Virginia Prescription Drug DUI Charges
There are two things that have to exist for a person to face Virginia prescription drug DUI charges. The first is the government has to prove that they were operating a motor vehicle. The second is that they will have to prove that that person was under the influence of some drug or a combination of drugs and alcohol to a degree that impaired their ability to drive. A skilled drug lawyer can craft a defense that disproves the government’s case. If you face prescription drug DUI charges, get in touch with an attorney who will advocate for you.
How Does Awareness of Side Effects Impact a Case
If a person truly had no reason to believe or to know that they were taking a drug or a combination of drugs that would produce a side effect, then they may be able to use that as a defense in the case. Important details are going to be whether they had ever taken the drug before, whether they have ever taken that combination of drugs before, and whether they have ever received a warning either from their doctor or from the pharmacist about the potential effects or side effects of the use of that drug.
Necessity of Medication
If a person needs medication to function, that is not going to provide a defense to them when facing Virginia prescription drug DUI charges, if they are taking so much of that drug that impairs their ability to drive. The DUI laws are written with the idea of keeping the public safe from anyone who is driving under the influence. Simply asserting that the person needs that drug to function normally is not going to be a defense if the amount of drug that is found to be in their system impaired them to the degree that it was unsafe for them to drive.
Role of a Drug Recognition Expert
In the case of a prescription drug, they will in some cases be able to rely on the amount of that drug in the person’s system depending on what the drug is. But in most cases, they are going to have to rely on an expert witness to explain to the court the effects of that drug and how much of that drug is going to be needed in order to make a person unsafe for driving and under the influence for purposes of Virginia law.
The government is going to need an expert in any prescription drug DUI case where the drug is something other than one of the drugs under the Virginia code where there is a maximum amount that a person can have in their system. That is the majority of prescription drugs. That person’s role is going to be to explain to the court what the effects of that drug are and what the specific level of that drug in the defendant system means or meant on the night that they are accused of operating the vehicle while they have that drug on their system.
Role of an Attorney
If someone is facing Virginia prescription drug DUI charges, it is important to provide any prescriptions or other information that the person has regarding drugs that they were taking on the occasion that the person was charged with the DUI. Then the lawyer can understand what was in the person’s system and begin preparing a defense, which may involve some of those prescription drugs. That is not always going to provide a defense, but in many cases, it can. It is important to share that information with their attorney early on so they can evaluate that. With all of the facts of the case, your lawyer can begin crafting a solid defense.