Ambien Involuntary Conduct Defense
In California, and other states in the country, you can only be prosecuted for a crime if you voluntarily engaged in the criminal offense. For example, if you consumed large quantities of alcohol prior to driving, you could be arrested and charged with a DUI. On the other hand, if someone slipped marijuana into a product you consumed unbeknownst to you prior to driving, and you were later arrested for driving under the influence of THC, you would likely have a successful defense for a lack of knowledge in committing a crime.
In the context of taking prescribed sleep medication, most people are unaware of the harmful effect the medication can have on their driving abilities. Some people take the drug many hours prior to driving. Though a driver may feel fine, the side-effects of Ambien could result in a driver having no memory of operating his/her motor vehicle. So, does a driver have a valid legal defense if he/she consumes Ambien hours prior to operating a motor vehicle and is involved in an accident or falls asleep at the wheel?
A finding of guilt will depend on many factors. For example, the court considers the following before making a determination:
- Whether the Ambien medication had a warning printed on the bottle instructing users to not operate a motor vehicle while taking the drug.
- The driver’s blood confirms he/she consumed both Ambien and alcohol prior to driving.
- The medication warning label contained a warning prohibiting the mixing of alcohol and Ambien.
- The driver’s dosage of Ambien exceeded the prescribed amount.
- The driver consumed the drug knowing he/she would be operating a motor vehicle.
- The driver felt drowsy prior to operating his/her motor vehicle.
If you do not meet any of the factors above, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to have the charge asserted against you reduced or completely dismissed. For example, depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to assert a credible defense for sleep driving (similar to sleep walking) while under the influence of Ambien. In addition to the above referenced factors, the court will also consider whether the Ambien was legally prescribed and whether you have a history with substance or prescription medication abuse.
Gerald was having trouble sleeping. Dr. Johnson prescribed Ambien to treat Gerald’s sleep deprivation. Gerald had rarely taken any prescribed drugs throughout his life. After consuming Ambien, he dosed off on the couch. He woke up in his driveway with his car running. An officer approached him and believed that he may be under the influence of a drug. The officer arrested Gerald and took him down to the police station. Gerald has no clue how he ended up in his driveway. Does Gerald have a credible involuntary conduct defense?
In the above referenced example, because Gerald did not intend to commit a crime, he has a credible involuntary conduct defense. Contact our Ambien DUI lawyers if you were charged with an DUI for Ambien (or Lunesta) consumption. They will review your case and decide if the Ambien Involuntary Conduct Defense will work for you. They also handle DMV hearings associated with an Ambien DUI or Lunesta DUI.
No matter what state you were arrested in our team of Ambien DUI defense attorneys can help as they serve all 50 states and Washington D.C. including: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wyoming and Wisconsin.