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Sleep Driving

Sleep Driving Due to Ambien & Lunesta

According to Consumer Reports, Ambien and Lunesta may cause sleep driving. Drivers under the influence of Ambien and Lunesta have been pulled over and charged with a DUI for sleep driving. Contact our law office if you were recently charged with a DUI for sleep driving due to Ambien or Lunesta. Read on to learn more about the side effects of Ambien and Lunesta may impair your driving ability and how our Ambien DUI attorneys can help you.

Ambien & Lunesta Impaired Driving

Ambien is prescribed to treat sleep disorders. Ambien slows activity in the brain. This allows the body to relax and a person to fall asleep. Ambien is a prescription sedative used to treat insomnia or repeated waking up during the nights. Some major side effects of Ambien include the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Memory loss
  • Unusual dreams
  • Acting out activities in sleep

It has been reported that some people have been known to cook, drive, walk, and even engage in sexual intercourse in their sleep while taking Ambien. People will wake up with no recollection of such activities occurring.

Lunesta is also prescribed to treat sleep disorders. Lunesta helps people fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and lessen how often a person wakes up during the night. The drug stimulates the brain to release a calming effect which causes a person to relax and fall asleep. Doctors often prescribe the use of this medicine for a few weeks. Common side effects of Lunesta include the following:

  • Changes in behavior
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself
  • Hallucinations
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Engaging in activities while sleeping such as driving

If you sleep drive under the influence of Ambien or Lunesta, you may be charged with a DUI. For example, in California, Vehicle Code section 23152(e) makes it a crime to drive under the influence of prescribed drugs that affects a person’s nervous system. The penalties for driving under the influence of Ambien or Lunesta are the same that apply to driving under the influence of alcohol. If convicted, a person may be charged with committing a misdemeanor and spend up to one year in jail. The driver’s license may be suspended up to six months and fines and penalties will be assessed.

If you were sleep driving while taking Ambien or Lunesta, you may be able to use an involuntary conduct defense. Under this defense, you can prove that you did not intend to commit a crime because you were unaware of driving. This may apply in a sleep-walking Ambien scenario.

Most doctors warn their patients to immediately stop taking Ambien or Lunesta if they engage in activities while sleeping.

Ambien & Lunesta DUI Attorney

Contact our Lunesta DUI defense attorneys and Ambien DUI lawyers to speak with our Ambien DUI attorneys for more information on how to have the charge asserted against you reduced or completely dismissed. Depending on the nature of your case, you may be able to attend drug court program in lieu or serving time for your Ambien DUI. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.