officer can arrest them for a DUI.

Penalties for prescription drug DUI are similar to penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs, including jail time, fines, and the possibility of license suspension. Furthermore, the fact that a driver had a valid prescription for the medication at the time of arrest is not a valid legal defense against the DUI charges.

The Role of Drug Recognition Experts

Drug recognition experts (DRE) are law enforcement officers trained to assess whether someone is impaired by a drug and, if so, what type of drug. A DRE’s evaluation includes physical assessments, blood pressure, and pulse rate checks, and a drug influence evaluation, which includes checking the suspect’s eye movement, balance, coordination, and reaction time. If a DRE suspects that someone is under the influence of a certain drug, they may request a blood or urine test to confirm their suspicion.

However, the question remains whether DRE evaluations can effectively determine whether someone is impaired by prescription drugs. Many prescription drugs, such as those used for pain relief, have side effects such as drowsiness and dizziness, which can mimic the symptoms of impairment. Additionally, some prescription drugs can remain in a person’s system long after their therapeutic effect has worn off, which can lead to false positive DUI charges.

Defenses to Prescription Drug DUI Charges

If you are facing prescription drug DUI charges in Arizona, there are some possible defenses that you can raise. For example, you can prove that your medication was being used as directed by your doctor, and you did not realize that it could impair your ability to drive. You can also argue that the investigating officer did not have reasonable suspicion to stop you or had no probable cause to arrest you for DUI. Finally, you could challenge the validity of the DRE evaluation or the blood or urine tests to show that they were unreliable or improperly performed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I be charged with prescription drug DUI if I have a valid prescription?

Yes. Having a valid prescription for your medication does not exempt you from DUI charges if you were driving impaired at the time of your arrest.

How long can prescription drugs remain in my system?

The length of time that a drug stays in your system can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of drug, your body weight, and your metabolism. Some drugs can remain detectable in your blood or urine for up to a week or more after you take them.

Is it possible to have charges dismissed or reduced for prescription drug DUI?

Yes. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help you negotiate with the prosecutor for reduced charges or even dismissal of your case, depending on the facts and circumstances of your case.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys

At Kolsrud Law Offices, we understand how serious prescription drug DUI charges can be. Our attorneys have extensive experience defending clients against DUI charges, including prescription drug DUI charges. We know how to challenge the evidence against you, negotiate with the prosecutor, and protect your rights throughout the legal process. If you have been charged with prescription drug DUI in Arizona, contact us today for a free consultation.

Defenses, Law, Attorneys, Arizona-Prescription,Arizona



Cinnci Society News