DUI Ambien and ‘Sleep Driving’
DUI under the influence of drugs is the fastest growing type of impaired driving, and DUI under the influence of Ambien or other sleeping medications is common. You may wonder if there are any DUI Ambien Defenses, or how such cases are handled.
‘Sleep driving’ as defined by the FDA is ‘driving while not fully awake after ingestion of a sedative-hypnotic product, with no memory of the event’. Ambien, and many other popular sleeping medications, is a product that induces this state, by design. The purposes of those medications are to help induce sleep.
Sleep driving occurs practically when a driver takes Ambien or a similar medication, falls asleep, gets up (often while sleep walking or no consciousness of the event) and a drives a vehicle. According to a recent Orange County Crime Lab presentation, this is a growing trend, and Orange County Ambien DUI is a real danger. If you have been arrested for an Ambien related DUI, you will need to get in contact with an Orange County DUI Specialist to assist you.
The State of California estimates that this is the first year that drug DUI cases, whether prescribed narcotics or illegal drugs, will surpass alcohol DUI cases. There is a growing list of prohibited items that are illegal to drive under the influence of, including, among other substances, medical marijuana DUI and Kava Kava DUI. Ambien is one of the most common, but it is still illegal, and if you take any of these medications and are caught driving under their influence, you could be facing a conviction for a California DUI.
Sleeping Pill DUI Warnings
Back in 2007 the FDA ordered sleeping pill manufacturers to provide a clear warning of the effects of ‘sleep driving’. This is a significant move as it could be argued that this is evidence that ‘sleep driving’ in in fact an involuntary action. The circumstances of arrests also most often points to involuntary action, as most people are often pulled over semi-clothed, oblivious to the officers investigating, and are disorientated.
However, many of the convicted cases of ‘sleep driving’, involve those who have ignored clearly stated warning labels and have mixed the sleeping pills with alcohol or other drugs. Also common are those who have taken more than the recommended dosage. Some drivers will take Ambien or similar sleeping pills before driving home, hoping that the effects would kick in around the time that they get home. In these circumstances a conviction is possible, even without intent to drive drunk, and the circumstances can be defined as meeting the requirements for a Californian DUID.
With these dangers present it is incredibly important for yourself and for others that you are aware of your actions. If you currently take or are considering taking Ambien or a similar sleeping pill, never do so before driving and make sure you are completely alert before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. It may also be beneficial to hide your car keys or have someone else hide them for you before bedtime, for everyone’s sake.
If you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence of Sleeping Pills, within Orange County, it is advisable to get yourself a qualified Orange County DUI Specialist. A lawyer may be able to help you avoid a conviction, and can advise you on the best course of action to do so.
Any DUI charge is a serious offense and can result in the loss of a license or even jail time for repeat offenders. The charges can result in diminished job opportunities, fines, and a heavy stigma. Because ‘sleep driving’ is a relatively new phenomenon, hiring an attorney who specializes in DUI’s may help you on the path to having the charges dismissed entirely. Contact our firm today.