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Prescription Drug DUI

Americans use prescription drugs every day to manage their health conditions, treat symptoms related to sickness or to better our lifestyle. It’s your legal right to take these prescriptions as directed if they have been lawfully prescribed to you by a physician. Unfortunately, law enforcement officers frequently confuse symptoms of drug use with side effects of a prescription drug. This means you could be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) even though you were simply taking your prescription as directed.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for DUI while on their prescription medication, then it’s within your best interest to call legal representation. An experienced and skilled attorney can build a sturdy defense to utilize for your case by examining and collecting evidence, deposing witnesses and cross-examining experts. Fight back against these penalties by hiring an Broward County defense lawyer today.

Defense Lawyer for Prescription DUI in Broward County, FL

If you or someone you know has been arrested for driving under the influence, then we suggest you call Meltzer & Bell. The lawyers at Meltzer & Bell have a special focus in DUI law and have a thorough understanding behind the science of it. Let us guide you through the court process so you can leave the best possible result. Call Meltzer & Bell today for trusted legal counsel.

Meltzer & Bell creates effective and efficient defenses that we can utilize for our clients. Call us today at (754) 755-8554 to set up your first consultation free. Meltzer & Bell practices throughout the greater Broward County area including Pembroke Pines, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Coral Springs.

Overview of Prescription Drug DUI in FL


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Can I Get a DUI with My Prescription Medication in Florida?

Most people assume that driving under the influence charges are exclusively for people who were consuming alcoholic beverages or using a controlled substance. What surprises a lot of people is that you can actually be charged with DUI because you used your prescription medication that was lawfully given to you.

If your medication affects your physical and mental faculties, then you may be charged with driving under the influence. This is because Florida Statute Section 316.193 states you are guilty of being under the influence if:

  • You were in actual physical control of the vehicle and:
    • Was under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or beverages, any chemical substance under 111 or controlled substance under chapter 893 to the extent that their normal faculties were impaired;
    • Had a blood-alcohol level of .08 or more per 100 milliliters of blood; or
    • Had a blood-alcohol level of .08 or more per 210 liters of breath

You must understand that the term “controlled substance” isn’t only reserved for street drugs like heroin or marijuana. There are numerous prescription medications listed in the Florida Statute’s Drug Abuse Prevention Control chapter such as Adderall, Valium or Percocet that all can land you with drug or DUI charges. The reason for this is that abuse of these prescriptions and others could impair your motor and mental functions to the point you would be considered too intoxicated to drive by law enforcement.


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Field Sobriety Tests and Breathalyzer Testing in FL

Officers use a variety of methods to determine if someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Many of these testing strategies are applied to people who were pulled over under suspicion they are DUI from a prescription medication. The most common of these is a breathalyzer test, which is a type of chemical DUI testing that measures your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) from a breath sample.

The other two types of tests used for chemical DUI testing are blood analysis and urinalysis. All three of the tests are scientific but don’t always produce accurate results. It’s been shown that many chemical DUI tests have resulted in false BAC readings because of a variety of factors which can include diet, issues within lab management and contaminated samples.

Law enforcement will a lot utilize field sobriety testing in some DUI traffic stops. These are a series of physical exercises that are designed to determine a person’s impairment level. However, these tests yield vague results that are ultimately up to the officer’s discretion. Some examples of field sobriety testing include the one-leg stand and the walk-and-turn.


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Penalties for Prescription DUI in FL

The consequences for driving under the influence in Florida are especially harsh. Your penalties will depend on your criminal record and if any aggravating factors existed within the crime. If the court convicts you, then you may be sentenced to pay expensive fines and even be required to spend time in jail or prison. Listed below are the penalties for prescription DUI in Florida.

For a first-time DUI, you may face the following penalties:

  • Minimum Fine of $500 and a maximum fine of no more than $1,000;
  • Driver’s license revocation for a minimum of 6 months;
  • Ten day impoundment or immobilization of the vehicle used;
  • Completion of a 12 hour DUI Substance Abuse Course;
  • Completion of a psychosocial evaluation to determine if Substance Abuse Treatment is required;
  • Completion of any recommended substance abuse treatment;
  • 50 hours of community service; and
  • Up to six months in jail.

If this is your second DUI conviction outside the last five years, you may face the following consequences.

  • Maximum jail time up to nine months;
  • Minimum fine of $1,000, but not exceeding $2,000;
  • 50 hours of community service;
  • Ten days of impoundment or immobilization of the vehicle used;
  • Completion of a 21 hour DUI Substance Abuse Course;
  • Completion of a psychosocial evaluation;
  • Completion of any recommended substance abuse treatment;
  • At the expense of the offender, mandatory placement of an ignition interlock device (IID) for a period of one year.

If you are convicted of a second DUI offense within five years of your initial conviction your penalties will be enhanced to the following.

  • Minimum of 10 days in jail
  • Maximum of up to 9 months in jail;
  • Minimum of 5 years revocation of your driver’s license;
  • Maximum of 12 months probation;
  • Minimum fine of $1,000, but not exceeding $2,000;
  • 50 Hours of community service;
  • Vehicle impoundment for 30 days;
  • Inability to obtain a hardship license for 12 months;
  • Completion of DUI Substance Abuse Course;
  • Completion of a substance abuse evaluation;
  • Completion of a psychosocial evaluation; and
  • At the expense of the offender, mandatory placement of an ignition interlock device for a period of one year.

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Additional Resources

Licensed DUI Programs in Florida – Visit the official website for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to read more regarding their license programs in Florida. A DUI program is a non-profit organization where the defendant can complete a drug and alcohol education to satisfy their judicial and driver licensing requirements so they can get their license reinstated. Find which programs in your area by clicking the link provided.

DUI Laws in Florida– Visit the website for Florida Legislation, and see more information regarding the statutory language for driving under the influence (DUI), their penalties and other relevant serious traffic crimes. See the outlined elements that must be proven by the prosecution for a DUI conviction, administrative and criminal penalties, and consequences for repeat DUI offenders.


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For Lauderdale Attorney for Prescription Drug DUI in FL

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI related to their prescription, you have no time to waste. Get in contact with experienced legal counsel such as Meltzer & Bell. Our defense attorneys have been practicing for years and have extensive background with DUI cases of all types. With our knowledge, you can get the best possible result for your case.

Meltzer & Bell represents people throughout the greater Broward County area including Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs and Hollywood. You can set up your first consultation for free by calling (754) 755-8554. We will examine your case and start structuring a defense for you right then and there.


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