Question: I didn't think I'd ever be writing to you, a Woodstock DUI lawyer. I read your blog when my wife got a DUI and I thought it was informative. She's now in a rehab program and doing very well.
But now I need your help for my son, who got a DUI over the weekend in Woodstock. The thing is, he doesn't drink. But he got a DUI, the Woodstock police officer said, because of drugs. But he doesn't do drugs. He only takes drugs that were prescribed to him by a doctor, his psychiatrist. Basically, can you really get a DUI on legal drugs that you have a prescription for?
I mean he doesn't smoke pot or do cocaine or meth or anything like that.
The background was that he was stopped for speeding in his new Camaro SS. I told him when he bought the car that he needed to slow down, not attract attention, and not get any tickets. I know what it's like when you have a sports car: you tend to speed. I had a Corvette for five years and I almost lost my license a couple of times because I was speeding a lot and the police noticed a red Corvette going fast.
My son recently graduated from Woodstock High School and he was at a football game and was driving home with his girlfriend, who dropped out of school in 11th grade. But she works real hard and she's a good kid and if she doesn't get pregnant I think she'll be alright in this world.
So he was speeding and he got stopped by the cop and he told me the cop had him do tests and he did them and he told the cop that he takes medications for bipolar and depression and that he thinks he can drive on them. But he did tell the cop they sometimes get him a little disoriented when the doctor gives him a new prescription.
Anyway, the cop arrested him for DUI drugs and I can't understand it. I mean, so many people use meds. So I'm just trying to get help for my kid and find out if you can get a DUI on legal drugs or not.
G.Y. in Woodstock, Georgia
Answer: Yes, you can get a DUI simply from the use of legal prescription medications. In fact, it is becoming more and more common. As more people utilize prescription drugs for various physical and mental diagnoses, we are seeing more arrests being made for DUI-drugs.
Many people are under the misapprehension that the charge of DUI-drugs can only stem from the use of illegal drugs like cocaine, meth, marijuana, “magical mushrooms,” or LSD.
But, of course, just because you are driving and are taking prescription medications does not mean you are DUI. Under Georgia law, to be charged with a DUI there must be an allegation that you are a “less safe driver.”
Oftentimes if a police officer suspects that a driver is under the influence of drugs, they will request a blood test. And the results of the blood test will be of great importance to a DUI-drugs charge.