When people hear “DUI” they usually automatically assume that alcohol was involved. But remember, DUI stands for “driving under the influence,” and that can mean under the influence of anything, including alcohol, drugs, and even prescribed medication. DUI charges can be very hard to fight, which is why you’ll want to work with a criminal defense lawyer like the ones at Ferragut Law Firm.
DUI Is NOT Just Alcohol
Alcohol is just one substance that can impair a person’s ability to drive. But it is not the only one. Driving under the influence includes driving not only under alcohol, but also illegal drugs as well as prescribed drugs. That means that if you have received a prescription from a doctor, you’re going to want to closely monitor how the drug affects you before getting behind the wheel of a car. Additionally, a prescription cannot be used as a defense to DUI charges. What this means is that if you are pulled over for driving under the influence of a legally prescribed drug, the fact that you have a prescription to be on the drug cannot be used to excuse the charges.
A 2010 survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that close to 10 million Americans had driven under the influence of illegal drugs during the previous year. According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2009, more than 18 percent of fatally injured drivers tested positive for at least one illegal or prescription drug in 2009. Another survey performed that same year by NHTSA found that one in five motorists that were killed in car crashes tested positive for drugs.
Know How Your Prescription & Over-the-Counter Drugs Will Affect You
Just because a drug is legally purchased at a pharmacy, prescribed by a doctor, or bought over-the-counter (OTC), that does not mean they are not potentially dangerous. Do your research and look at warning labels or ask your doctor or pharmacist about how the drugs you are taking could impair your driving.
Here are some effects of commonly prescribed drugs and OTC drugs:
- Antidepressants: can cause impairment similar to drunk driving.
- Valium: 10 mg of the popular tranquilizer can cause impairment similar to having a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.10 percent.
- Antihistamines: can cause slow reaction time and impair coordination.
- Decongestants: can cause drowsiness, anxiety, and dizziness.
- Sleeping Pills: residual effects can impair drivers.
- Hydrocodone: can cause impairment similar to morphine and codeine.
If you have been accused of driving under the influence, you should immediately contact a criminal defense attorney that handles DUI cases.
Criminal law covers a wide variety of topics, including DUI defense, petty theft, drug crimes, grand theft, and sex crimes just to name a few. If you have been accused of any form of crime, it is always advised that you work with a criminal law attorney like the ones at Ferragut Law Firm.
The Role of a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Because the average person does not have an understanding of the criminal justice process, which comprises a number of complex state and federal laws, it’s always advised that you work with a criminal defense lawyer.
Criminal defense lawyers assist clients as their case moves through the criminal justice process, from pre-trial and through the conclusion of the trial proceedings. In some cases, when a client suspects that they might be charged with a crime a client will make the decision to retain a lawyer before they have even been charged. If you have been involved in a criminal incident and have suspicions that you might need a lawyer, it’s best to hire one as quickly as possible as they will be able to provide you with guidance on how to proceed. The earlier an attorney is involved in a case, the more protection they can offer, and even in times ensure that a suspect does not divulge any potentially incriminating information.
A criminal defense lawyer will also be able to advise a client on if a case can even be brought against their client. In cases where there is insufficient evidence, a lawyer’s main objective will be to have the court drop the charges against a client. There are many avenues of defense that a lawyer can apply, including challenging probable cause, persuading a court to reduce or waive bail, and negotiating a plea bargain to reduce charges to a lesser crime or reduce sentencing.
The role of a criminal defense lawyer will be entirely based on the case that is presented and the type of defense that a client needs. Obtaining the help of a criminal defense lawyer early on in your case can mean the difference between guilty and not guilty.
Ferragut Law Firm Will Defend You
Ferragut Law Firm is a top rated criminal defense law firm based in Phoenix Arizona. We are dedicated exclusively to the practice of criminal law in all state, federal, and city courts throughout the State of Arizona.
Our mission is to achieve the best possible results for our clients through hard work, attention to detail, and aggressive advocacy, while maintaining the highest level of professionalism, integrity, and ethical standards.
We are committed to providing the most aggressive, professional, and effective representation for our clients accused of crimes to ensure that their legal rights are protected and that the best possible results are achieved. Contact us to discuss the details of your case.
One Renaissance Square
2 North Central Avenue, Suite #1125
Phoenix, Arizona 85004