Charged with Arizona DUI for Using Prescription Medication

Recently, a man who was charged with Arizona DUI for using prescription medication, specifically aggravated driving under the influence, appealed his conviction and it was overturned. The man was arrested for driving under the influence after midnight one night and conducted an inventory search of the man’s car. In the driver’s car was a bottle containing Oxycodone. The man was taken to police station where he agreed to a blood draw. The test revealed a BAC of .037 and Oxycodone registered at 29 nanograms per milliliter. Because of the arrest, the man’s driver’s license was suspended. He was indicted on the charge of aggravated DUI but was only considered slightly impaired. He was also charged with possession of Oxycodone, but that charge was dismissed before the case went to court.

When the case went to court, the man showed that his prescription for immediate release Oxycodone was filled at a pharmacy not long before his arrest. Using A.R.S. 28-1381, the defendant asked for an affirmative defense jury instruction, which allows an individual who is using a drug as prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner to not be charged with driving while drugged. At that point, the prosecuting attorney agreed that the printout from the pharmacy should be admissible but that there was not sufficient evidence to show the qualifications of the physician or that the defendant had taken the drug as it was prescribed. The prosecutor argued that the defendant had gone against the warning of the manufacturer and mixed the prescription drug with alcohol, but the defendant and his attorney disagreed.

At that point, the court removed the defendant’s affirmative defense claim because it was found the medication records were not certified, and that it wasn’t proven that the prescription for Oxycodone was provided by a qualified physician as required in the law, and the defendant had not proven that the prescription drug was being used as prescribed and as it legally should. He was found not guilty of DUI while he was impaired in the slightest degree, but he was found guilty of aggravated DUI with Oxycodone in his bodily system. His sentence involved four months jail time and 30 months of probation.

What Happens When The Defendant Appeals His Arizona DUI Conviction?

In the appeal, the defendant argued that the prosecution was allowed to question a scientist her personal opinion rather than a professional opinion when she was asked if she would get into the vehicle with the defendant had she known his blood test results for Oxycodone and alcohol and she had said that she would not have done so. While the appellate court disagreed with that argument, they did determine that the affirmative action defense applied to the case because the pharmacy printout include the name of the pharmacy and the prescribing physician and that the defense expert had opined on the printout and the blood tests that the defendant’s use was consistent with prescribed use. The appellate court disagreed with the lower court and the prosecution, finding sufficient evidence was presented allowing the jury to find that he had met affirmative defense elements.arizona dui for using prescription medication

If you are facing charges of Arizona DUI for using prescription medication, you should consult with an experienced Arizona DUI attorney. With the help of an attorney, you might be able to tell the rest of the story and prove your innocence. Your lawyer will gather up evidence to support your case and to argue your defense. An attorney can help you fight a conviction and if you are convicted, guide you through the appeals process. These kinds of charges can impact you the rest of your life, so you don’t want to face these charges without an Arizona DUI attorney. Schedule a case evaluation today.