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Connecticut Prescription Drug DUI Arrests (Part 1 of 2)

Connecticut Prescription Drug DUI Arrests
(Part 1 of 2)

It might be surprising to learn that you can be arrested in Connecticut for a DUI without ever having ingested a drop of an alcoholic beverage. This is because the same Connecticut DUI / DWI laws that make it illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol also make it illegal to drive under the influence of drugs, even drugs legally prescribed by your doctor. As the best Stamford and Greenwich Connecticut DUI / DWI criminal lawyers would agree, the term “drugs” as it is used in the statute can mean illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine, but it can also mean medications that were either purchased over the counter, such as cough medicine, or even medication that a physician legally prescribed to you. So if you are pulled over or arrested for 14-227a DUI / DWI in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, Westport or New Canaan for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of prescription drugs, then you should immediately contact a top Stamford or Greenwich DWI / DUI criminal lawyer attorney, to either advise you on whether to take the field sobriety tests, answer any questions, or submit to a blood alcohol content breath or urine test.

Connecticut’s Prescription Drug DUI / DWI Arrest Statute – CGS 14-227a

Any top Fairfeld, Weston or Westport Connecticut DUI / DWI criminal lawyer attorney will point you to Connecticut’s DUI statute – C.G.S. 14-227a. This statute makes it illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or with an elevated blood alcohol content. For the purposes of this statute, the word “motor vehicle” can mean any vehicle that is operated on a public highway, but it also includes snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) that are known by some as “quads” or “four-wheelers.” Even though a prescription drug will not elevate your blood alcohol content, it can still impair your driving abilities, even if you take it as prescribed. Click here for more on Connecticut DUIs / DWIs, in general.

The best Stamford and Greenwich criminal DUI / DWI attorneys and lawyers know that sometimes medications have warning labels on them that instruct you to refrain from operating motor vehicles or heavy machinery. These warnings are there because certain individuals, although not all, will get a reaction from a prescription drug that causes them to have symptoms that affect their driving abilities – such as loss of balance, altered vision and slowed reflex or reaction times. For more on Prescription Drug DUIs, visit What is a Connecticut Drug DUI?

Does a Prescription from My Doctor Protect Me from a Connecticut Prescription Drug Arrest?

No. The best Darien, New Canaan and Fairfield Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys get this question all the time. Even if you are taking your prescribed medications as directed, you can get arrested in Stamford, New Canaan, Greenwich or elsewhere in Connecticut for CGS 14-227a DUI / DWI. This can be quite startling to drivers, since most people often believe that if a doctor prescribes them medication, then it must be safe to use. The last thing you’re thinking about when you take a prescription medication in accordance with its instructions, is that you might end up in handcuffs when you are in your vehicle driving to the grocery store or to your doctor’s office. While it helps your case that the drug at issue was legally prescribed, it does not prevent an arrest in Connecticut for 14-227a DUI / DWI.

A Connecticut Prescription Drug DUI / DWI Traffic Stop – Getting Pulled Over

There are usually 2 scenarios that result in a traffic stop for suspected Prescription Drug DUI / DWI in Stamford or Greenwich Connecticut. The first occurs when the local police set up a random DUI / DWI sobriety checkpoint. A checkpoint officer will speak with you, observe you closely and may ask you to pull over so they can conduct more testing. The second scenario occurs when you are pulled over because you have violated some motor vehicle infraction law such as speeding, running a red light, having a broken tail light, tinted windows, or failing to stop at a stop sign. During this ordinarily routine traffic stop, top Stamford Connecticut DUI / DWI criminal lawyers know that police officers will carefully scrutinize your speech patterns, motor skills in reaching for your license and car registration, and other physical cues that may indicate you are intoxicated or impaired. During either of these traffic stops, the officer may ask if you have been drinking or using drugs or taking any prescription drugs, and then ask you to step outside of the vehicle to submit to a field sobriety test or roadside breath test. Remember, it may not be most comfortable situation, but you do not have to answer these questions or take any of these tests. At this point, most people who are arrested for DUI / DWI in Stamford, Ridgefield or Westport Connecticut have the same thought running through their minds when the police officer asks you to step out of their cars: “Should I take these tests?” That’s when you need to call a top Stamford or Wilton Connecticut DUI / DWI criminal lawyer attorney to give you the proper advice on what to do next.

Should You Take the Field Sobriety Test and Breath Test during a Prescription Drug DUI / DWI Arrest?

First, the arresting officer will try and administer the field sobriety tests, which require the officer to observe your eye movements, and to conduct a walking test and a balancing test. Failing the field sobriety test, in and of itself, can result in a DUI arrest for driving while under the influence of prescription drugs. Then they will ask you to take a breath test to determine your BAC level (blood alcohol content). In a prescription drug DUI / DWI arrest, the upside of taking the breath test is that if you have not been consuming alcohol, then you will pass the breath test and the DMV will not be able to suspend your license. If you refuse the breath, blood or urine tests, however, then the DMV can automatically suspend your Connecticut driver’s license for 6 months. Before taking any field or BAC sobriety test, and before answering any questions as to whether you are taking prescription drugs, you should ask the officer if you can contact your top Greenwich DUI / DWI criminal lawyer. Remember, anything you say can and will ultimately be used against you in your Connecticut Prescription Drug DUI / DWI arrest, so be sure to contact a top Westport, Fairfield or New Canaan criminal lawyer attorney as soon as you can during a traffic stop for a suspected Prescription Drug DUI / DWI arrest in Connecticut.

Continue Reading…Connecticut Prescription Drug DUI Arrests, Part 2 of 2
(Fighting Prescription Drug DUI / DWI arrests, First Time Connecticut DUI / DWI offenders, and much more)