Prescription Drugs & DUI

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Gainesville DUI Attorney


Gainesville DUI lawyer Richard S. Lawson has been practicing DUI defense for nearly two decades. Over his years in practice, he has successfully resolved more than 4,500 Georgia DUI cases. He has also been lead counsel at the jury trials and motions of hundreds of cases. Not only that, but he has successfully resolved hundreds of DUI charges with dismissals, reductions to reckless driving and reductions to other lesser offenses.

Throughout his legal career, he has helped over 4,000 local residents keep their driver's licenses despite the DUI charges they were facing. Attorney Richard Lawson began his career on the other side of the fence, as a DUI prosecutor. When he left the prosecutor's office to open his DUI defense practice, he took all that he had learned along with him.

Over the past couple of years, we have seen more DUI-drug arrests than ever before. We believe this is partly due to the fact that our aging population is growing. Due to advancements in medical technology, people are living longer these days than in years past. In order to meet their health needs, the majority of our elderly are on some form of daily medication to better manage their health. Another reason for the increase in medicated people is the great frequency that people are on medications for ADHD, depression, insomnia and anxiety.


Over the past twenty years, we have had an increasing number of anti-drinking and driving campaigns that have led to a decrease in drunk drivers on the roads. In contrast, we have actually seen a vast increase in the numbers of people driving while under the influence of either prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs or both. Sometimes it's even the combination of prescription medications and over-the-counter medications that make a driver impaired. As our numbers of drivers operating while under the influence of a medication increases, so does the pool of people that are more inclined to get arrested for DUI-drugs.

Our police officers have a great deal of discretion when it comes to "assessing" someone's level of impairment from a legal or illegal drug. The problem is these conclusions aren't usually based on material fact, and often times the police officer's assumption is wrong. This is a cause for concern because to date, there haven't been any studies that quantify any illegal or legal drug use with impairment. What's more, the standardized field sobriety tests that are performed by law enforcement aren't designed to detect impairment by an illegal or a lawfully prescribed drug. There are only a very small percentage of law enforcement officers that are trained in any sort of relevant training in detecting if someone is under the influence of a drug to the extent that it impairs their ability to drive.


What sets apart a DUI-alcohol case and a DUI-drug case? With an alcohol-related case prosecutors can rely on the "per se" factor. Nationwide, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater, this is called "per se". While this works well with DUI and alcohol cases, DUI-drug cases don't have the same crutch to lean on.

Currently, there is no quantitative amount of any drug or substance that creates a known level of impairment. Even a lab witness or toxicologist cannot state that high levels of a certain prescription medication in a person's system mean that the person was impaired at the time of the arrest. Since this is a new and undeveloped area of law, it's much more difficult for the state to prove and easier for the defense to challenge. If you or someone you love was arrested for driving under the influence of a prescription or other drug, please contact a member of our legal team to discuss the details of your DUI case!

Contact a Gainesville DUI attorney from the firm to schedule your initial consultation.

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