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Drug and medication DUI cases are complicated. There are certain rules and certain aspects to the case that an inexperienced attorney might not know about. The biggest issue that really takes experience in knowing what you’re doing concerns the licensing issue: when you would end up getting a 1 year license revocation, when it would be a 90-day license suspension, when someone would get an ignition interlock device, and how to prevent someone from getting an ignition interlock device. These are things that an experienced attorney knows how to handle and how to ensure that you get the least amount of punishment possible.
Last week, I was in court and I watched someone who really had no idea what they were doing. They were representing a doctor and they had no experience in DUI. They set up their client to get the worst of both worlds and that client was going to end up with a 1-year license revocation as well as 1-year of ignition interlock device. I imagine he spent a lot of money on this attorney that really had no idea what they were doing because they didn’t know how to properly represent the doctor on their DUI case.
Experience is important, especially when dealing with drug or medication DUIs. Medication DUIs tend to go to trial more often; drug DUI cases tend to result in plea agreements, so it’s the matter of what can be done in plea agreement. Can it be reduced down to something less than the DUI, can it be reduced down to an alcohol DUI; what possibilities are there? It takes an experienced attorney to know the best route to take and what is possible when negotiating plea agreements with the prosecutor.
Most of my clients are just average people and getting a DUI doesn’t make them a bad person. If anything, they made a mistake. I do tend to see a lot of people in the medical profession, the tax sector, and the teaching sector. They tend to be alcohol DUIs. Drug or medication DUIs in those professions look much worse than an alcohol DUI. Doctors, nurses, and teachers can overcome an alcohol DUI, but it is much harder for them to overcome a drug or medication DUI because of the profession that they’re in.
Additionally, doctors, nurses, and teachers do have oversight committees and so they have to jump through additional hoops with their oversight committees above and beyond what happens with the criminal case itself. There are attorneys that focus on representing people in front of those committees, which is separate from the court system itself.
Anyone can get a DUI; it really doesn’t take much, especially in a state like this that punishes people for taking their prescription medications while driving and punishes people who are legally using marijuana under the Arizona medical marijuana laws and then drive. Both people can end up with DUIs. Simply having a nice night out with your family and drinking a glass of wine can result in a DUI. The safest thing to do is not to drive after consuming any alcohol, but it is difficult to say the same thing for medications.
Some people have been taking medications for years without issue, but that doesn’t stop them from getting a DUI once an officer sees them perform some odd driving maneuver such as failing to completely stop at a stop sign or weaving between lanes because they were checking their phone or fiddling with the radio. The officer will pull them over and maybe find out that they are taking prescription medications and then want to blame that prescription medication for the odd driving maneuvers that were observed.
Most of my clients are just average people and most of them can get through it without horrendous detrimental effects to their lives, but sometimes it does come down to having the right attorney and if you have the wrong attorney, like this doctor did last week, he doesn’t realize the horrendous effect that is going to come to him later on because he picked the wrong attorney to represent him.
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