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Felony DUI for prescription drug abuse a Tennessee problem

Tennessee authorities say that a recent traffic stop in Henderson County underscores some of the problems that law enforcement are targeting on our roadways. The apparent prevalence of prescription drugs has been an issue of some concern to police throughout our state. Indeed, as many as three quarters of all driving under the influence arrests -- including those for felony DUI -- are attributable to the ingestion of prescription drugs, either on their own or together with alcohol.

Tennessee law enforcement connected to the Henderson County Sheriff's Office stopped a vehicle in Lexington on a recent Wednesday afternoon. In a media report of the incident, there was no reason given for stopping the vehicle on Highway 412. In addition to the 24-year-old driver, a couple also occupied the vehicle. Authorities say that Sheriff's deputies reported smelling "something suspicious," though no further details were provided. Nevertheless, the officers reportedly requested permission to search the vehicle.

During the subsequent search, an unspecified amount of drugs was seized. The seizure reportedly included some prescription pills, marijuana (in both a natural and synthetic state) and hydrocodone pills. No further description was offered of the drugs purportedly found, though officials estimated that their estimated street value amounted to "thousands of dollars."

There is no question but that Tennessee law enforcement has a difficult job in combating felony DUI and drug crimes. Some estimates report that our state is second in the nation for prescription drug abuse. Nevertheless, those accused of crimes have basic legal rights, not the least of which is the assurance that they will be dealt with fairly and impartially in a manner that is consistent with our laws. As these cases now proceed to criminal court, each accused person will need to focus on the specifics of the accusations leveled against them, and they will surely gain by securing representation that supports their right to contest the allegations and fight for the best possible result.

Source: wbbjtv.com, "Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Bust," Natalie Potts, June 20, 2013

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