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How Are Drug DWIs Different?

Interviewer: I’m sure you’ve probably seen more alcohol with DUI cases, but what about for drugs? Whether its prescription, illegal, or over the counter, do you see those and are they more complicated to defend?

Eric: They are more complicated to defend. I handle a tremendous amount of marijuana cases. I have Adderall cases. We have Vicodin, we have Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Xanax, Oxycontin. We have even had cough medicine, prescription, non prescription. Anytime that you take a medication, whether it’s prescribed or non prescribed, and it affects your ability to operate a motor vehicle, you’re subject to being pulled over by a police officer and running through the same tests that the alcohol was. And of course if it comes to an accident, you’d be required to, they want blood.

If you don’t consent to blood they can get a warrant and you can be forced to give a blood sample. If you’re in the hospital, the prosecution can try and get a search warrant and get the sample of hospital blood that’s been obtained. Of course depending, the drug case becomes an issue because now your blood may show the presence of this substance in your blood. It may not show how much is in there, so then it’s important to tell the lawyer what you are taking, whether it’s prescribed or not prescribed.

The next step would be how long ago did you take that drug that night prior to operation because if the prosecution gets the blood and alcohol result, and it shows the presence of one of these substances, but it doesn’t show what level, your lawyer now needs to make a strategic decision as to whether or not to have that tested to see whether it’s at the therapeutic level, is it at an impairing level, or at a lesser level. So sometimes, we certainly don’t want to open the door and show the prosecution that took it, that the level was very high.

Interviewer: Right.

By Eric Sachs