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Benefit from the Experience of Attorneys Bill and Valerie Sherman Former Assistant Attorney General, Assistant County Attorneys and Magistrate Judge

I got a DUI on prescription drugs, why?

Question:  I had back surgery because I fell off of a roof and I was given pain meds by my doctor. I don’t do illegal drugs and I rarely drink and I can’t believe that I got a DUI last weekend. The cop actually charged me with a DUI because he said I was on drugs. But I thought you could only get a DUI from illegal drugs like pot, meth, cocaine, or heroin. Now I need a Cobb County DUI lawyer to get me out of trouble and that’s why I’m writing to you.

I don’t do illegal drugs and so I don’t think I should get a DUI from drugs that my doctor told me I had to take. The doctor said I can take them so I don’t feel the pain from the surgery and they can help me fall asleep at night. I mean, he’s a doctor so I have to listen to him. He’s no meth dealer.

I was driving in Cobb County when I got stopped by the police for failure to maintain lane. The cop saw me swerve, which I did. I swerved because it was late, I worked all day and I was really tired. I also had a couple of beers, but I didn’t tell the cop, and he didn’t ask about them. I do think the brews made me tired, particularly because I was on my meds.

I admitted to the Cobb County cop that I was on meds, and I think that’s where I got into trouble; I don’t think he liked it. The cop asked to see the bottle with the pills and I showed it to him. I thought he’d let me go, but he didn’t.

He made me get out of the car and do tests. I think I looked decent, but I stumbled twice. Then he arrested me for DUI. I couldn’t believe it because I had a couple of beers and I just took the meds.

I’m no drug addict or drug dealer and I don’t drink booze or beer much. How can I get charged with DUI when I was taking pills my doctor gave me? My doctor’s no drug dealer or anything.

C.M. in Smyrna, GA

Answer:  With the prevalence of prescription medications in our society, the charge of DUI-Drugs is increasingly common. People take drugs for many medical conditions, including for pain management, depression, anxiety, and many other ailments.

These legal drugs, even taken as prescribed by a physician, can cause someone to be a less safe driver and get charged with DUI. In fact, under Georgia law, if an individual is a less safe driver because they ingested any substance (alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription meds), they can be charged with and convicted of DUI.

Many medications (even some that can be purchased inexpensively over-the-counter) when mixed with alcohol can cause severe reactions. These reactions can include vomiting, nausea, fainting, and headaches.

As local DUI lawyers, the best advice we can give is to understand exactly how a medication affects you before driving your car.

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