I was charged with a DUI for cough medicine. Can I fight the charge?
Whether or not you will successfully be able to fight a codeine-based DUI charge will depend on several factors, so your best option is to consult a lawyer about your specific case. However, in most states, driving under the influence of drugs is the same as driving under the influence of alcohol.
In a situation in which you have not been drinking or abusing drugs, it is always best to opt for a breath test and/or road-side sobriety test to prove to the officer on-the-spot that you are not intoxicated. But be sure to tell your attorney every detail of what happened and how much codeine you had taken for your cough, it may be the case that you weren’t necessarily under the influence of the codeine even though it was in your blood. Driving while intoxicated laws also differ on this issue from state to state, you can find out about the laws in your state here.
Getting into an Accident While on Codeine
If you injured another party during an accident that was your fault, and a hospital blood test shows you had codeine in your system at the time, you may be charged with a drunk driving violation; and this will fair against you if the other driver presses charges. In this case, you should act promptly and hire a defense lawyer. He or she will not be able to stop them from charging you if the blood test shows your were under the influence of drugs, but it is best to have representation early on in the process.
What if I'm Uncertain if the Police Know I Tested Positive for Codeine?
If you are uncertain of whether or not the police accessed the hospital blood test and whether or not they know you had codeine in your system, you can be certain that you'll receive an order to appear in court if they know and plan to charge you with a DWI (driving while intoxicated).
If you retain an attorney, he or she can notify the police and prosecutor that he represents you, they will likely offer a courtesy notice when a warrant for your arrest issues. Then instead of the police arresting you, your lawyer just takes you to court and asks the judge to set bail. Procedures vary from state to state, but it is certainly worth seeing a lawyer to see if you can do this.
The alternative is to risk being arrested at your home or place of work, which can lead to a more expensive, more humiliating ordeal than if you take pro-active steps. You are likely to be subject to higher bail and more time in jail if you wait to see if you the police have issued a warrant for you arrest for a DWI.
Because laws on driving under the influence vary by state, it's important that you consult with a DUI/DWI attorney in your area. Remember, in these cases it is always better to consult with an experienced professional before going forward with your DUI or DWI situation.