DUI Charges After A Reaction Between Alcohol And Medication – What Floridians Should Know
We normally think of DUI – Driving Under the Influence – as something that happens when someone drinks more than they should and gets behind the wheel. Under Florida’s Statutes for Driving Under the Influence, however, a DUI charge can be filed even if the driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) was under .08.
If the person is under the influence of alcohol – or any chemical substance – to the “extent that the person’s normal faculties are impaired”. A well-known example of this was when Tiger Woods was arrested after falling asleep behind the wheel due to a combination of different medications.
Sometimes, impairment occurs even if a person only had one or two drinks, and that alcohol interacts with some other substance or medication – even a medication that a person was legally prescribed. These interactions can have surprising and sometimes dangerous effects for people, especially if they are driving.
Different medications can have different effects on a person when combined with alcohol. For example:
- Depressants. Depressants like xanax or valium can have a synergistic effect with alcohol, leading to dizziness, loss of balance, falling, memory loss or blackouts, and loss of consciousness.
- Stimulants. These include drugs like Adderall, Ritalin, or Concerta. They can mask the effects of alcohol, leaving a person uncertain or oblivious to their true level of intoxication. This can lead to problems with coordination, ability to stand or walk, impairments to judgment or perception, and loss of consciousness.
- Opiates. These may include Vicodin, Oxycontin, Percocet, or Tylenol 3 with Codeine. Drops in blood pressure, trouble breathing, loss of consciousness – even coma or death – can result from an improper combination of opiates with alcohol.
What makes any drug dangerous when combined with alcohol is we don’t know exactly how they will react with alcohol in each of our bodies. Some people may experience no issues at all if they have a drink while on medication. Others may have a serious or even extreme reaction, depending on their age, sex, body type, or genetic makeup. In general, women are more prone to adverse reactions to alcohol because alcohol mixes with body water, and women’s bodies carry less water than men’s. This means the effects of alcohol will impair women sooner – especially when combined with some other medication.
If this interaction happens while someone is behind the wheel, the results can not only be dangerous but illegal under Florida’s DUI laws. Even if a person was not “drunk”, they could face legal consequences including a DUI conviction.
Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Florida
Penalties for conviction of DUI in Florida can be severe and damaging. Depending on the facts of your case, you could face up to 6 months in jail, 12 months of supervised probation, 12-month driver license revocation, $1,000 fine, among other penalties. That is not to mention the lasting issues for your career and reputation if your license is revoked and you can no longer drive to work, for example. A DUI conviction on your record is usually there for life unless something is done to avoid a charge or conviction in the first place.
When to Call a Florida DUI Defense Attorney
If you are facing a DUI charge in the Orlando, Florida area you should contact an experienced DUI criminal defense attorney that has knowledge and extensive practice in this area. At Joshi Law Firm, PA, Orlando DUI lawyers will review all details of your situation and aggressively fight to protect your rights in criminal proceedings. If you were pulled over due to an unexpected reaction between medication and an alcoholic drink, we will make your case to the prosecutors, the judge, and a jury if needed to explain your situation. The circumstances may dictate a reduced charge or penalty, depending on the individual facts of your case.
The Orlando DUI Defense Attorneys at Joshi Law Firm, PA, Will Provide a Vigorous Defense Against DUI Charges
Unfavorable interactions between prescription medications and alcohol are surprisingly common, but many of us don’t know exactly how these combinations occur until something bad happens. Sometimes, this can involve a negative reaction while driving and an unexpected DUI charge. Our Orlando DUI lawyers at Joshi Law Firm will do everything possible to make sure your voice is heard and the facts in your favor are presented.