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Can I Get Arrested For DUI When Taking Prescribed Medication In The San Francisco Bay Area?

You can get arrested for DUI when taking prescribed medication in the San Francisco Bay Area. Unfortunately, I have seen numerous times when police officers, whether it’s sheriffs, PDs, or the California Highway Patrol, pull over people for whatever reason or respond to accidents and arrest them for being under the influence of drugs due to prescription medication, even if it’s prescribed medication. Typically, when someone gets pulled over while on their medication, and they are not functioning properly due to a side effect or the medication not working properly if they tell the officer that they are on medication, the officer will request a blood test.

If a blood test is not available a urine test would be done. The results would then come out after the arrest. After the test, the DA’s office would decide whether or not to prosecute someone for being under the influence of drugs. In those situations, to make the case go away, it needs to be shown that the person was prescribed that drug and that they were supposed to be on it. Then, the argument of whether it was at, above, or below the therapeutic level is made. Usually, people take what their doctors prescribe them. It’s an excellent defense in a trial situation to be able to show that someone’s on their prescription medication, taking the proper dose, there is nothing else in their system. Maybe their driving was not very good, or maybe they didn’t have a good balance when they did the field sobriety tests, but they are doing what their doctor prescribed them to do.

If I’m the attorney representing clients in those cases, we’re usually in a very good position and tend to win those cases. However, when someone has some other substances in their system as well, that’s where we run into some trouble. For instance, if someone had some alcohol with their medication, took too much of their medication, or took other drugs that were not prescribed, the matter is aggressively prosecuted. For example, if someone was supposed to take one pill of Valium, but instead took two, that can show impairment when a blood test gets done. When they eventually get the quantity, and if it’s determined to be above the therapeutic level, which is pretty much the maximum amount of drug a person should have in their system, it could lead to impairment. When that threshold is crossed, we are much more likely to see prosecution proceed to a jury trial.

Most prescription drugs should not be combined with alcohol. You should always read the bottle, ask the doctor, or ask the pharmacist. Pharmacists are very good at advising on prescription drugs. You should also look it up yourself. It is wise to do a search to make sure that if you are going to drink any alcohol when on certain medications that it will not have an effect. Most medications that are fairly strong and that alter the way that we function should not be combined with alcohol. Therefore, have to be very careful.

If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI while on medication, you need to hire a lawyer who can do the research and determine the best course of action.

For more information on DUI Drugs In The San Francisco Bay Area, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

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Aaron Bortel
With 30 years of specialized experience in DUI defense, Attorney Aaron Bortel is a dedicated advocate for those facing DUI charges in the Bay Area. Committed to helping clients avoid jail, save their driver’s licenses and jobs, and prevent permanent criminal records, he combines deep legal expertise with genuine care for his client's welfare. Trust in a lawyer who not only defends but truly supports you through challenging times.

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