Building a Defense For Salisbury Drug DUI Charges
DUI charges are fairly common charges in Salisbury and throughout the rest of Maryland. As a result, law enforcement officials, including prosecutors and judges, take drug DUI charges very seriously in a concerted effort to decrease instances of DUI offenders. Below, a Salisbury drug DUI lawyer discusses some common defense strategies for someone who has been accused of driving under the influence. For more information about defending against a Salisbury drug DUI charge, call today to schedule a consult with our experienced Salisbury drug DUI attorney.
Common Defense Strategies For Someone Accused of Drug DUI
The most basic strategy would be raising the defense that the State has not proven each one of the elements of that charge to the level necessary, which is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” One of the best examples of that is the State having to prove that the defendant could not drive the vehicle safely. So, if the State doesn’t have any evidence to support that element, then the defendant should not be convicted of driving while impaired by drugs or drugs and alcohol.
Other strategies would involve determining if the defendant had a specific defense they were unaware that by taking a prescribed dose of medicine, it would make them incapable of driving a vehicle safely. That is an actual defense that is allowed under the laws of Maryland under the Transportation Article, and it requires the defendant to show proof that he was legally prescribed a medication, that he was taking that medicine as prescribed, and that he was not aware that taking that medicine (either by itself or in combination with some other prescriptions) would impact his ability to drive safely.
Thus, it is important to consider that strategy for a defendant and find out exactly what medicines have been prescribed and what the defendant was told regarding the consequences of taking the drug or the potential interactions that could occur when taking that drug in combination with another prescription drug.
Mixing of Drugs & Alcohol on Way Case Is Treated in Court
The penalty is the same whether you are convicted of driving while impaired by drugs or driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. The maximum penalty is two months in jail and the maximum fine is $500.
It would not necessarily affect the way that the case is prosecuted, nor would it affect the way that the case would be defended, because the prosecutor will still have to prove the same elements. It’s a question of: can they prove what sort of drugs they believe the person was taking, or, with alcohol, how much was consumed and was it enough to impact the person’s coordination? It would not make a significant difference in how the case would be prosecuted or defended.
Examples of Drug & Alcohol Mix Not Due to Irresponsibility
Taking a prescription medication and consuming any alcohol—whether it’s one glass of wine or one beer—absolutely could get someone into trouble and it could potentially turn into a DUI or a driving while impaired by drugs and alcohol case. Every person is physically different as to how they metabolize whatever drug they’re taking and how that is going to impact their system—especially when a drug is mixed with alcohol, which is going to have a particular impact on their body as well.
So the safest thing to do is, if you’re on prescription medication, don’t consume alcohol on top of that—but it happens. People take medications just as prescribed. They do not realize some of the potential consequences of the prescription that they’re taking and then they consume alcohol, which can exacerbate potential side effects. Under Maryland law, there is a defense if the driver can show that she was taking medications as prescribed and was unaware that that drug (or the drug combined with other medications that were prescribed) would make her incapable of driving the vehicle safely. That could be a potential defense, but that defense specifically relates to prescription medication and it does not address a combination of having taken prescription medication and then mixing it with alcohol.
There are definitely situations where it was never their intention to get behind the wheel of a car and not be able to drive safely, but they just did not understand that what they were prescribed would bring side effects that would cause them to be unable to drive their car safely.