When most people hear the term “operating while intoxicated,” they think about driving under the influence of alcohol; however, you could be charged with OWI in Wisconsin for driving under the influence of prescription drugs as well. If you were recently charged with impaired driving after taking sleeping medication, pain killers, or other prescription drug, you should immediately contact a qualified OWI lawyer to begin preparing an appropriate defense strategy.
In order to pull a driver over on suspicion of operating while intoxicated, the officer must first establish probable cause that a crime is being committed. Generally, this could mean that the driver is weaving or straddling lanes. If the driver then appears intoxicated, he or she may be transported to the police station and asked to take a breath or blood test.
If—after administering the breathalyzer test—the arresting officer believes that the driver is under the influence of another impairing substance, a specialized officer may be brought in to perform a Drug Recognition Evaluation (DRE). During this assessment, which takes approximately one hour, the DRE officer will ask the driver to perform a number of field sobriety tests. The officer will also take the driver’s vital signs, assess the driver’s pupils, evaluate the driver’s muscle tone, and look for any injection sites on the driver’s body.
After the physical examination is complete, the DRE officer will then advise the driver of his or her Miranda rights and ask questions about the drugs that the driver is currently taking. This allows the DRE officer to determine the category of drug that is causing the driver’s impairment before ordering a blood or urine test.
While the DRE officer may use a medical assessment to determine if you were impaired by prescription medication, the fact is that an officer is not a doctor; therefore, challenging his or her evaluation may be possible with the right attorney on your side. If no DRE officer is utilized in your case, a good attorney can point out that a regular police officer has no training to determine what impairment, if any, may be due to any prescription drugs in your system.
At Tracey Wood & Associates, our attorneys have dedicated their legal careers to defending Wisconsin residents accused of OWI. We have helped a numerous clients successfully fight their prescription drug OWI charges. Additionally, we have taught other attorneys in Wisconsin how to fight prescription drug cases and are often the first attorneys called to consult on such cases due to our experience in this area.
Don’t let an OWI charge turn your life upside down. Please complete our online evaluation form right now to schedule time for an initial consultation.