In the past, alcoholic consumption was the bases for “DUI” (Driving Under Influence) charges and a possible conviction for persons who became impaired while operating a motor vehicle. However, it has become increasingly common for convictions for persons who can’t maintain proper, safe control of their vehicle while taking prescription medications.
Traditionally, courts have only given drivers who drank liquor and failed to pass sobriety checks (which may have included blood-alcohol tests and assessment of physical abilities, such as walking a straight line) a conviction for DUI. But now, the fines and arrests can be just as severe when prescription drugs, such as Xanax,Valium, Oxycontin or Percocet are found to be the cause.
Drivers who are required to take medicines that may impair abilities usually will have a label affixed to the bottle or package that clearly states that it may cause drowsiness and that they shouldn’t drive or operate dangerous machinery while taking it. Courts, for the most part, do not want to listen to the excuse that the consumer didn’t see or understand the instructions. The offender will receive the same punishment as a drinker, making this, a notable change.
Convictions for Prescription Drug Use
Until recently, courts had a more difficult task of convicting for prescription DUI guilt,according to laws. The question would undoubtedly arise as to whether the defendant was blameworthy or was simply following directions that were given him or her by a licensed physician.
Of course, it is virtually impossible to know what the court or a jury will decide, however, it is becoming overwhelmingly the standard to have the same convictions as alcoholic offensives incur.
Today,it is virtually a non-factor when prescriptions are the cause of the motor vehicle incident in terms of culpability. This places prescription drugs on equal terms with alcohol as being blameworthy. Furthermore, there are a great deal of similarities in what medicine takers divulge when they are observed by law enforcement. Examples are plentiful. Both types can leave their consumers with the inability to perform tasks that the law officer asks them to do.
These tasks include walking in a straight path. If a person is normally healthy, this should be no problem, but those under the influence may not be capable of executing this command. Again, there is no difference in the offender’s behavior and there is also no difference in how they are prosecuted. The courts no longer have to consider if it is a result of prescriptions.
Police Officers and Limited Liability
An officer has limited ability to tell the difference between who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Now, an officer doesn’t have to make that distinction, both types can be prosecuted using the same standards. He is free to simply observe what the offender is doing and leave further inquiries to someone else. A person under influence is generally going to act the same, regardless of the cause.
Both will typically fail a walking test, as mentioned. They may have slurred speech and be incapable of answering questions. An officer may ask where the suspect lives, what he or she has been doing for the past hour, if they have consumed alcohol or prescription drugs, and what their birth date is, for example.
These questions are very important for observing if the words seem coherent (make sense),and are articulated without noticeable difficulty. Impairment is going to be virtually the same for alcohol and prescription or illegal drugs.
If any of the aforementioned occur ,then an arrest will be inevitable and conviction may be unavoidable. It is in the suspect’s general deportment and ability to perform physical tasks that are key to determination. Therefore, the conclusion is that there is little difference in observable behavior between a DUI caused by alcohol and one caused by prescription or illegal drugs.
Christopher Steven is an avid blogger who is passionate about spreading awareness and encouraging safety for all communities while working with Tulsa DUI Lawyer, Zach Smith, also know as The Tulsa DUI Guy, in his own community to educate and promote safety and accident prevention.