Prescription Drugs DUI in Gwinnett County
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Professionals with Philip Kim Law, P.C. present this comprehensive guide to “Prescription Drugs & DUI in Gwinnett County.” Contact us for additional information.
Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.
Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.
Published on February 01, 2023.
Gwinnett County DUI Prescription Drugs
Many people know that drunk driving is against the law and carries strict penalties and severe consequences. Avoiding driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more is practically common knowledge.
However, drugged driving charges are just as serious. According to Georgia’s DUI laws, it is forbidden to physically control any motor vehicle if the driver is under the influence of any controlled substance, alcohol, or a combination of these substances. Drivers can also be convicted of driving under the influence of drugs if there is any amount of marijuana found in the driver’s urine or blood.
When talking about drugged driving, people usually think individuals are driving under the influence of cocaine or other illegal drugs. But, often, individuals are arrested and charged for driving under the influence of their legally prescribed medications.
Controlled Substances and DUI in Georgia
A DUI involving controlled substances involves the use of scheduled drugs before getting behind the wheel. Driving under the influence of controlled substances like heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, methadone, and other scheduled drug can result in serious penalties, including jail time, fines, and a loss of driving privileges.
Drivers can also face Georgia DUI drugs charges if they are driving under the influence of glue, aerosols, or toxic vapors and if they are impaired by alcohol and prescription drugs combined. The evidence of the drug in their system can be enough. In addition, if there are drugs present in the vehicle, the driver can face additional drug charges and penalties.
Driving Under the Influence of Prescription Drugs
When building a DUI drug case, the DUI prosecutor doesn’t necessarily have to prove that the accused driver had a certain amount of prescription drugs in their system. There is no legal limit that has to be exceeded, like in the cases of drunk driving.
So, even if the driver refuses a chemical test before the arrest, the police officer can arrest them.
The arrest can be due to the arresting officer’s opinion based on the driver’s behavior. For example, erratic driving, slurred speech, dilated pupils, appearance, and behavior that indicate drug use or an admission of prescription drug use can be enough for the officer to arrest the driver.
If the driver submits to chemical testing and any amount of a controlled substance is found in their blood, they could be charged with a drug DUI. However, if you are taking prescription drugs prescribed to you legally by a medical professional, you may be facing charges only if you are rendered incapable of driving safely at the time of the arrest.
What Are the Charges for DUI Drugs in Gwinnett County?
In Gwinnett County, a driver can face a DUI less safe charge or a DUI per se charge. The only thing that has to be proven for a DUI less safe charge is that the driver appeared to be impaired, and it wasn’t safe for them to operate a vehicle.
However, if the amount of a controlled substance or marijuana found in the driver’s system after a urine or blood test exceeds the prescribed limit, it can be considered enough for a DUI per se charge. That includes the drug’s derivatives and metabolites.
Can You Get a DUI for Prescription Drugs?
Georgia DUI laws clearly state that even if someone has lawfully prescribed medications, that doesn’t constitute a valid defense against a prescription drug DUI charge. Although you may not be facing DUI drug charges per se, you could face DUI drugs less safe charges. However, these charges result can result in the same penalties.
Although no law forbids driving while taking your prescription drugs, Georgia DUI laws forbid driving while impaired on prescription medication.
DUI is a serious crime with long-reaching consequences. Even though prescription drug DUI cases are considered misdemeanors, like drunk driving, certain factors could result in harsher penalties or elevate these charges to felony offenses. These factors include being involved in an accident with fatalities or severe injuries or transporting a minor younger than 14 at the time of the offense.
Prescription Drugs and Driving Laws
Penalties that Georgia’s DUI law imposes for drugged driving are similar to those for drunk driving.
For a first conviction, penalties can include mandatory jail time of at least 24 hours, a fine of not less than $300 and not more than $1,000, 40 hours of community service, completion of a DUI, Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program, clinical evaluation, and 12 months of probation.
A second conviction typically carries 90 days to 12 months in jail, from $600 to $1,000 in fines, as well as probation and other penalties, while a third offense can bring from 120 days to a year in jail and harsher fines between $1,000 to $5,000.
When it comes to driver’s license consequences, a DUI drug case can also result in a suspension of your driving privileges that can last to a year. Depending on the circumstances of your case, a limited permit may be available. For a first offense, a six-month license suspension is a common consequence.
After a second DUI drug conviction within 10 years, a driver can face hard suspension for up to a year, with no limited permits available.
How to Fight a DUI Charge for Prescription Drugs in Gwinnett County?
Can one get a DUI for taking medication and following a doctor’s orders? Yes, in certain cases.
However, DUI drug cases heavily depend on the observation and interpretation of police officers. But, many don’t have any relevant training in detecting impairment of a prescribed drug or controlled substance. In addition, although field sobriety tests are designed for alcohol-related DUI rather than drugs, some law enforcement officers still use them for determining drugged driving.
If you are facing DUI drug charges, make sure you hire an experienced lawyer who will recognize the difference between potential impairment and the mistakes of the police officer.
If you have more questions about prescription drugs DUI in Gwinnett County, contact Gwinnett County DUI lawyer at Philip Kim Law, P.C., and schedule a consultation for a detailed discussion.