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Posted on February 12, 2016 in Drunk Driving

Physician Liability in DUI Cases

Prescription intoxication charges are extremely complex, and developing a defense requires the skill and expertise of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. If you’re facing a prescription related DUI charge, you may feel betrayed by the health care system – particularly if you were only following the orders of your doctor.

If you are facing this charge, you may be able to hold a physician, pharmacist, or a drug manufacturer responsible. You will still have to defend your DUI case in court, but it’s possible to hold the responsible party liable as a witness in a criminal malpractice case or a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit. Securing a lawsuit settlement may help you cover the costs of your DUI attorney defense.

Defending a Prescription Related DUI in Arizona

The state of Arizona can find drivers guilty of intoxication if they have a prescription-only medication in their system in amounts that exceed the prescribed dosage.

An officer cannot breathalyze a driver and determine the presence of a potentially impairing drug. The officer may, however, require a driver take a blood or urine test. Under implied consent laws in Arizona, refusing to take a urine or blood test may result in immediate arrest and a license suspension.

After an arrest, seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. There are several possible defenses to a drug-related DUI, particularly if a normally taken prescription medication was involved. Your attorney will conduct an independent investigation to prove you were taking your medication as directed, potentially freeing you from the consequences of driving while taking the prescription.

The prosecution must prove that the drug, and only the presence of the drug, was responsible for your vehicle stop. If a condition, malpractice, defective product, or other reason could have caused your driving behavior, the courts may rule in your favor. Every case is different, and your attorney will pursue the best strategy for your situation.

Holding a Physician or Third Party Liable After a Prescription DUI

If you successfully prove you were following all prescription guidelines as recommended, you may have the option to take further legal action to hold the responsible parties accountable. Prescriptions often come with warnings and recommendations that span several pages, and physicians/pharmacists have a duty to inform patients about certain warnings and side effects. When healthcare professionals and drug manufacturers fail to act reasonably and responsibly, they may be liable for any resulting harm or consequences, like a prescription related DUI.

Your drug crimes lawyer may recommend pursuing both a criminal and a civil case. If you suffered a prescription related DUI because of a physician’s or pharmacist’s negligent instruction or dosing, the case will fall under criminal or civil malpractice. Drug manufacturer charges fall under product liability. If the drug manufacturer released a defective drug, knowingly or carelessly, or failed to warn users of relevant side effects and hazards, the company is liable for any resulting harm or injury.

Talking to Your Attorney About a Prescription-Related DUI Case

Prescription related DUI cases can be difficult to defend, even if you had no idea that you were doing something illegal. You may be able to use evidence of malpractice or product liability to prove your innocence, and you always have the opportunity to pursue an additional case against the physician or manufacturer.

As a driver, always read medication instructions carefully before getting behind the wheel. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if driving with the medication is okay, and test any medicine at home before you drive. Acting as a conscientious consumer can improve your chances of overcoming a DUI-related charge.

For more information about your ability to beat a prescription-related DUI charge and hold the responsible party accountable, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Orent Law Offices.