Understanding Your Rights

Defending Prescription DWI Charges

An intoxicating prescription drug can lead to DWI charges. Below are some of the defense strategies you can use if you are facing such charges.

Prove Right Dosage

If you want to claim that you had taken a prescribed drug, you will need to prove that you had taken the right dosage of the drug. This is because some drugs have mild side effects when taken as prescribed but produce serious side effects when overdosed. You may need, for example, to show your prescription and the drugs you still have left to prove that you didn't overdose on the drug.

Prove Adherence to Physician's Directions

Most drug prescriptions come with terms and conditions that you are expected to adhere to for the duration of the medication. For example, your physician may advise you to avoid certain food, avoid alcohol, or avoid strenuous activities when taking a certain drug.

The prosecution might claim that you were intoxicated because you had taken a drug on an empty stomach even though your doctor had advised you to use the drug after meals. In such a case, the onus is on you to prove that you followed your doctor's orders to the letter.

Disapprove Officer's Observations

In most cases of prescription intoxication, prosecutors rely on the observations of the officers at the scene of the stop. This is because intoxication due to prescription drugs doesn't show up in breathalyzer tests like intoxication due to alcohol. Thus, the officer might have relied on physical evidence such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and staggering gait to assume that you were intoxicated.

In such a case, you can challenge the officer's observations and provide an alternative explanation for your appearance. For example, you can use various forms of evidence, such as eyewitness testimony and surveillance video footage to prove your point. You can even bring in an expert witness to prove that your physical appearance could have been due to other factors, such as illness, and not intoxication.  

Attack the Drug Tests

If you are stopped for a DWI and the police suspect that you are under the influence of a drug, they are likely to order for a drug test. If that happened with your case, then you can go after the test procedures and results as part of your defense. Again, you may need the services of an expert witness to help you, say, prove that the level of drugs in your system couldn't have impaired your driving.

Contact a DWI lawyer for more information.