DC Prescription Drug DUI Lawyer

Prescription drugs are defined as any controlled substance which can legally be consumed by a person with the approval of a licensed medical professional. Even though a person may have the legal ability to be able to consume drugs, such as OxyContin or prescription sleeping pills, the consumption of those pills or medication can also result in a person being charged and convicted with driving under the influence if it can be proven that the substance impaired that individual’s ability to drive.

For this reason, even if the prescription drugs were valid and obtained through legal means, a DC prescription drug DUI lawyer may still be necessary in order to build a defense and ensure the harm of the offense is mitigated as much as possible. To learn more or discuss how a DUI drug lawyer in DC can benefit you, call and schedule a consultation today.

Elements of a Prescription Drug DUI

For a person to be charged with driving under the influence of prescription drugs, the prosecutor needs to be able to prove that the person was in physical control of the vehicle and that at the time that they were in physical control of the vehicle they were impaired to any appreciable degree by the consumption of a controlled substance, which could include prescription drugs.

Even if the person had a valid prescription for the medication, driving after consuming that medication can still result in the same driving under the influence charge as if they consumed alcohol. This is true as long as the prosecutors can prove those prescription medications had any impairing effect on the person’s ability to drive the vehicle. 

Mitigating Factors

Although a person can still be charged with driving under the influence even if they have a prescription, the presence of a legal prescription can be used by an experienced DC prescription drug DUI lawyer at trial to mitigate the penalties and present their client in a more sympathetic light. This is in contrast to someone without a valid prescription who is likely to get far less sympathy from the judges and the prosecutor.

Proving Impairment in Prescription Drug Cases

If the police believe a person is driving under the influence of some kind of prescription drug, as a part of their on-scene investigation they could call in a drug recognition expert. A drug recognition expert has training in how to recognize if a person might be under the influence of certain kinds of prescription drugs. That drug recognition expert would look for certain clues of impairment which they believe are associated specifically with certain kinds of medications.

That drug recognition expert would then also be called to testify in the person’s DUI trial as to their background and training to recognize impairment by certain controlled substances, and what evidence they believe supports the contention that the person was driving under the influence of that specific type of controlled substance.

Penalties for Prescription Drug Charges

The penalties for driving under the influence of a prescription drug are the same as the penalties for any other driving under the influence charge. For a first offense this means a person would face a maximum penalty of 180 days in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, or both, making it imperative a prescription drug DUI lawyer in DC is contacted as soon as possible.

Additionally, if a person is alleged to be under the influence of a Schedule I drug, then that person could be facing a mandatory-minimum sentence of 10 days of jail time, even on a first offense. 

Should You Provide Your Attorney With Your Medical Information and Prescriptions?

It is very important for a DC prescription DUI lawyer to be aware of any medical issues, as well as any medications a person was taking when they were arrested for driving under the influence. An attorney will need to consider whether the evidence obtained by the police is consistent with the consumption of that medication, or may have been caused by some other medical issue which would not result in a person being convicted of driving under the influence.

Sometimes there can be confusion between a person being impaired by the consumption of prescription drugs and a person showing symptoms of an underlying medical issue. A person cannot be charged with driving under the influence if they were impaired as a result of an underlying medical issue, as opposed to impairment by the consumption of prescription drugs meant to treat a medical issue.

Knowing the difference between the two is very important so that an attorney can understand the nature of a person’s medical history and determine if any defenses to the prosecutor’s allegations exist in a defendant’s medical history.

Preparing a Defense

A DC prescription drug DUI lawyer would need to have copies of a person’s prescriptions and any medical reports showing the person needs those prescription drugs, in order to be able to discuss any relevant issues with the prosecutor.

That medical history could hold the key to a defense against an allegation of driving under the influence, so it is important for a person charged with driving under the influence to discuss any medical issues with their lawyer, and provide any relevant documentation. This allows the lawyer to fully understand those medical issues and possibly consult with the person’s doctor to establish any possible defenses to the allegation of driving under the influence.

DC Criminal Lawyer

DC Criminal Lawyer
Shawn Sukumar Attorney at Law
1826 Jefferson Pl NW

Washington DC 20036