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Prescription Drug DUI

Prescription Drug DUI

Prescription Drug DUI

An accusation of driving under the influence (DUI) in Tempe can result from the ingestion of a medication or prescription pill, and does not necessarily have to arise from the consumption of alcohol. A DUI from prescription drugs can result in serious penalties, including a criminal record, mandatory jail terms and/or steep fines and assessments.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence of prescription pills, medications or drugs throughout Maricopa County, it is important to understand you do not necessarily have to be convicted of this offense. The state prosecutor has the very high burden of proof of showing you committed every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If the judge or jury has any doubt you committed even one small element to the offense, the charges against you may be reduced or even dismissed. Therefore, it is essential to contact an experienced DUI defense attorney in Maricopa County to help you create your best legal defense.

Mesa Prescription Drug DUI Lawyer

If you have been charged with DUI of prescription drugs in Mesa, or any of the surrounding areas in Arizona, including Tempe, Gilbert, Phoenix, Chandler, Scottsdale or East Valley, contact the Law Office of James E. Novak. Attorney James Novak is knowledgeable in all areas of Arizona’s DUI laws and will make every effort to find applicable defenses or mitigating factors to your alleged offense in order to have the charges against you reduced or even dismissed. Call the Law Office of James E. Novak for a free consultation at (480) 413-1499 about your alleged prescription pill or drug DUI.


Mesa Prescription Pill DUI Information Center


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Scottsdale Driving Under the Influence

According to the Arizona Revised Statutes 28-1381(A), an individual is prohibited from driving under the influence of prescription drugs or pills, alcohol and other controlled substances. If anyone takes a pill or medication then drives or operates their car, they can be pulled over and arrested for a DUI. Specifically, drivers in Arizona can be charged with a DUI if they drive or are in actual physical control of a vehicle while:

  • Any controlled substance or its metabolite, such as a prescription pill or medication, is in the alleged offender’s body, or
  • They are under the influence of any intoxicating liquor, drug, including medications and pills, a vapor releasing substance containing a toxic substance, or any combination if the individual is impaired to the slightest degree.

Under Arizona’s DUI laws, an alleged offender can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of prescription drugs if they are impaired to the slightest degree. Therefore, an individual can be arrested for a DUI in Arizona if a police officer believes the alleged offender is impaired at all and they have taken or used any amount of drugs, medications, pills, controlled substances or alcohol.


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Actual Physical Control in Mesa

An alleged DUI offender must have been driving or operating the car or motor vehicle or have been in actual physical control (APC) of the vehicle in order to be convicted of the alleged offense.

Although Actual physical control is not specifically defined under Arizona law, the Arizona Supreme Court held in Arizona v. Zaragoza that actual physical control is determined by whether the alleged offender’s present or imminent control of the vehicle presented a danger to the driver or the public at the time of the arrest. This is decided by the totality of the circumstances, or everything involved with and surrounding the situation, and not just by one single deciding factor. The court’s decision implies that the alleged offender does not have to actually be driving when they are arrested.

The factors the court will look at to determine the totality of the circumstances of whether the alleged offender had APC can include, but are not limited to, any of the following:

  • Whether the vehicle was running or stopped;
  • Whether the ignition was turned on;
  • Whether the driver was awake or asleep;
  • Whether the driver pulled over on their own free will;
  • Where the keys were located in the car;
  • Where the driver was located in the car;
  • The weather conditions that day; and/or
  • The time of day.

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Prescription Drugs in Scottsdale

According to Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3401(28), a prescription-drug involves:

  • Any drug not generally recognized among experts as safe, except by or under the supervision of a medical practitioner,
  • Any drug limited to use under the supervision of a medical practitioner by an approved new drug application, and
  • Any drug required by federal law to bear the label “Rx only,” or “Federal law prohibits without dispensing.”

Some of the most common types of prescription medications resulting in DUI in Tempe are:

  • Vicodin
  • Lortab
  • Hydrocodone
  • Codeine
  • Oxycontin
  • Oxycodone
  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Norco
  • Percocet

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Prescription Drug DUI Penalties in Scottsdale

A conviction for a first prescription pill DUI is generally a class1 misdemeanor, according to Arizona Revised Statutes § 28-1381(C), and can result in any of the following penalties:

  • A $500 assessment deposited in the prison construction and operations fund;
  • A $500 assessment deposited in the public safety equipment fund;
  • A criminal record;
  • A driver’s license suspension for 90 days;
  • A mandatory 10-day jail term;
  • At least a $250 fine;
  • Ignition interlock device installation for at least one year;
  • Court costs;
  • Community restitution or service;
  • Alcohol or drug testing; and/or
  • Alcohol or drug education and/or treatment program.

A conviction for a second prescription pill DUI within 48 months of any previous DUI conviction is also classified as a class 1 misdemeanor, according to Arizona Revised Statutes § 28-1381(K), and can result in any of the following penalties:

  • A $1,250 assessment deposited in the prison construction and operations fund;
  • A $1,250 assessment deposited in the public safety equipment fund;
  • A criminal record;
  • A mandatory 90-day jail term;
  • At least 30 hours of community service or restitution;
  • At least a $500 fine;
  • Driver’s license suspension for one year;
  • Ignition interlock device installation for at least one year;
  • Court costs;
  • Alcohol or drug testing; and/or
  • Alcohol or drug education and/or treatment program.

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Mesa Defenses and Mitigating Factors to Prescription Pill DUI

It is important to know that if you have been medically prescribed a drug or substance and are arrested for driving under the influence prescription drugs for the prescribed substance, you are not guilty of a DUI offense and the charges against you should be dismissed.

Additionally, a law enforcement officer will generally have to administer a blood or urine chemical test in order to show the alleged offender had prescription drugs or pills in their system. However, these tests can be influenced by many outside factors that can skew the results of the test. Your DUI defense lawyer in Tempe can use any of the following to challenge the results of the test in court:

  • If the blood or urine sample was contaminated;
  • If the blood or urine sample was properly administered;
  • If the blood or urine sample was properly handled;
  • If the blood or urine sample was properly preserved; and/or
  • If the test or testing equipment was expired.

Your criminal defense lawyer in Mesa may also be able to challenge in the court:

  • If the stop for DUI was legal,
  • If the car was properly searched for evidence,
  • If any evidence, such as pill or pill bottles, were properly seized, and/or
  • Whether the arresting officer followed correct procedure when making the stop and arrest.

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Law Office of James E. Novak, PLLC | DUI Prescription Pills in Mesa

Contact the Law Office of James E. Novak today for a consultation about your prescription pills driving under the influence offense throughout Maricopa County in Arizona. James Novak is an experienced Tempe DUI defense lawyer who will make every effort to help you achieve the most desirable outcome for your particular situation. Contact the Law Office of James E. Novak at (480) 413-1499 for a consultation about your alleged DUI from prescription drugs throughout Maricopa County in Arizona.