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Anne Arundel County Prescription Drug DUI Lawyer

In Anne Arundel and the rest of Maryland, it is possible for a driver to be charged with driving under the influence (DUI), even if they have not consumed alcohol or illegal drugs. A driver can be charged with a DUI for taking legally prescribed drugs, if it is deemed that those drugs impaired their ability to operate a motor vehicle. In these cases, the assistance of an attorney, especially one who has experience with prescription drug DUIs, can prove invaluable.

Prescription Drug DUI Charges

Officers tend to charge prescription drug DUIs on the flimsiest evidence or sometimes no evidence at all. Sometimes an officer will charge a person with prescription drug DUI, which is a violation of Transportation Article 21-902 (c), if that individual refuses to submit to a Breathalyzer Test. Essentially, the officer does not know whether that individual is drunk or high at the time of the driving, but charges them with a prescription drug DUI anyway.

That is a very flimsy theory for a 21-902 (c) violation and those types of cases tend to be dismissed by the prosecutor’s office.

The issue of contention in these cases is not the possession of the drugs and/or whether they are prescribed or not. The real issue is the impairment and that is going to be an issue whether the drugs are legally prescribed or illegally obtained. If the drugs were not legally prescribed, then the individual may face additional charges for possession independent of the DUI. The DUI itself will not be affected by the legality or illegality of the possession.

Prosecution of Prescription DUID Charges

To convict a person for prescription drug DUI, the prosecution would need to prove that the individual’s ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired by the consumption of prescription drugs or a combination of alcohol and prescription drugs, and that the individual was, in fact, operating a vehicle at that time. The charges are actually similar to the 21-902 (d), Controlled Dangerous Substance charges. It is also similar to a 21-902 (a1) or (b) violation, which requires the prosecutor to prove actual impairment of the individual at the time of operating the vehicle. There is no per se prescription drug law that provides a specific number of nanograms per milliliter in blood of a prescription drug before the person is found to be under the influence.

Possible Penalties

The maximum penalty for a first violation of 21-902 (c) is 60 days of incarceration, $1,000.00 fine, and a suspended driver’s license. It is rare for an individual to experience a maximum penalty for a prescription drug DUI case in Maryland, but it is helpful to consult with an Anne Arundel County prescription drug DUI lawyer in these cases, to fully discuss and understand the potential penalties that may be associated with a conviction.

Role of a Drug Recognition Evaluator

A Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) will be the primary expert called by the state’s attorney to prove a prescription drug DUI, if the driver submitted to the examination. A DRE is a specially trained officer, who has received a minimal amount of training in the recognition of drug impairment.

They are trained to conduct a physical examination of an individual. They will take the driver’s temperature, check their pulse, look at muscle flaccidity, and check the driver’s pallor, among other things. The DRE will also review the driver’s answers to questions and then try to form an opinion of whether or not that individual is impaired and what substance is causing the impairment.

If an individual submits to that evaluation, then the officer that completed the evaluation will testify about the impairment of the individual at trial. If an individual refuses a DRE evaluation, the officer will not testify because there is no evidence.

Working With an Anne Arundel County Lawyer

Unless someone is a licensed attorney in the state of Maryland, odds are good that they do not really know how the justice system works and they do not know all the particulars of the rules of evidence or even the necessary elements of certain charges. Additionally, there will be a lot of case law that the average individuals will be unfamiliar with.

The potential penalties for any kind of DUI offense are so high that it is far more dangerous for someone to handle a DUI case on their own than they might realize.

Furthermore, a lot of lay people, particularly in relation to the law, tend to suffer from the Dunning–Kruger effect, which means an individual with a small amount of knowledge in a certain subject area believes that they know a lot more than they actually do. It is generally best that someone charged with a driving under the influence of prescription medication speak to a prescription drug DUI lawyer in Anne Arundel County. Someone who practices criminal law for a living and encounters it daily will have a much firmer grasp on fighting these charges.

Information to Bring Your Attorney

Any and all information that would be relevant and germane to the case should be provided to your prescription drug DUI lawyer so that he or she may analyze a case and prepare a defense.  The relevant information includes the police report, notes from the interactions with the officer, the prescription for the drugs, if there is one, and documentation or completion of the drug treatment program, if available. All of these documents are going to be essential for the appropriation and defense of a DUI case for prescription drugs in Anne Arundel County.