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Prescription Drug DUI

We take prescription drugs to better our lifestyle and manage our health conditions. If your drugs were lawfully administered to you, it’s your legal right to take your prescriptions accordingly as directed by your doctor. Unfortunately, it’s common for law enforcement to confuse symptoms of drug use with side effects of a prescription drug. This has caused many people to be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) because they took their prescription.

Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications can inhibit motor control. Some can make your extremely drowsy or fatigued, especially if it’s mixed with even the most minimal amount of alcohol. These factors can cause a police officer to believe a person is under the influence when, in reality, they have simply taken their prescription medication. If you or someone you know has been arrested for a prescription drug related DUI, then it’s imperative you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney for assistance.

Attorney for Prescription DUI in Palm Beach County, FL

Driving while intoxicated doesn’t only apply to alcoholic beverages but can also include common prescription drugs such as Xanax and Ambien. If the prescription impacts your physical or mental faculties, there’s a chance you could be charged with DUI. If you or someone you know has been charged with a prescription drug DUI, it’s important you seek legal counsel.

Call Meltzer & Bell, P.A. to set up a case evaluation today for free.  Meltzer & Bell, P.A. creates effective and efficient defenses for our clients and have a strong background in DUI. Don’t wait another moment to tackle these allegations. Contact us at (561) 557-8686 today to set up your first consultation in the West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County area. We represent clients throughout the county including Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Jupiter and Wellington.

Overview of Prescription Drug DUI


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Can I Get a DUI for Using Prescription Drugs in Florida?

You may be under the impression that driving under the influence charges only pertain to alcohol or illegal drugs. However, Florida law states you can be charged with DUI if your prescription affects your physical or mental faculties.  Under Florida Statutes Section 316.193, it states you’re guilty of driving 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

It’s important to understand that a “controlled substance” can also apply to prescription drugs. Many prescription medications are listed in the Florida Statute’s Drug Abuse Prevention and Control chapter such as Xanax, Valium or Adderall. Drugs like these can impair your motor and mental functions to the point law enforcement will consider you too intoxicated to drive.

If you have been pulled over for driving under the influence because of your prescription, the officer will likely have you perform chemical or field sobriety testing to determine your intoxication level. Normally a breathalyzer won’t get a reading from a prescription drug. So, the officer will probably ask you to undergo a blood or urine test.

It’s important to remember that although these tests are scientific, they don’t always produce accurate results. Many chemical DUI tests have given false positives due to a variety of factors including diet, issues within the chain of custody, contaminated samples and the  inability to follow procedures.

Field sobriety tests are a series of physical exercises that were designed by the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration (NHTSA) to measure you mental and physical faculties. Only three filed sobriety tests are admissible in court and they include the one-leg stand, the walk-and-turn and the horizontal gaze nystagmus. All other field sobriety testing will not be considered as valid evidence in court.

It’s highly recommended you refuse both field or chemical DUI testing if you’re pulled over on suspicion of a prescription DUI. Field sobriety tests can yield vague results that are up to the officer’s discretion. Many have failed field sobriety tests perfectly sober without taking drugs. External factors such as weather, lighting or physical ability can affect your results. Chemical DUI testing is a complicated process and one mistake can yield a false positive.

For both these reasons, it’s important you refuse DUI testing. The less evidence the prosecutor has against you the better. Refusing testing will take away the chance for the prosecution to use scientific or subjective evidence against you and will increase your chances of reduced or dismissed charges.


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Penalties for Prescription DUI in Florida

The penalties for driving under the influence are incredibly serious and depend on your criminal record. If you’re convicted, then you could be required to pay expensive fines and spend time in jail or prison for a period. It’s important you’re aware of all the potential penalties of DUI before you step foot in a courtroom.

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 learn more about their licensed DUI programs. 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. 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) and other serious traffic crimes. See the outlined elements that must be proven for a DUI conviction, the adjoining penalties, and consequences for repeat offenders.


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Prescription DUI Defense Lawyer in West Palm Beach, FL

Have you been charged with a DUI offense in the Palm Beach County area? Make a plan and let us be your first step. Contact the attorneys at Meltzer & Bell, P.A. for experienced criminal defense representation to protect your rights and future. Our criminal defense attorneys have represented many clients with DUI charges and maintain a special focus in DUI law.

Call us now at (561) 557-8686 to learn more about your legal options. We can assess your case and see what we can do to avoid any expensive fines or jail time. Meltzer & Bell, P.A. represents people throughout the West Palm Beach area including Boca Raton, Jupiter, Wellington and Palm Springs.


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  • Law Firm 500 Fastest Growing Law Firms In the U.S - 2017 Honoree
  • National College for DUI Defense
  • Broward Association of Criminal Defense lawyers
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
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