Ambien DUI Charges Vs. Alcohol DUI Charges
When people think of DUIs, they usually conclude that a person was driving under the influence of alcohol. However, in California and all other states, a driver can be charged with a DUI if he/she operates a motor vehicle under the influence of Ambien. Ambien is a prescribed medication used to treat insomnia. A common side effect of Ambien is people engaging in activities while sleep. Ambien users often have no recollection of the activities they engaged in while sleep. Taking Ambien to treat a sleep disorder can be dangerous. Read on to learn more about how Ambien DUI charges differ from alcohol induced DUIs.
Alcohol Induced DUI
In order to be charged with a DUI in California, the driver must operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. A police officer will use an assortment of chemical tests to determine a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). If a driver’s BAC is above the legal limit, he/she will be charged with a DUI.
Alcohol DUIs are intentional. This means a driver intentionally committed the act of driving under the influence. In regards to Ambien users, most do not intend to sleep drive while taking the drug. The penalties for alcohol and Ambien DUIs are similar.
Ambien Induced DUI
Ambien users are often subject to sleep driving. Sleep driving is similar to sleep walking. It occurs when a person is operating a vehicle while not fully awake. While under the influence of Ambien, a person may have no memory of operating a motor vehicle while sleep. The FDA defines sleep driving as “driving while not fully awake after ingestion of a sedative-hypnotic product, with no memory of the event.” Warnings are placed on Ambien packaging to warn users of its dangerous side effects.
If you are arrested for driving under the influence of Ambien, you may face criminal penalties. 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. Criminal penalties for driving under the influence of Ambien are similar to alcohol DUI penalties. A major difference between alcohol and Ambien DUI cases arises with defenses.
A driver can only be criminally prosecuted for a crime in which he/she voluntarily engaged in a criminal act. For example, if a person consumed alcohol and got behind the wheel to drive, he/she could be charged with drunk driving. In the context of Ambien users, most people who take Ambien do not intend to sleep drive. Most Ambien users have no memory of driving. This allows an Ambien user to plead an involuntary defense to the alleged crime. This defense rarely applies in alcohol related DUI cases.
Contact Our Ambien DUI Attorneys
Contact our team of Ambien DUI defense lawyers for a consultation if you are facing Ambien DUI charges in any state. We can review your case and help reduce the charge asserted against you to reckless driving, or have your case dismissed completely. Do not delay in obtaining legal counsel. Doing so could result in additional criminal penalties.
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.