Phoenix DUI Lawyer Pushes Back On Prescription Drug Related Cases

DUI Charges While On Prescription Medication

Many Arizonans are surprised when they are charged with a DUI on drugs for their legally prescribed medications. However, Arizona’s DUI laws allow you to be charged with a DUI on prescription drugs when an officer believes that you are impaired to the slightest degree by your medication.

In certain cases, people will be stopped by the police and told that they are allegedly impaired, even though they are following their doctors’ orders. If you face these types of charges, you should get help from experienced DUI attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta.

The Issue with Charges of Drugged DUI for Prescription Medications

Prescription drug DUIs are problematic. Millions of people rely on the advice of their doctors to treat their medical conditions. According to the Health Policy Institute at Georgetown University, 66% of adults in the US take one or more prescription drugs. Many prescription drugs do not impair driving and might improve it. Body chemistry differs from person to person, and prescription drugs may have different impacts on different people.

Depending on a person’s age, chemistry, and other substances he or she takes, a prescription drug may have a broad range of therapeutic or detrimental effects.

An officer’s determination of impairment is also largely subjective and based on his or her observations. This means that you might be charged with driving on painkillers when you are not truly impaired, based solely on the opinion of the arresting officer.


DUI on Drugs Under ARS 28-1381(A)(1) and (A)(3)

You can be charged with a DUI on prescription drugs under two separate sections of ARS 28-1381. Under ARS 28-1381(A)(1), it is illegal to drive or to be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while you are impaired by any drug, alcohol, or combination of drugs and alcohol. This statute is a zero-tolerance law that strictly prohibits driving under the influence of drugs, including those that are legally prescribed.

Because there are a continuous amount of new types of pharmaceuticals released regularly, it is difficult to maintain a complete list of all that can impair someone’s driving. However, there are types of pills that can influence someone’s ability to drive.

These include prescription medications and over-the-counter pills such as:

Medications for Allergies
Anxiety and Anti-depressants
Medications that contain Codeine
Cold & Flu medications
Certain diet pills
Opioids and other painkillers
Sleeping pills

You can also be charged with a DUI under ARS 28-1381(A)(3) if you drive with any amount of an illegal drug in your system. This includes driving while you have prescription drugs in your system for which you do not have a valid prescription.

This is a strict-liability Arizona DUI law because it does not matter whether you are impaired by the illegal drug in your system.

However, if you are charged with a DUI under (A)(3), you can defend against it by showing you had a valid prescription for the drug at the time of your arrest. In many cases, prosecutors will charge people with DUIs under both (A)(1) and (A)(3) to try to secure convictions. If you are convicted under both subsections, however, you will only receive one sentence. Having a valid prescription is not a defense to a DUI under (A)(1).

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Arizona DUI Defense and DUI Laws

Being arrested for a DUI can be frightening for most people. Many Arizonans charged with DUIs do not have any previous experience with the criminal justice system and do not know what might happen to them.

The experienced DUI attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta can help you understand the charges you face and guide you through the process. We are aggressive criminal defense lawyers who work hard to secure the best possible outcomes for our clients.


How a DUI Defense Lawyer Can Help

Your Phoenix DUI defense lawyer from Colburn Hintze Maletta can help you in the following ways:

Advise you about the DUI laws and what to expect at your court hearings
Negotiate a reduced sentence or reduced charges
Win a dismissal of the charges
Appear with or for you at all hearings
Save money on your court fees
Secure a not guilty verdict at trial

When you retain a DUI defense lawyer from Colburn Hintze Maletta, you are much likelier to secure a favorable outcome than if you try to represent yourself. You will also have an advocate by your side to help you throughout the criminal court process.


[email protected]
Colburn Hintze Maletta PLLC
2633 E. Indian School Rd.
Suite 110
Phonenix AZ 85016
(602) 902-1953

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