Many people commonly thing of DUI as “drunk driving” or “driving while intoxicated.” For many, that is solely associated with driving while under influence of alcohol. While alcohol related DUI offenses do make up a large portion of the DUI cases seen in the Pennsylvania criminal justice system – drug DUI charges also make up a large portion, and are commonly misunderstood. Further, prescription or not – many different drugs can lead to a DUI arrest and conviction. It is not just the “street” drugs like cocaine, marijuana and heroin that add to the DUI conviction rate.
In today’s culture, many people are prescribed controlled for a variety of ailments – some mental, some emotional and some physical. It is a common for individuals to not understand how a prescribe drug can lead to a DUI conviction.
Just because a doctor prescribed the drug, doesn’t mean it can’t lead to a drug DUI in Pennsylvania.
First, many of the drugs prescribed today are in fact drugs that may fit into the “schedules” or listing of drugs that may lead to a DUI.
Second, you need not always be “impaired” or “incapable of safely driving.” If there is enough of the drug in your system to meet the “per se” levels, the Commonwealth does not, under the law, need to prove impairment.
Third, when combined with alcohol or other drugs, the prescribed drug may impact an individual in a different way – beyond what was intended. This may lead to impairment due to the combination.
Finally, just because a doctor says “use caution when taking this drug” doesn’t mean that the levels may not rise to “per se” or cause you to be impaired.
If arrested for a drug DUI in Pennsylvania, it is important to have an experienced criminal defense and DUI attorney who will be able to analyze the levels of the drugs in your system, speak to your doctors if needed and begin to formulate a viable defense against the charges you are facing.
Contact Mike DiCindio to discuss your case today.
The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended solely for informational purposes.
Michael DiCindio is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale.