Most people are aware that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law. However, other substances can also cause a driver to become impaired that may be less apparent. While legal, these substances can still cause an individual to be arrested for driving under the influence as the following two exemplary cases show.
In May of 2017, an Arizona man was arrested for DUI for, allegedly, taking too much cough medicine. The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) received numerous phone calls about a driver, later identified as Trent Walker, who was traveling the wrong direction on U.S. 60. According to the Arizona Republic, a DPS trooper saw Walker driving the wrong way and turned on his sirens and lights. Walker then “turned around and started driving with the flow of traffic.” At that point, “[t]roopers surrounded the driver as he attempted to exit the freeway and stopped him nearby.” During his drive, Walker had “caused five separate collisions, none of which resulted in injuries, and kept going.”
The Arizona Republic reported that Walker claimed that the substance that he was under the influence of was not alcohol, but cough medicine. He stated that he had taken “15 to 20 gel tablets of cough medicine at one time.” The maximum recommended dose on the medicine he had taken was 8 pills in 24 hours. At the time the article was written in May, the authorities had not yet obtained the results of Walker's blood test, so it is unclear whether or not Walker's claims were true. However, he was being held on suspicion of both DUI and Hit and Run.
In another case, a Philadelphia woman was arrested and later convicted of driving under the influence of Ambien. Kimberly Miller claimed that she had been driving while asleep after taking Ambien and having a glass of wine before bed in November 2015. Miller was stopped in New Jersey after she was witnessed backing into a building and then driving off, but she claims to have no memory of how she got there. According to NJ Advance Media, her attorney “described Miller's condition as ‘pathological intoxication'” and “argued that she should not be found guilty because she was not aware she was behind the wheel.” The prosecution presented several counter-arguments including (1) the law did not require her to intend to drive drunk; (2) case law does not exist to support pathological intoxication; (3) most people are aware of the risks that Ambien poses; and (4) the police had found a half-empty bottle of wine in her car. The judge sided with the state and found her guilty of DWI in April 2016.
Cobb County DUI Attorney
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, whether it be for driving under the influence of alcohol, an illegal substance, prescription medication, or over-the-counter drugs, please do not hesitate to contact Cobb County DUI Attorney Richard Lawson today.