In West Palm Beach, prescription drugs are referred to as controlled substances. This means someone needs to have a permission slip or a note from a doctor, saying it is okay to be have and use these drugs.
If you face accusations of substance and alcohol consumption while driving, contact a skilled DUI attorney about combatting pending consequences. An attorney can help you try to prevent the prosecution from proving West Palm Beach prescription drug DUI offenses.
Common Prescription Drug DUI Cases
When the prosecutor tries proving West Palm Beach prescription drug DUI offenses, they must first recognize the alleged substances in their claims. Common associated prescription DUID cases include opioids or painkillers, anti-depressants and, anti-anxiety.
Examples of Medicine Associated with DUI’s
Opioids include Oxycodone, OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet. Examples of anti-depression or anti-anxiety are any of the Alprazolam family such as Xanax, Lithium, Prozac, and Effexor. They are painkillers or mood-altering drugs are the most common prescription drugs that are linked to prescription drug DUIs.
Required Evidence for a DUID Charge
Proving West Palm Beach prescription drug DUI offenses requires evidence that a person has consumed prescription drugs and that consumption has impaired the person to the extent that they are not safe to drive.
The police officer, investigator, detective, or whoever is accusing the person must be able to demonstrate with evidence that the person consumed drugs, that those prescription drugs impaired the person, and that the person should not be driving. There needs to be evidence for a person to be charged with prescription drug DUI.
What is a Drug Recognition Expert?
The role of a drug recognition expert is to come into court and say, based upon their knowledge, training, and experience, that they performed a series of physical examinations on the person. They do a bunch of physical tests such as heart rate or blood pressure exams, not physical exercises but physical tests.
They are by law, allowed to come into court to testify based on their knowledge, training, and experience as a drug recognition expert. They can say they believe, in their opinion, that the person is under the influence of a prescription medication to the extent that they are impaired based on their observations.
Potential Limitations of Expert Testimony
However, the court will recognize that without a toxicology test or admission, the expert has no idea what drugs a person may be under the influence or what dosage they allegedly took. The drug recognition expert can only say whether or not they believe, in their opinion, that the person was impaired. The jury can then make a determination if they believe the expert beyond a reasonable doubt.
Proof Requirements for the Prosecution
Those attempting to convict the individual of a DUID has the burden of proving West Palm Beach prescription drug DUI offenses. The prosecution will be required to prove that the person was driving a motor vehicle under the influence of prescription medication to the extent that the person’s normal faculties were impaired. Normal faculties are considered the ability to walk, talk, judge distances, and drive a motor vehicle.
Arguing Involuntary Intoxication
One challenge the prosecution may face when proving West Palm Beach prescription drug DUI offenses is that most people do not intend to drive while under the influence. Intent or purposefulness in becoming impaired is not a defense nor is it a defense that the person was experiencing unexpected side effects.
The defense of involuntary intoxication could be used if someone spikes or drugs their drink and the individual consumes it unknowingly. If this is the case, that person had no expectations that they might be impaired, because they are not knowingly consuming drugs or alcohol.
It is only when a person did not know that they were consuming those that they might have the defense of involuntary intoxication. If someone gives a person a brownie or cookie that was infused with marijuana or prescription drugs and the person did not know that, it might be a defense that the person was involuntarily intoxicated because they did not know. The accused individual then has to prove that they did not know.