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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20392
Experience:  Licensed attorney with 29 yrs. exp. in criminal law
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I'm concerned of getting a DUI for taking my prescription

Customer Question

I'm concerned of getting a DUI for taking my prescription meds. I have been taking Klonopin for severe anxiety and amphetamines for my ADHD for several years now. I live in the state of Maine and they are cracking down on prescription drug abuse. I have been able to get off of these meds but my symptoms return and i'm unable to work. While taking the meds as proscribed, I can lead a normal life. My Doctor agrees with me. He even said that i'm a rare case and that the quality of my life is much better with them. The problem is that I"m on probation.........for felony threat made by telephone when I was off my meds and back to drinking again. In fact, one of the conditions of my probation is to take my prescribed medications. So If i don't take them i'm in violation of my probation but If i do than I risk being arrested for DUI. My doctor said it's ok for me to drive and says that I have become tolerant to the side effects and that I would more than likely

be a danger on the road if not taking them.

This is the most important thing though. The state of Maine is cracking down on DUI drugs. The problem is that with alcohol, at least one can defend themselves. If you're .08 or above this is enough for a conviction regardless of field sobriety test results. Also, with alcohol. no matter how one performs on field sobriety tests than

an alcohol chemical test below .05 is  prima facie evidence that one is not under the influence. With medications, it only takes a police officers opinion that one is impaired. They need a drug test to go along with this to get a conviction. The problem is that they only do a urine test to detect metabolites..........not a blood level to verify impairment or to check for therapeutic levels. So if someone were to come back with metabolites for any drug, that would be enough to convict them even after any possible impairments would be long

gone. What can I do to defined myself? Is there a physicians note that I can bring with me when I'm driving? The sad thing is that most DUI arrests come from drivers admitting they have taken prescription medications. If I were not on probation I would not deny taking any medications. In fact I have been stopped many times while not on probation on the same meds and was never even questioned about my ability to drive. Now, if i'm pulled over, the officer will be armed with my baggage. Can I deny taking medications? We all know that

police are allowed to lie to get someone to talk. Am I in violation of the law by denying that I take medication? If I'm on probation i'm required to identify myself as a probationer. But does this mean I have to share more to a law enforcement officer than someone who is not on probation?

the law by not sharing this information with them?

Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for all of the information and your question. Although in general you summarized the law of DUI and the difference between alcohol and drugs in blood work and urine test fairly accurately, there is one issue that you are assuming. That is that just because an officer can or will testify that they saw an indicia of impairment, that the driver will then automatically just be convicted of DUI. That is just not the case. Although it is some evidence what the officer saw, the rest of the evidence is also considered by the trier of fact, including the defendant's testimony (if they testify), the drug results and the testimony of expert witnesses about whether in the driver's specific case that amount of drugs would have resulted in them being impaired, and any other evidence related to the incident. So, it is wrong to assume that there would be a conviction just because the officer says something. In fact, with a good DUI attorney it could be fairly simple to build a defense unless there was overwhelming evidence of the driver being under the influence or impaired.

As for lying about taking medication, there is no need to lie, and you really shouldn't if you are mandated by probation to take the medication. The fact is you don't have to, and shouldn't make a statement at all. Period, no statement. You simply say that you are invoking your right to remain silent. Even if you didn't do that, lying would be the biggest mistake you could make because the State will find out your lying and they can use the fact that you lied to impeach your testimony about not being impaired or under the influence. In addition, of course, you might have issues with your probation. Again, no need to make any statement at all about drug or alcohol use and last thing you want to do is lie since they will find out anyway.

Let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.

You can reply back to me using the Continue the Conversation or Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions; and if you do, I ask that you please keep in mind that I do not know what you may already know or with what you need help, unless you tell me.

Please rate me based solely on my assistance to you in understanding the law, and not based on whether my answer is what you were hoping to hear. I, unfortunately, have no control over how the law impacts your particular situation, and I trust that you can understand how it would be unfair for me to be punished by a negative rating for having been honest with you about the law. Please reply to me and let me know if you are having difficulty with the rating system or even seeing it. Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I really was looking for a more accurate answer or should I say a correct

one. Urine tests do not detect amounts of use and thus can't detect levels

of impairment.

Can you at least answer this? Does a probationer still have the same rights as any other citizen when being questioned by law enforcement?

You speak of my right to remain silent but fail to answer that probationers give up many constitutional rights.

Just your lack of knowledge regarding the limitations of urine tests makes me wonder if you should be even be a licensed attorney.