Darien Prescription Drug DUI Lawyer
In Darien, prescription drugs are any that a person needs from the pharmacy, which is obtainable only by written prescription from a doctor. Anything that is not over-the-counter would typically be characterized as a prescription.
Commonly used prescription drugs include painkillers (narcotics) like Oxycontin and Oxycodone, and Xanax (sedative drugs). If you are facing charges for driving under the influence of medication, it may be critical to contact a skilled DUI drug lawyer before your trial.
Role of the Prosecutions Level of Proof
The person must be operating a vehicle and the police must think the person is under the influence of drugs, or that their ability to drive is impaired by drugs. The prosecution must prove that the person was operating the motor vehicle and also that they were under the influence or impaired by drugs.
Impact of Impairment Awareness
Technically and statutorily, it does not change. However, jurors might feel bad for the person. They may believe that their actions were unintentional or that the person really was not so impaired to make it illegal. He can still be found not guilty if it goes to trial.
For pre-trial matters, it is helpful for the defense attorney to be able to show or prove to the Prosecutor that the person was not purposely driving impaired and honestly did not realize what the effects would be. That could be used as a leverage point when trying to work out a resolution pre-trial.
Expected Accountability for Medication
It can be a helpful negotiation plan, but at the end of the day, unfortunately, it is still illegal, regardless of whether the individual relies on it or not. In fact, the law in Connecticut actually states that a person should find alternate means of transportation if they need to take certain medication and cannot drive on their own.
Penalties for Prescription Drug DUI Charges
The penalties are actually the same as the normal DUIs. If the charged person is not eligible for the Pre-Trial Alcohol Education Program and it is their first misdemeanor conviction, they can face up to six months in jail, up to two years of probation, and a fine of $500 to $1,000 for the first offense.
This is something the Prosecutor and the Judge would certainly not be happy with, because they might be looking for a harsher punishment based on the fact that there was no valid prescription for those drugs. If the person still has pills on their person, they could also be charged with possession of narcotics or possession of any other controlled substance. They might be facing numerous charges.
What is the Role of a Drug Recognition Expert?
The role of a drug recognition expert is to testify, sometimes for the State of Connecticut. If any of the Police Officers in Darien are trained in drug recognition (earning the title of Drug Recognition Evaluator or “DRE”), they would be able to educate the jury as to what relates to whether the person is impaired.
The defense can hire their own expert in drug recognition to evaluate the case and testify to counter what the State expert is saying. A defense attorney can also challenge the DRE’s opinions, and perhaps counter them with the testimony of a medical professional.
Benefit of Hiring a Lawyer
A lot of people think that because they have a valid legal prescription for the drug that it excuses them from a DUI charge; merely explaining that to the Prosecutor will make the charge go away. In reality, the person speaks with the Prosecutor and ends up actually further incriminating themselves, not realizing that it is still illegal to drive under the influence of drugs, even when there is a legal prescription for it.
The person actually makes the State’s case a whole lot stronger and the defense a lot weaker. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced attorney right from the beginning to speak for the charged person who will have the knowledge to strategically get the best deal possible.
Preparing a Defense for their Client
Knowledge of all prescriptions the person may be in possession of and copies of those prescriptions so that they can be used in Court; and a strong timeline of everything that happened the day or night in question, as far as when the person ate, drank, took any pills; anything like that.
All this information is useful for the defense attorney to evaluate the case, and to consult with an expert toxicologist who can give more insight into whether or not the person was actually impaired at the time they were driving.