When most people hear "DWI," they think of drinking while driving. While many DWIs certainly do involve alcohol, the term DWI simply means driving while impaired. The impairment can stem from alcohol or other substances such as illegal drugs, prescription medication and even over-the-counter medication. Narcotics, painkillers, sleep aids and anti-anxiety medication are common culprits in prescription drug DWI cases.
Arrests for prescription drug DWIs are becoming increasingly common across the state. Even if you were legally prescribed the medication, you can still be convicted for DWI if the prosecutor can prove that the medication impaired your driving.
How Are Prescription DWI Cases Different?
During traffic stops, police officers frequently ask drivers if they are taking prescription painkillers or other medication. They immediately become suspicious if you answer yes. They may require you to perform field sobriety tests to judge your physical and mental impairment. These tests can later be used as evidence against you.
Unlike in cases involving alcohol — where the law imposes a firm .08 legal limit — there is no quantifiable limit to the amount of medication or other substances in your system. As a result, these cases often involve more subjective evidence such as whether the officer thought you exhibited symptoms of impairment.
In these types of cases, getting quality legal representation can make a significant difference in your case. An attorney can help detect weaknesses in the state's case — for example, by exploring whether the police officer had a legal basis for conducting a traffic stop and field sobriety tests.
Viewing Your Case Through The Prosecutor's Eyes
At The Law Office of Kevin L. Barnett, we can examine your case and develop strong strategies for challenging the charges or negotiating a better outcome. Our 30 years of experience in criminal law enables us to provide insightful legal guidance.
Our firm's legal advocate consists of a former prosecutor. His experience handling DWIs from both sides lends him the ability to view cases through the eyes of the prosecutor, judge and jury. This, in turn, translates to more effective angles for trial advocacy or plea negotiation.
Free Consultation | Charlotte Location
Discuss your case with our prescription drug DWI defense lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina. Call 704-899-5574 to arrange a free initial consultation. We handle DWI cases throughout Buncombe County and Western North Carolina. Language translation services are available by request.
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