Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer George Heym 

FORMER ALLEGHENY COUNTY DUI PROSECUTOR!

Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer George Heym
The Law Offices of George Heym 564 Forbes Ave, Suite 810 Pittsburgh, PA 15219 412-521-2628
Schedule I           Schedule II           Schedule III Heroin Oxycodone Ketamine LSD Hydrocodone Mescaline Morphine Peyote Cocaine Psilocybin Methadone Marijuana Amphetamine
T.O.C. next page prev page

The DUI Charges

Q.

How can I be charged with DUI if the police don’t know my BAC yet?

A. Police must have a factual basis to file DUI charges. However, the BAC result is often not necessary to fulfill this requirement. The reason for this is that the DUI statute actually allows for charges where there is no BAC result – for example when someone refuses to submit to testing.  This portion of the statute requires what is known as “General Impairment”. It is based upon a subjective standard that you are under the influence of alcohol to the extent that you cannot drive safely. This standard is met by the police officer testifying regarding her observations of your driving behavior, field sobriety test results and any other signs of intoxication that she may have observed (the odor of alcohol, red eyes etc.). The officer can then testify that based upon all of her observations of the above, and based upon her training and experience, you were under the influence to the extent that you could not drive safely. Thus, the police officer can file the initial charges based upon this “general impairment” portion of the DUI statute and add the DUI section regarding your specific BAC at the preliminary hearing when the BAC testing results are available.

Q.

Can I be charged with DUI for driving with a legally prescribed medication in

my system?

A. Yes, the DUI law provides that you can be charged with DUI for having a prescribed “controlled substance” in your system.  The definition of a “controlled substance” is set by Federal Law. “Scheduled” prescription drugs can lead to DUI charges. Examples would be narcotic pain killers, sleeping pills and many others. (See fig. 1 next page) Just because you have a prescription for a medication does not necessarily mean that you are allowed to drive while it is in your system. The legal standard for this type of DUI is that you are under the influence of a prescribed controlled substance, or combination of prescribed controlled substances, which “impairs” your ability to drive safely. It should be noted that this “impairment” standard is much lower than the “incapable of safe driving” standard which is required under the “general impairment” (alcohol) portion of the statute. Therefore, it is far easier to be convicted of driving under the influence of a prescribed medication than it is to be convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol where there is no BAC testing. Fig. 1 Some common examples of scheduled Controlled Substances under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. All Schedule I substances are illegal drugs and Schedule II and III require a valid prescription.

Q.

Can I be charged with DUI for driving with an illegal drug in my system?

A. Yes, the Pennsylvania DUI Statute provides that you can be charged with driving under the influence of many illegal controlled substances. These include any schedule I drug and any schedule II or III (see fig. 1) drug for which you do not have a valid prescription. The standard applied is whether you have ANY amount of a Schedule I, II or III (without valid prescription) drug in your blood at the time you are driving. Further, the DUI law provides that having ANY amount of the metabolite of any of these drugs in your blood also violates the DUI statute.  Metabolites are the substances produced by your body in breaking down these drugs.  The metabolites of some controlled substances, most notably marijuana, can remain in your system for some time. This means that the Commonwealth does not need to prove that your driving was impaired in any way. Rather, it only needs to prove that the drug, or its metabolite, was in your blood when you were driving. For example, it is possible to ingest marijuana and be charged with DUI days or even weeks later when the metabolite is still in your blood.

Q.

Can I be charged with DUI for driving with a combination of alcohol and

drugs in my blood?

A. Yes, the DUI statute provides that DUI includes driving under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol. The first important factor regarding this offense is that the DUI law only requires that the combination of drugs and alcohol “impair” your ability to drive safely. Also, there is no BAC requirement for this part of the statute. Thus, any amount of alcohol combined with drugs can lead to charges. Further, under this portion of the DUI statute it does not matter whether or not the drug in your system was legally prescribed to you or not. This means that as long as the combination of alcohol and drugs “impairs” your ability to drive safely you have committed DUI – even if the drug in question was one that was prescribed to you by a doctor.  It is also important to know that this statute uses the words “drugs” as opposed to using the words “controlled substances” as it does in other parts of the statute.  This means that you can be charged even if you have prescribed drugs in your blood other than those in Schedule I, II or III. A few examples would be Xanax and Valium which are Schedule IV drugs.  Finally, it is also possible to be charged with DUI for a combination of alcohol and non-Scheduled, or even non-prescription, drugs if they have the effect of “impairing” your ability to drive safely when taken with alcohol.

Q.

Can I be charged with DUI for driving with a non-prescription drug in my

system?

A. Yes, the DUI statute provides that DUI includes driving under the influence of ANY “drug” that “impairs” your ability to drive safely. This could potentially include many over the counter medications if it can be proven that the amount in your blood “impaired” your ability to drive safely. Examples would be drugs such as some antihistamines, cough medications and other medications that might make you drowsy or less alert. This type of charge is very case specific. The amount of non-prescription medications in your system, and their effects, will vary from medication to medication. Further, having a combination of these types of medications might have more of an effect than one alone.  Only an experienced Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer can review the specific facts of your case to determine if there is a legal basis for the charges.
Pittsburgh Driving Under The Influence of Marijuana DUI under the influence of prescribed medication Pittsburgh DUI drugs
Call or Text me on my Cell Phone 24/7 at 412-216-4984
Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer George Heym accepts all credit cards
Free DUI Consultation
The Law Offices of George Heym 564 Forbes Ave, Suite 810 Pittsburgh, PA 15219 412-521-2628
Schedule I           Schedule II           Schedule III Heroin Oxycodone Ketamine LSD Hydrocodone Mescaline Morphine Peyote Cocaine Psilocybin Methadone Marijuana Amphetamine
T.O.C. next page prev page

The DUI Charges

Q.

How can I be charged with DUI if

the police don’t know my BAC yet?

A. Police must have a factual basis to file DUI charges. However, the BAC result is often not necessary to fulfill this requirement. The reason for this is that the DUI statute actually allows for charges where there is no BAC result – for example when someone refuses to submit to testing.  This portion of the statute requires what is known as “General Impairment”. It is based upon a subjective standard that you are under the influence of alcohol to the extent that you cannot drive safely. This standard is met by the police officer testifying regarding her observations of your driving behavior, field sobriety test results and any other signs of intoxication that she may have observed (the odor of alcohol, red eyes etc.). The officer can then testify that based upon all of her observations of the above, and based upon her training and experience, you were under the influence to the extent that you could not drive safely. Thus, the police officer can file the initial charges based upon this “general impairment” portion of the DUI statute and add the DUI section regarding your specific BAC at the preliminary hearing when the BAC testing results are available.

Q.

Can I be charged with DUI for

driving with a legally prescribed

medication in my system?

A. Yes, the DUI law provides that you can be charged with DUI for having a prescribed “controlled substance” in your system.  The definition of a “controlled substance” is set by Federal Law. “Scheduled” prescription drugs can lead to DUI charges. Examples would be narcotic pain killers, sleeping pills and many others. (See fig. 1 next page) Just because you have a prescription for a medication does not necessarily mean that you are allowed to drive while it is in your system. The legal standard for this type of DUI is that you are under the influence of a prescribed controlled substance, or combination of prescribed controlled substances, which “impairs” your ability to drive safely. It should be noted that this “impairment” standard is much lower than the “incapable of safe driving” standard which is required under the “general impairment” (alcohol) portion of the statute. Therefore, it is far easier to be convicted of driving under the influence of a prescribed medication than it is to be convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol where there is no BAC testing. Fig. 1 Some common examples of scheduled Controlled Substances under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. All Schedule I substances are illegal drugs and Schedule II and III require a valid prescription.

Q.

Can I be charged with DUI for

driving with an illegal drug in my

system?

A. Yes, the Pennsylvania DUI Statute provides that you can be charged with driving under the influence of many illegal controlled substances. These include any schedule I drug and any schedule II or III (see fig. 1) drug for which you do not have a valid prescription. The standard applied is whether you have ANY amount of a Schedule I, II or III (without valid prescription) drug in your blood at the time you are driving. Further, the DUI law provides that having ANY amount of the metabolite of any of these drugs in your blood also violates the DUI statute.  Metabolites are the substances produced by your body in breaking down these drugs.  The metabolites of some controlled substances, most notably marijuana, can remain in your system for some time. This means that the Commonwealth does not need to prove that your driving was impaired in any way. Rather, it only needs to prove that the drug, or its metabolite, was in your blood when you were driving. For example, it is possible to ingest marijuana and be charged with DUI days or even weeks later when the metabolite is still in your blood.

Q.

Can I be charged with DUI for

driving with a combination of alcohol

and drugs in my blood?

A. Yes, the DUI statute provides that DUI includes driving under the influence of a combination of drugs and alcohol. The first important factor regarding this offense is that the DUI law only requires that the combination of drugs and alcohol “impair” your ability to drive safely. Also, there is no BAC requirement for this part of the statute. Thus, any amount of alcohol combined with drugs can lead to charges. Further, under this portion of the DUI statute it does not matter whether or not the drug in your system was legally prescribed to you or not. This means that as long as the combination of alcohol and drugs “impairs” your ability to drive safely you have committed DUI – even if the drug in question was one that was prescribed to you by a doctor.  It is also important to know that this statute uses the words “drugs” as opposed to using the words “controlled substances” as it does in other parts of the statute.  This means that you can be charged even if you have prescribed drugs in your blood other than those in Schedule I, II or III. A few examples would be Xanax and Valium which are Schedule IV drugs.  Finally, it is also possible to be charged with DUI for a combination of alcohol and non-Scheduled, or even non- prescription, drugs if they have the effect of “impairing” your ability to drive safely when taken with alcohol.

Q.

Can I be charged with DUI for

driving with a non-prescription drug

in my system?

A. Yes, the DUI statute provides that DUI includes driving under the influence of ANY “drug” that “impairs” your ability to drive safely. This could potentially include many over the counter medications if it can be proven that the amount in your blood “impaired” your ability to drive safely. Examples would be drugs such as some antihistamines, cough medications and other medications that might make you drowsy or less alert. This type of charge is very case specific. The amount of non- prescription medications in your system, and their effects, will vary from medication to medication. Further, having a combination of these types of medications might have more of an effect than one alone.  Only an experienced Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer can review the specific facts of your case to determine if there is a legal basis for the charges.
Pittsburgh Driving Under The Influence of Marijuana DUI under the influence of prescribed medication Pittsburgh DUI drugs
For a Free DUI Consultation Call or Text me on my Cell Phone 24/7  412-216-4984
Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer George Heym accepts all credit cards
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Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer George Heym 

Former DUI Prosecutor!

Exclusively Defending DUI Cases!