Although DUI charges are typically associated with alcohol, drivers in Pennsylvania may also be charged with a DUI if found to be under the influence of drugs as well. Below, a Philadelphia DUI drug lawyer details what type of drugs may lead to DUID charges and whether you can be charged for being under the influence of over the counter medication. For information regarding your case call and schedule a consultation today.
In Philadelphia, you do need to be under the influence of an illegal drug for a conviction for driving under the influence. However that sentence can be misconstrued in some ways. The mere fact that you used an illegal substance earlier in the day or prior to driving, in Pennsylvania if there’s any amount of controlled substance in your system, that is per se evidence at the time of driving that you are unable to operate a motor vehicle safely on the roads of Philadelphia. That in of itself can result in a drug conviction for driving under the influence.
However, a Philadelphia DUI lawyer through expert testimony, through defense of the stop and the initial stages involving contact with police under constitutional law can put up a defense to any amount of controlled substance which maybe in your system.
For instance, if it’s determined by the Court that the initial vehicle stop was improper, because of arguments made by your attorney, then the aftermath and/or testing would be inadmissible in the court of law thus rendering the person not guilty and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
In Philadelphia, an individual who subsequently is stopped for DUI and has agreed to take the blood test and blood is drawn, that individual is subject to whatever is found in the blood stream. In cases involving over the counter medications, if they are not controlled substances, a person cannot be found guilty of driving under the influence. However, certain over the counter medicines also contain active ingredients such as alcohol or other substances.
If that amount is above the legal limit for alcohol it would be 0.08%, then that could render a person guilty of a DUI. However if a substance is not a controlled substance in most cases it will not be determined that the person was under the influence of drugs or alcohol and incapable of driving safely in Philadelphia. Only in cases where a person is prescribed a medication and that medication is taken in sufficient dosages to render a person incapable of operating a motor vehicle safely, is it a driving under the influence type of conviction.
While the most prevalent substance prosecutors use to prosecute DUI cases involve alcohol, there are many cases where illegal drugs and/or overdoses of prescription drugs lend to a person being also convicted of driving under the influence. If a person has any amount of marijuana, cocaine, PCP, heroin or any other illegal substance in their system under schedules 1, 2, or 3 of the Pennsylvania criminal code, a person upon being blood tested after operating a motor vehicle can and is likely to be convicted of driving under the influence.
However, a person under the influence of a prescription medication with proper paperwork for such prescription can easily defend such a case. It’s only when the person takes a greater amount of that prescription drug which is mandated by the prescription itself such as an overdose is a person under the influences of drugs or alcohol in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Thus, as long as the person under the influence of a prescription medication with proper paperwork for such medication and only takes the required amount that person will likely not be convicted of driving under the influence.