There is a common misconception that if you have taken prescription drugs and are drowsy and inattentive behind the wheel, your prescribed medication is an absolute defense to being charged with DUID. However, this is not true.
If you have voluntarily consumed drugs, even prescription drugs, and as a result your ability to operate a motor vehicle is impaired or you are under the influence of the drugs, you may be charged with violating Virginia Code Section 18.2- 266 and should consult with a Fauquier County DUI drug lawyer as soon as possible.
Even for Over the Counter (OTC) medications like Benadryl, common cough syrups, allergy medications can lead to a DUID charge under certain circumstances. If it is a result of drug interaction, you would want to talk to your attorney about that and how to present evidence to best use this defense. Typically, you are responsible for any types of medication you take as well as all drug interactions.
The biggest mistakes to avoid in drug related DUI offenses are to make incorrect assumptions about what defenses may be available to you.
Common assumptions that are incorrect are:
(1) That consuming Over the Counter drugs or prescription drugs are an absolute defense for DUI charges; and
(2) That the Commonwealth will have a difficult time bringing their burden of proof, because there are not per se levels such as the .08 BAC level for drug related offenses.
The Commonwealth will be able to bring in experts from Division of Forensic Science (DFS) to translate the blood test results and to offer the court opinions about impairment. Therefore if you have been charged with a DUID related offense and a blood test has been ordered, it is important to have an experienced DUI attorney that has handled such cases in the past to decipher those results and prepare the best possible defense.
Involuntary intoxication is a defense, however it is a very limited defense. Involuntary intoxication, as described by Virginia case law, does not include situations where the person did not know the strength of the alcohol or drug they were voluntarily imbibing. Involuntary intoxication refers to not consenting to having things put into your body. This will include an affirmative defense, which means you essentially are saying that some alcohol or drugs were placed into your body against your will, which made it impossible for you to resist the consumption of an illegal substance.
You are responsible for anything that goes into your body. If you simply did not know that you would have a reaction to the medication, then that is on you.
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