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DUI for Prescription Drugs: Forsyth County DUI Lawyer

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in Georgia and it is most commonly associated with alcohol consumption.

However, in Georgia, you can get a DUI (see O.C.G.A. § 40-6-391) for prescription drugs. It happens a lot; there are many DUI-drugs arrests made in Forsyth County.

As Forsyth County DUI lawyers, we wanted to take a closer look at prescription drug DUI, also known as simply DUI drugs.

Understanding DUI Laws in Georgia

In Georgia, DUI laws extend beyond alcohol to include any substance that impairs a person's ability to drive safely, including prescription medications. The key factor is whether the substance affects your ability to operate a vehicle safely, regardless of whether it's legally prescribed.

Prescription Drugs and DUI

While prescription medications are legal when taken as prescribed, they can still impair your ability to drive. Georgia law focuses on impairment rather than the specific substance causing it. Therefore, if a prescription drug affects your ability to drive safely, you can be charged with a DUI.

Prosecution Challenges

Proving impairment from prescription drugs can be challenging for prosecutors. Unlike alcohol, where specific blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels determine intoxication, there's no standardized test for the impairment caused by prescription drugs. Prosecutors often rely on the arresting officer's observations, field sobriety tests, and expert testimony to make their case.

Implied Consent

Georgia has an implied consent law, meaning that by obtaining a driver's license, individuals consent to chemical testing if arrested for DUI. This includes breath, blood, or urine tests. Refusing these tests can result in license suspension.

Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

Certain prescription drugs are more likely to lead to impairment and, subsequently, a DUI charge. Frequently abused prescription drugs include: opioids/narcotics/pain relievers (Dilaudid, Lorcet, Lortab, OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Tylox, Vicodin); Depressants (benzodiazepines, tranquilizers, barbiturates, sedatives, including Librium, Valium, Xanax); and stimulants (such as Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin). These drugs can affect a person's ability to drive safely. It's crucial to be aware of potential side effects and to follow prescription guidelines.

Defenses Against Prescription Drug DUI Charges

  • If charged with a DUI for prescription drugs in Georgia, there are potential defenses:
  • Medical Conditions: Some medical conditions may mimic the effects of impairment. A medical expert can provide testimony to support this defense.
  • Improper Stop or Arrest: If law enforcement did not have a valid reason to stop or arrest you, it could be grounds for dismissal of charges.
  • Prescription Use: If you have a valid prescription, it can serve as evidence that you were using the medication as directed by a medical professional – while not a great legal defense, sometimes this can sway a prosecutor to a better outcome.

Legal Defense for DUI Drugs

While prescription drugs are legal when taken as prescribed, their potential to impair driving means you can be charged with a DUI in Georgia.

Understanding the Georgia's DUI laws, implied consent, and potential defenses is crucial for individuals using prescription medications. As the legal landscape evolves, staying informed is the best way to navigate the gray area of DUI laws and prescription drugs in Forsyth County. If in doubt, always consult with a legal professional to ensure you are aware of your rights and responsibilities.

When you need a local Forsyth County DUI lawyer, call us immediately!

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