When people hear the phrase "driving under the influence," they often think of driving while under the influence of alcohol. However, in addition to engaging in drunk driving, a person can easily be under the influence of other legal drugs as well -- namely prescription medication. Research shows that Tennessee actually has one of the highest rates of the use of prescription drugs in the United States.
Many drivers today are getting arrested not only for drinking and driving, but also for mixing alcohol and prescription drugs before getting behind the wheel. Because prescription drug use is so rampant in Tennessee, more police are seeing drivers who are impaired by both drugs or by prescription medication alone. In many cases, patients who are prescribed medicines simply do not anticipate the medication's effects.
Not realizing how a prescription drug will affect one's body can easily lead to a criminal charge of driving under the influence. These cases are actually growing in number in the state. This is because whether a person has imbibed alcohol or has taken prescription drugs, both can affect a person's ability to properly operate a vehicle and thus may result in injury or death.
Nevertheless, prosecutors in Tennessee must explicitly prove drunk driving charges or charges of driving under the influence of prescription drugs. A person who has been convicted of such a crime may have to pay a fine and court costs, and/or he or she may lose his or her license for a certain length of time, depending on the judge's ultimate decision. More serious cases could result in a prison term. It might be helpful for the criminal defense in such a case to focus on thoroughly reviewing the evidence that prosecutors plan to offer in court as proof of the validity of the government's accusations.
Source: fox17.com, Prescription Drugs Lead to Rise in DUI Case, No author, Jan. 24, 2014