Jump to content
Belemi

False DWI

Recommended Posts

Hello, 

 

 Approximately three months ago I was pulled over for driving poorly. I crossed the white line several times. The situation was that on my way home from a counseling/therapy appointment I took two of my medications (Lyrica and Noratryptaline)  I do not normally take together. I took them  just before I drove home.  It was late. I didn't want to forget to take my meds and I had just picked them up from the pharmacy so I took them. Alone I've never had any kind of severe side effects so I didn't suspect that I have would have any this time either.  I became very sleepy and confused and unfortunately I kept telling myself that I was just fine to drive home,  which I wasn't.   Everything was a big blur. I ended up getting pulled over and arrested for driving intoxicated(  although I didn't know this until just the other day as I just got the official charges)  What complicates this whole thing is 2 1/2 years ago I had a DWI for being addicted to OxyContin. I went to treatment ..I've committed my life for 2 1/2 years to stay clean and sober and so the fact that this is happening has actually been quite devastating to me. I'm a teacher looking for a job.  if I get anything else on my record it's going to be next to impossible for me to find a job.  I have a chronic pain issue and Lyrica has been the only thing I've been able to take.   This whole thing was just a big mistake. An interaction of my medications that I had no idea that was going to happen. For years now I've been going to an NA, doing therapy twice a week, and  trying to pick my life up and put it back together. I went to treatment,  I still see my Dr. who deals with my recovery.  I am just devastated.  I have no clue what to do.  I can't afford to hire a lawyer to help me and I feel that relying on a public defender is risky as I do have a record. It would be very easy for them to not believe that my life has been committed to my recovery. If any of you have any advice on what I can do I'm in the Minnesota area.  I just hope and pray that there's somebody out there willing to help me with my case.  I need someone willing to do a pro bono case for me. I will do all the leg work myself but I just really need someone to help me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi @Belemi

 

Welcome to the Answers forum and thanks for posting your question. Sorry to hear about your DUI. While DUIs often are alcohol-related, driving under the influence of medications (even prescription medications) can be the grounds for the DUI. Was a blood sample taken at the time of your arrest? For some ideas about how to defend against a DUI, check out this Learn About the Law article.

 

Affording a criminal defense attorney can be extremely difficult. However, your strongest defense against this DUI is hiring an experienced attorney. For a free consultation with an attorney, click here. If there is no possible way that you can afford an attorney, you may have to ask for a public defender.

 

Best of luck!

The FindLaw.com Team

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Criminal defense attorneys generally don't do DUI's pro bono.  Public defenders handle these type of cases on a daily basis.  If you can't afford a private attorney, you're better off with a public defender than trying to handle this yourself.  You're looking at 30 days in jail plus fines, community service, etc. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes they did a blood test.  They had a list of my medications too.  I don't know how to defend myself in this case because of my history.  I literally feel like throwing in the towel.  I have a medication interaction and my life is potentially ruined.  What steps can I take to help prove this? I have all my providers and friends writing letters, I've made an appointment for a drug and alcohol assessment but I don't know next steps? My first court date is October 31st. It says I'll be fingerprinted on that day.  I can't afford a lawyer but is it advisable to still get a free consultation? I can't just sit back and take this because I know how committed to my recovery I've been. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Belemi said:

I can't afford a lawyer but is it advisable to still get a free consultation?

You're not going to learn much from a free consult.  You need counsel.  The public defenders ARE attorneys.  They know how to handle these cases. 

16 minutes ago, Belemi said:

I don't know how to defend myself in this case because of my history

Which is why, since you can't afford private counsel, you ask for the public defender to be appointed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course I'll get a public defender but I'm worried they won't truly care about my situation. If I was an active user who was purposely careless then I would deserve to have harsh consequences.  This was a severe medication interaction. Thanks for the reply.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Belemi said:

I don't know how to defend myself in this case because of my history.  I literally feel like throwing in the towel.  I have a medication interaction and my life is potentially ruined.  What steps can I take to help prove this?

 

Prove what?  Your original post is a clear admission that you're guilty.  You wrote that you took two medications that you don't normally take together, and that's something a responsible adult NEVER should do, unless recommended by a doctor.  And, on top of that, you certainly shouldn't do something like that and then get behind the wheel of a car.  Note that your history isn't relevant to the guilt phase of your case (it may be relevant to the sentencing phase).

 

 

15 hours ago, Belemi said:

Of course I'll get a public defender but I'm worried they won't truly care about my situation.

 

I guess that depends on your definition of "truly care."  Certainly, a PD isn't going to spend extra time on your case to provide emotional support.  However, as one of the prior responses noted, these folks handle cases like this all the time and know the ins and outs of the system.  And, of course, if you can't afford to pay a private attorney, you have little choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can see what you are saying although I do not agree.   They are both evening meds and both prescribed. I just normally take one at 5 and the other at 8. That's 3 hours and I believe any person would have assumed it would make no difference.  I have been on both a long time and knew of its side effects. If it had been new then hell no I wouldn't have taken them. There was no previous indication that I would have had a reaction like I did.  I believe I'm a responsible adult who had an unexpected medication reaction to my psyc meds.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think intent matters in this case.  I'm not an actively using person who just wanted my "drugs" and didn't care about wellbeing of the public.  I think this was a case of Mistake of Fact. Hell...I even waited in my car for 1 hour before driving to make sure I was safe.  I feel awful about this and stupid for not just waiting two more hours till I got home. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mistake of fact is only a defense where the mistake negates the intent element of a crime.  Since the DWI statute contains no intent element, mistake of fact is not a viable defense.  Everything you've written may cause the prosecutor or court to cut you a deal or reduce the sentence, but it is legally irrelevant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You drove when you were knowingly impaired. It doesn't matter what you intended to do, or what you thought would happen. While it is great that you are committed to your recovery from your addiction, it has nothing to do with the error in judgment in getting behind the wheel and continuing to drive, while impaired. Taking any medication before getting behind the wheel is a very bad idea. Once you knew your driving was impaired, you should have pulled over.

 

The "good" news is that DUIs are unlikely to affect your ability to obtain a teaching license. Teaching positions which require driving are probably out, but should not be a total bar to your chosen profession.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...