In Pennsylvania, when we hear that someone is charged with DUI, we tend to assume that the person was driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs (like marijuana or cocaine), or a combination of both. However, DUI simply means driving while impaired by any substance to a degree that renders one incapable of driving safely.
The “impairment” which triggers a DUI can even include legal drugs like the prescription medicines you probably have in your medicine cabinet at home. Some prescriptions and even some over-the-counter medicines are powerful enough to impair your ability to safely operate a vehicle – and many even say so right on the label. Many of these legal drugs cause you to feel drowsy and can impair your ability to react quickly or affect your otherwise sound judgment. Common legal drugs that can impair one’s driving ability include stimulants, sedatives, antidepressants, and narcotic analgesics.
One of the issues unique to DUI based upon prescription drugs is the lack of an objective method of measuring impairment. For example, when someone is driving under the influence of alcohol, his or her blood-alcohol level (BAC) can be measured in numerical form. That numerical form is often determined by a laboratory and the results are deemed by statute to be either above or below the minimum threshold at which a motorist is presumed to be impaired, e.g., .08%.
This is not so with prescription drugs, for which the statute is silent concerning a minimum threshold for many pharmaceuticals. At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. we have defended motorists facing allegations of DUI (Prescription Drugs) in Erie, Millcreek, Girard and Edinboro, Pennsylvania when the amount of lawfully prescribed medicine was even within the therapeutic range, according to the prescribing doctor.
So, a word to the wise. Read the labels on your prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs. If drowsiness is a potential side-effect or a warning states that you should not operate a motor vehicle or heavy equipment when using the medicine, exercise caution, ask a friend or family member to drive for you. If you or a loved one faces an allegation of DUI in Erie, Meadville, Corry, North East, Girard, Meadville or Millcreek Pennsylvania stemming from the use of prescription medications or other drugs, call Tim George at (814) 833-7100. We can explain your options and protect your rights.
_Tim George defends allegations of DUI, reckless driving, careless driving, accidents involving injury or property damage and other serious charges like homicide by motor vehicle, manslaughter, aggravated assault, simple assault, retail theft, burglary, robbery, and sexual assault. He appears in Magisterial District Courts (often called District Justice offices) throughout Northwestern Pennsylvania, including Erie, Millcreek, Fairview, Girard, Albion, Springfield, Platea, McKean, Edinboro, Lawrence Park, Wesleyville, Harborcreek, North East, Corry, Meadville, Sandy Lake, Conneaut Lake, Franklin, Oil City and Warren. He has also defended people in the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Crawford County, Warren County, Venango County, Mercer County, Clarion County and Jefferson County. He has argued cases on appeal before the Commonwealth Court, Superior Court and Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. _
If you or someone close to you was recently arrested for DUI in Erie, Fairview, Girard, Corry, Union City, North East, Meadville or elsewhere in northwest Pennsylvania, call toll free (888) 748-9909 to discuss your case today.