The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that illegal drugs are used by approximately 10-22 percent of drivers involved in all motor vehicle crashes, often in combination with alcohol. Further, Ohio has high rates of prescription drug use among those involved in traffic fatalities, which means law enforcement may be looking for people driving under the influence of prescription medication, alcohol, or both. (NHTSA Prescription Drug Study)
Nearly 1,000 instructors and more than 6,000 police officers in 46 states have been trained by NHTSA’s Drug Evaluation and Classification program to recognize symptoms of driver impairment by drugs other than alcohol. Drug-related fatalities in Ohio along with officers trained to look for the symptoms of drug impaired driving combine to make for an environment that is hypersensitive to drugged driving.
Prescription drugs of concern to law enforcement include Opioids (Lortab, Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin and Oxicodone); Sedatives or benzodiazepine (Xanax, Atavan, Valium); Prescription cold and cough medication with codeine; and prescription stimulants (Ritalin, Adderall) because all of these have the potential to impair driving ability.
Determining if you are impaired due to prescription medications is difficult for law enforcement. If you have not had alcohol to drink, the standard breathalyzer test will be of no use in determining whether prescription drugs have been used. Keep in mind if you are stopped and suspected of DUI you are not required to share your personal medical history with the law enforcement officer.
If you are stopped and the officer suspects impairment due to either drugs or alcohol, the officer may want to conduct field sobriety tests to determine your balance, dexterity, and coordination abilities. You are not required to cooperate with field sobriety tests. You are also not required to agree to a search of your vehicle without a search warrant.
If you have been arrested for drugged driving, all is NOT lost. Your individual circumstances are important and can provide key elements to aid in your defense. Do not try to defend yourself. Your future is at risk. Be sure to get the services of an experienced, skilled, and trusted attorney on your side.
If you are being accused of DUI or DWI in Columbus, you need the representation of a skilled and trusted attorney to protect your rights. This is especially true when prescription drugs may be involved. The Maher Law Firm can help make sure that your rights are protected. Founding attorney, Colin Maher, is a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) certified practitioner for field sobriety testing, which is the same training police officers take. This training helps him evaluate and challenge the evidence collection involved in the field sobriety test process. Call The Maher Law Firm today for a free consultation at 614-205-2208 or contact us online.