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15thkid
15thkid, Criminal Defense
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 82
Experience:  Licensed Florida Attorney since 1988. Former law professor.
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Hello, My name isXXXXXm 45. I live in Georgia and work as

Customer Question

Hello, My name isXXXXX 45. I live in Georgia and work as a Correctional Officer. I take Tramadol for injuries received while I was in Afghanistan the war. I have been taking it since about 2003. It is a pain pill for moderate pain. A police officer pulled me over for no tag light on my tag in the Walmart parking lot. I let him search my car which they found my Tramadol bottle in glove box. Then they ripped my car apart searching my car for 3 hours and used a dog.

They charged me with driving under the influence of a substance. I can assure you this medication does not influence my sobriety. I had no slurred speech, I past the field sobriety test. I had taken the Tramadol 4 to 5 hours earlier 2 pills = 100mg. I keep a little in the correct prescription bottle in the glove box for emergencies and work. I did not tell them I was a "CO". They arrested me anyways and took me to the hospital for blood and urine test. But they didn't give me the results; they said it takes 6 weeks. I drive to/from work with Tramadol in my system and I take during work and my command knows that I take it. Georgia State Prison still lets me drive the Parameter Vehicle & drive prison vans to transport prisoners to hospitals or other facilities almost daily. That’s the back story.

From what I understand from the research on GA Law that I was not doing anything illegal. I looked up GA Codes 40-6-391, 16-13-21. Tramadol is not a Scheduled or Controlled Narcotic; it’s like taking 1600mg of Ibuprofen and does not meet the qualification of GA Code 16-13-21:

“Per Code 40-6-391 (4) 'Controlled substance' means a drug, substance, or immediate precursor in Schedules I through V of Code Sections 16-13-25 through 16-13-29 and Schedules I through V of 21 C.F.R. Part 1308.”

“PER 40-6-391 (6) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section, there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance, as defined in Code Section 16-13-21, present in the person’s blood or urine, or both, including the metabolites and derivatives of each or both without regard to whether or not any alcohol is present in the persons breath or blood.”

Question: I don’t know if Tramadol shows up on drug test. If the drug test comes back negative or positive for Tramadol; will they have to drop the charges since Tramadol does not qualified as driving under the influence per GA Codes: 16-13-21, 25, 29 or 40-6-391?

Thank you, Pam
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  15thkid replied 1 year ago.

15thkid :

Greetings. Were you taking the medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor? Do you know what warning your pill bottle has regarding operating heavy machinery?

Customer :

yes, exactly as prescribe 2 tablets = 100mg in morning and 2 tablets = 100mg at night between 8-9pm. It say do not drink alcohol or mix with alcohol twice on it. I don't drink so that was never an issue.

Customer :

hello are you there? still waiting for advice. Thank you

Customer :

Hi, are you going to finish answering the question? Thanks

15thkid :

i am sorry that i did not catch you online before

15thkid :

let me answer some of your questions, even though we keep missing each other

15thkid :

they do not have to drop the charges, even if the blood test shows nothing. although i would certainly hope they would drop them, they could go forward under the theory that you were impaired. they do not have to identify how you were impaired. they have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving while your normal faculties were impaired. what did you tell the police?

15thkid :

you can be convicted of DUI if taking a prescription, as directed, but it seems like it would be difficult for the State to convict in your case. i am basing this solely on what you have told me; i do not their side of the story. but if one were taking a prescribed sleeping pill that was not a controlled substance and drove impaired from it, i believe that person could be convicted.

15thkid :

As you know, this is the GA law: O.C.G.A. Section 40-6-391 (a)
(a) A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while:
(1) Under the influence of alcohol to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(2) Under the influence of any drug to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(3) Under the intentional influence of any glue, aerosol, or other toxic vapor to the extent that it is less safe for the person to
drive;
(4) Under the combined influence of any two or more of the substances specified in paragraphs (1) through (3) of this subsection
to the extent that it is less safe for the person to drive;
(5) The person’s alcohol concentration is 0.08 grams or more at any time within three hours after such driving or being in
actual physical control from alcohol consumed before such driving or being in actual physical control ended; or
(6) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section, there is any amount of marijuana or a controlled substance,
as defined in Code Section 16-13-21, present in the person’s blood or urine, or both, including the metabolites
and derivatives of each or both without regard to whether or not any alcohol is present in the person’s breath or blood.
(b) The fact that any person charged with violating this Code section is or has been legally entitled to use a drug shall not constitute
a defense against any charge of violating this Code section; provided, however, that such person shall not be in violation
of this Code section unless such person is rendered incapable of driving safely as a result of using a drug other than alcohol
which such person is legally entitled to use.

15thkid :

They could proceed under #2 above, and the "less safe for the person to drive" standard. As you discussed, #6 above would depend on the blood test results and the very complicated definitions they have for "controlled substance." Note section (b) above that specifically eliminates your prescription as a defense. However, on many levels, this will be a difficult case for the State. You need to obtain a local attorney with experience in driving under the influence of drugs, not just alcohol, cases. There are special drug recognition experts sometimes involved here, unique issues, etc. A good attorney should get involved early.

15thkid :

I strive to provide excellent service. When I have reached that goal, please rate my answer accordingly. If there is anything further you need from you, please do not hesitate to ask. Good luck.

Customer :

Yes I understand you answer: This would have too fall under #2. Is there a special drug recognition experts that I could use to test my impairment? I can take the medication then have the expert examine me. Also do I have a right to get a copy of the written police reports and drug test results? What is the average wait time to process blood/urine tests?

15thkid :

you have a right to all reports. you need a lawyer for this. i wouldn't hire a DRE just yet and definitely not do any "experiments." the wait time varies by locale/jurisdiction. do you have an attorney?

15thkid : When i said above "you need a lawyer for this" I did not mean that without a lawyer you canj't look at the reports. I meant in general, yOu should hire a local attorney ASASp.
15thkid : Do you have any questions about my answer above? My goal is to provide excellent service, so please let me know what I can do to reach that goal. Once I reach that goal, I would greatly appreciate it if you would rate my answer accordingly so that I may be paid for my work on your question. Thank you.

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