PRESCRIPTION DRUG DWI CHARGES IN KANSAS CITY
DWI Charges Resulting from Prescription Drug Cases in Missouri
Most people understand that using illegal drugs like cocaine or heroin can lead to DWI charges in Missouri. Most people understand that if they take another person’s prescription medications while operating a vehicle can result to DWI charges. You might be surprised to learn, however, that you can face DWI charges after following the orders of a doctor with your prescription medications. There are no exceptions to the laws in Missouri if you are determined to be driving while impaired after taking your own prescription drugs that were obtained legally. If the state prosecution can prove that you were driving while intoxicated while that intoxication is correlated to the prescription drugs in your bloodstream, you can be convicted of the charge. At one time or another, the majority of people have obtained a prescription for a drug such as Xanax or Hydrocodone that can cause drowsiness or dizziness. It is not correct for you to assume, however, that you have the right to operate a vehicle after taking those kinds of medications.
If you are facing charges of DWI because of prescription drugs, call the skilled Kansas City DWI attorneys at Hollingshead & Dudley for a free initial case evaluation.
If you are prescribed any medication with a warning label saying not to operate machinery or heavy equipment or to use caution when doing so, you should not operate your vehicle. You should consult with your pharmacist and your physician because different people respond to medications in different manners. If you are pulled over by law enforcement after you have taken any prescriptions that have left you impaired or they have reason to believe that you are impaired by alcohol or drugs, you need to remember these steps:
Upon reaching a safe area, pull over. Put your car in park, then roll your window down, then produce your vehicle registration, car insurance card, and driver’s license. Provide those documents to the officer upon their approach to your car window.
Be sure that you tell the police officer you will not be responding to any questions until after speaking with your attorney. Many people believe that cooperating with the police officer can keep them from being taken to jail, but that is far from the truth. The officer has the responsibility to compile all the evidence that he or she can if they believe you have broken the laws of Kansas City and Missouri. The only way that you can know if what you say could be harmful to your case is by consulting with an experienced DWI attorney. You should invoke your right to remain silent in the meantime. If you are arrested late at night or wee morning hours, odds are you won’t consult with a lawyer until the next morning. Regardless, you don’t have to respond to their information request until you consult with your attorney. Your lawyer would tell you to stay silent and not respond to the questions.
If the police officer asks you to exit your car, you should do so. You need to know, however, that the police officer has been trained to readily notice any balance or behavior abnormalities. The officer will make sure to carefully observe you opening your car door and see if you have to lean against the door to stand or if you can walk upright without falling or stumbling. The officer might choose to proceed with field sobriety tests, so they will ask your consent before starting. You will politely tell the police officer that you will not proceed with any testing until you have consulted with your attorney. While the officer might tell you only someone who is guilty will avoid the tests, you should once again say that you want to consult with a lawyer first. You shouldn’t be a victim to the field sobriety test baiting you will be subjected to. Remember, you have the right to say no to a breathalyzer test. It is not against the law to do so at this time. The portable breath tests that officers carry have been proven unreliable and inconsistent in providing accurate results.
Most likely you will be placed under arrest at this time. And usually, the same would have been the results if you agreed to take the field sobriety tests as requested. Taking the tests would add to any evidence gathered against you. The officer will read you the Miranda rights, tell you have the right to remain silent, and the right to get an attorney before responding to any questions. The officer will tell you that your statements can and will be used against you. In most cases, people charged with DWI would do much better if they had not commented when asked questions by the officer.
You will be read the Implied Consent Warnings so the officer will be telling you that your agreeing to submit to urine or blood testing is requested because they think you are driving while intoxicated. If you haven’t had any alcohol, or if you know that your BAC is below .08%, it won’t hurt you to take the breathalyzer test. This would establish two things – you were not intoxicated while driving and you won’t be at risk for losing your driver’s license. The officer might then try to get you to agree to a drug recognition evaluation (DRE) which is a test that includes 12 steps, which includes an evaluation of your balance, your vital signs, and other inquiries of an incriminating nature. You should emphasize again that you want to speak with your attorney first.
Remember, it is illegal to drive while intoxicated by any kind of drugs, even your prescription medication. You should avoid driving while intoxicated at all costs. Make sure you do know your rights, however, in case you do face an officer.
If you are facing a prescription drug DWI charge, schedule your free case evaluation with the experienced DWI lawyers at Hollingshead & Dudley.