Medical Conditions that Mimic Drunk or Drugged Driving

Many prescription and over the counter medications can complicate a charge of DUI or DWI. In addition, some medical conditions and long term consequences of accident and injury can confuse the picture. What can you do to ensure that your case is accurately understood and your rights protected?

Accurate records and documentation will help the legal team get a clear picture of the complicating factors. Bottles from the pharmacy, bottles of over the counter meds, medical records and paperwork from the doctor’s office often contain information that help clarify a complex situation. A medical record sometimes contains a list of diagnoses as well as a list of current medications; this record is often given to patients at the end of a doctor’s visit or is available online in patient medical records.

In addition, a written description of symptoms can give a more complete picture of a situation. During spring and fall, for instance, during allergy season, many over the counter allergy and cold medications interact with and interfere with prescription medications. A health condition that impacts sleep, such as an asthma attack or pain, can impact functioning the next day both because of the medications taken for the condition, and due to the lack of sleep itself.

Any medical or surgical condition that impacts gait can lead to a misunderstanding of sobriety during a field exam. Arthritis, knee or hip replacements, prosthetic devices after a traumatic amputation, peripheral neuropathy from diabetes or medication side effects can alter gait substantially. In addition, there are a group of older, unsafe psychiatric medications that left many people with permanent movement disorders called tardive dyskinesia; these movement disorders are often misunderstood and misinterpreted.

Medications that are controlled substances are federally regulated drugs because of their risk for addiction, abuse, and diversion. These medications are still on the market, however, because they work well for a narrow range of conditions, and often they are the only options for treatment. For some people, long-term use of these controlled medications means they become the only drugs that work. In the situation of a controlled substance interfering with a field sobriety exam, or showing positive on a drug test, medical records and prescription drug records from the pharmacy are critical. Acquiring a drug test for a subject can be easy if you know where you are going, there is drug testing Marietta GA by that you can access or a countless amount of others that they have for those who need it.

Almost all of the controlled medications can interact with each other and with alcohol, marijuana, and other substances. Having a valid prescription alone is not enough; it is the responsibility of the person taking the medication, and the health care provider, to ensure that usage is safe and any precautions, such as no driving, are clearly noted. Legal medical marijuana use brings with it a need to understand the interactions to be expected, and usual side effects, when regular and controlled prescription drugs interact with medical marijuana.

All states have an automated pharmacy register that can be accessed to see what controlled substances have been prescribed and filled by each individual, and the name of the prescribing doctor or health care provider. If this record is obtained and shows a pattern of abuse or diversion, additional charges can be brought.

Long-term consequences of head injury can become devastating, and veterans, professional athletes, and those who have been injured with a TBI, a traumatic brain injury, can all show these consequences. TBI and more serious head injury can affect the gait and balance, problem solving, decision making, emotional swings, and other consequences of daily human interaction. Veterans who experienced blast trauma during combat, and who had extensive weapons training, can have repeated concussive injury to the brain. In addition, extensive weapons training can bring about unhealthy levels of lead exposure.

Chronic mental health concerns can affect gait and behavior in ways that can impact a field sobriety test. Many psychiatric medications that work in the brain cause alterations in balance and gait. In addition, mood and other behaviors, such as aggressiveness, can be more problematic when medications run out, or health insurance lapses. Job loss can lead to lack of access to critical medications, and the behavior changes seen when mental health medications are taken away can be misinterpreted by law enforcement.

We would like to help you protect your rights and have fair, accurate representation. Please contact us for more information.