Driving Under The Influence Of Prescription Drugs Is A Problem In Florida
Driving under the influence of prescription drugs is a major problem in Florida, according to Florida Law Enforcement Officials. Florida law enforcement officials have been cracking down on drivers suspected to be ‘impaired’ by prescription drugs.
The DUI Law in Florida
Florida law is very clear on the issue of prescription drug ‘impairment’ and operation of a motor vehicle.
The law proscribes DUI guilt if someone is driving, or in actual physical control of a vehicle, while under the influence of a chemical substance set forth in FL Statute 877.111 or any of the controlled substances in chapter 893.
Controlled substances listed under the 893 chapter of Florida law are drugs that are commonly known as street drugs:
- Other similar ‘illegal’ drugs.
But what about prescription drugs? The same drugs prescribed by your doctor and that you picked up at the local pharmacy? Yes, prescription drugs can also be the underlying cause of impairment under the DUI laws in Florida.
The Warning Labels
Almost every pill bottle received from a pharmacy has a sticker on it that states “may cause drowsiness” or “don’t operate machinery while taking this medication”.
Those warnings placed on the bottle, warn the user that the drug may in fact cause impairment of the user’s normal facilities. “Normal facilities” are defined in Florida as one’s ability to: walk, talk, judge distances and act in an emergency. So when someone is under the influence of a prescription drug and operates a motor vehicle, they place themselves in a position to be arrested for DUI.
The Leading Cause Of Impaired Drivers in Palm Beach
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s DUI task force reports that ‘opiates’, ‘sedatives’, and ‘tranquilizers’, are the leading classes of drugs that are responsible for impaired drivers and DUI arrests throughout Palm Beach County.
Legitimate pain relief is not an issue or topic of debate for those who consume opiates, but driving under the influence of opiates is prohibited in Florida because alertness is compromised and drowsiness heightened.
Remember, the ability to walk, talk, judge distances, and act in an emergency are the key components of normal facilities while operating a motor vehicle under Florida law. Drowsiness itself may not lead to impairment under Florida’s DUI law, but it will lead to suspicion by the DUI officer. Such suspicion will lead to a full DUI investigation including but not limited to: road side sobriety tests, blood draws and breath tests.
Florida Police Offers Are Trained To Spot Impairment
In Florida, police officers are trained to assess a driver’s speech pattern while they are talking to them at a traffic stop.
While the smell of alcohol coming from a driver’s breathe is axiomatic with the consummation of alcohol, slowed speech has become one of the telling signs of prescription drug use in DUI investigations and arrests throughout Florida.
Additionally, DUI officers are also trained to watch the stagger or loose gait of a driver once that person exits their vehicle and performs a DUI field sobriety tests.
Most, if not all, field sobriety tests and interactions with police are being recorded by their in-car dash camera or their body camera. Be aware of your actions as they will be used as evidence against you in a court of law.
So remember, if you are going to take prescription drugs and operate a motor vehicle in Florida, you put yourself at risk for being investigated and arrested for DUI.
Contact Andrew D Stine for DUI Defense in Palm Beach County
Andrew D. Stine has dedicated his career to defending those arrested on DUI charges and has never prosecuted those he now defends! Hire Stine or Do the Time.