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On Behalf of | May 10, 2024

Defense for DUIs involving medications for chronic illnesses

On Behalf of | May 10, 2024 | DUI Defense

In Pennsylvania, DUI laws apply not only to alcohol but also to prescription medications. People who need these medications for chronic illnesses might still face DUI charges if police believe the medications impair their driving.

There are strategies individuals can use to defend against these charges.

Understanding prescription medication side effects

Prescription medications can have side effects that resemble alcohol impairment. Drugs for conditions like diabetes, heart disease or mental health disorders sometimes cause dizziness, drowsiness or slower reaction times. However, following a doctor’s guidance should reduce these effects. Individuals need to understand how their medications affect them and consult their healthcare provider before driving.

Collecting medical evidence

Those who face DUI charges due to prescription medications should gather their medical records, prescription information and testimony from healthcare providers. This documentation shows that the individual needs the medication for their health condition and followed their doctor’s advice. Evidence can help the court understand the necessity of these medications and their side effects.

Expert testimony

Expert witnesses, such as prescribing doctors or pharmacists, can explain to the court how the medication affects each person’s body. This testimony can show that the symptoms police noticed are typical side effects that do not significantly impair driving. Doctors can also clarify that patients often experience side effects only during the first few doses and adapt over time.

Challenging DUI tests

Field sobriety tests, commonly used to evaluate impairment, do not always accurately measure a driver’s fitness when the stop involves prescription medications. These tests detect impairment from alcohol, so they often miss the more subtle effects that different medications can have on each person. Challenging the accuracy and proper application of these tests plays an important role in defending against DUI charges.

Legal strategies

DUI lawyers understand Pennsylvania’s DUI laws and can tailor a defense to the client’s specific situation. They might prove that police did not follow proper arrest procedures or that other health conditions caused the symptoms seen during the arrest. Lawyers can also negotiate for reduced charges or dismissal.

Defending against a DUI charge when prescription medications are involved requires a tailored approach that considers both the legal and medical aspects of the case.

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