I find these are harder to conference but easier to defend. The conference of the case would consist of me and my expert understanding what the drug is, what the drug’s impact is on the person and talking to a prosecutor, who would most probably be in their early 20’s and would not have the slightest idea what this means. Sometimes we get lucky and end up with a judge who was involved and who wanted to do the right thing so they would hear the case.
I handled a case where the client fell asleep at the wheel, got involved in a one car accident, and admitted she had been taking Adderall. I do not recall if she had any alcohol, and even if she did it was very low, maybe .02 or .03, but she was arrested with a DWI. I spent months educating the prosecutor, the prosecutor’s supervisor, and the judge as to what Adderall is, how it affects and does not affect somebody, and showing them what the day of this person was like and that they had not slept in so long that they really just fell asleep, so Adderall was not the cause of the accident. Ultimately the judge was able to side with us and in the conferences the DA’s office was able to dismiss the case.
If someone blew a number that was at or above the limit, then that is where we would get involved in just showing how to attack the reading because the readings are not really that accurate to begin with. A blood case involving drugs requires a step above the average attorney and a step above the average prosecutor, which is what would make it more difficult to defend initially, but at a trial it could become relatively easy and simple because we would have an expert and we would use their expert to show what it is. We teach the jury what it is and then it becomes very simple along those lines.
Are There Additional Charges For DUI With Prescription Medication And Alcohol?
In New York there are different subdivisions. One is that the person could be impaired or intoxicated by having .08 or more than 1% of their blood. Another way is if the police had no proof whatsoever, and they just said that in their opinion and what they observed with their senses indicated the person was intoxicated. They always say the same thing: red glassy eyes, they smelled alcohol, speech was slurred, and the person was unsteady on their feet. This can be a separate charge just based on the police officer’s opinion.
In New York the person could also be charged with another charge, not for alcohol, but for being under the influence of drugs. The forth one would be a combination of both alcohol and drugs, which could also be added on later. If they have a blood or urine test when the person was initially charged with just alcohol, then if the blood test showed the presence of drugs, another charge could be added later on. Charges can be changed during the course of the case, so if the person had no alcohol they would dismiss the alcohol charge, but since they had drugs so we would just keep the drugs.
The best thing to do would be for the person not to drive if they were under the influence of anything, although that is not what we see. Most of the time, we do not have people who are like a stereotypical commercial that we see of the person swerving and weaving all over the road. Most of the time we have people who are clearly not intoxicated and they might be somebody who had one or two glasses of wine with dinner.
The police are just targeting people, not even using checkpoints. These are stops that police make to look for people DWI so they could accuse them of it. They would pull them over for DWI and maybe the person blew a .05 or a .06, which would not be over the limit. At this point the person would usually tell the police that they had taken their medication. I am currently handling a case just like that. The person blew a .04 but they told the police they were on their medication so they got accused of the combination of drugs and alcohol. Sometimes people are their own worst enemies.
Does It Change Anything In A Prescription Case If The Person’s Previous Charge Was For Alcohol?
No, it would be the same thing. How long ago it happened would come into play because in New York, both fall under the vehicle and traffic law section 1192, driving while intoxicated. They would still suffer the consequences regardless of whether the person was intoxicated by drugs, alcohol, or both.
It would come into play perhaps in the way of a DA or a judge looking at what the person had in the past, how long ago it was and what their sanction or penalty or punishment was. If it was in the last 10 years then it could be elevated to a higher charge of a felony. Whether it was drugs first and alcohol second, or vice versa, would not matter.
Do You Employ Experts And Physicians?
If a case involving medications went to trial, we would encourage our clients to bring an expert in on every trial because that would be one way to get the point across. Our client would not have to testify and even if they did, there would only be so much they could testify to. An expert would need to come in and explain what the person was diagnosed with and why they had to take this drug.
It is very specific in New York. We would not be able to talk about certain diseases unless we talked about the person having the symptoms and a certain diagnosis, which was why they had to take this medication. We want to make it clear what this medication is and what it does. When the person cannot afford an expert, we use the state’s expert and we use their expert against the state themselves. I prefer to have an expert on every trial involving medication because we have been successful on the cases that we had the experts on.
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