If you are arrested for DUI it may actually be sleep driving

If you are arrested for DUI it may actually be sleep driving

Posted by Craig Penrod | Jan 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

Defense attorneys across the country are encountering clients who have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs. At the same time, these clients do not recall driving their motor vehicle. The last thing these clients recall is taking prescription sedatives and falling asleep.

In Tempe, Phoenix or other communities in Maricopa County, it is important that you consult experienced Arizona DUI lawyers like those associated with the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod, P.C.

Law enforcement officers and prosecutors have have scoffed at reports of sleep walking and sleep driving calling this the latest defense lawyer trick. These same officers and prosecutors also scoffed at mouth alcohol problems, chemical interferents on the breath and radio frequency interference, before manufacturers of berate testing equipment quietly began installing mouth alcohol detectors, interferent detectors and radio frequency interference (RFI) detectors on their breath testing machines. Interferent is defined as: "any chemical or physical phenomenon that can interfere with or disrupt a reaction or process."

Concerned about the possibility of sleep driving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that all manufacturers of sedative-hypnotic drug products, a class of drugs used to induce and/or maintain sleep, enhance their product labeling to include stronger language concerning potential risks. These risks include severe allergic reactions and complex sleep-related behaviors, which may include sleep-driving. "There are a number of prescription sleep aids available that are well-tolerated and effective for many people," said Steven Galson, M.D., MPH, director of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "However, after reviewing the available post-marketing adverse event information for these products, FDA concluded that labeling changes are necessary to inform health care providers and consumers about risks."

In addition, FDA has requested that manufacturers of sedative-hypnotic products develop Patient Medication Guides for the products to inform consumers about risks and advise them of potential precautions that can be taken. Patient Medication Guides are handouts given to patients, families and caregivers when a medicine is dispensed. The guides will contain FDA-approved information such as proper use and the recommendation to avoid ingesting alcohol and/or other central nervous system depressants. When these Medication Guides are available, patients being treated with sleep medications should read the information before taking the product and talk to their doctors if they have questions or concerns. Patients should not discontinue the use of these medications without first consulting their health care provider.

Sleep driving is defined as driving while not fully awake after ingestion of a sedative-hypnotic product, with no memory of the event. There are two components to a crime: the guilty mind and the guilty act. Unlike most crimes driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is a strict liability offense. Basically, it is categorized as a general intent offense and the lack of specific intent to drink too much alcohol and then to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is not a defense. An underlying requirement of all offenses, however, is although there does not need to be an intent to do a specific act, there must be conscious control of that act. For example, an epileptic would not be criminally charged with assault if the incident occurred during a seizure. Thus, even if there had been pre-existing intent, there was no conscious control during an epileptic seizure.

The bottom line is that if a person takes a prescription sedatives to help you sleep, there is the potential for you to wake up in a jail cell charged with DUI.

It is important that your DUI legal situation should be handled by expert professionals with the experience possessed by the attorneys at the Law Offices of Craig W. Penrod, P.C. Our office offers free consultations for all DUI and criminal matters. Our Arizona DUI attorneys and Arizona criminal lawyers can provide you with the experience and knowledge needed for qualified representation. An experienced Arizona DUI lawyer is vital in DUI cases and our DUI attorneys set that standard. If you're in need of a criminal defense, our Arizona criminal attorneys are ready to assist you.

About the Author

Craig Penrod

Craig W. Penrod was born and raised in Arizona and has practiced criminal defense for over 30 years. Mr. Penrod is a member of the State Bar of Arizona, Maricopa County Bar Association, State of Nevada Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Trial Lawyers Association, Arizona Trial Lawyers Association, Nevada Trial Lawyers Association, Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

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