While it doesn’t happen often, a few of our clients have experienced the terrifying sensation of awakening in a jail cell, holding a crumpled DUI ticket in their hands…and not knowing how they ever got there. Sitting there, all they remember is taking their prescription medications and going to bed.

Unfortunately, certain prescriptions—especially sleep medications and psychiatric drugs like anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, or other nerve pills—can cause unexpected side effects, resulting in a harrowing night you can’t remember and a DUI charge.

How can you have a defense when you don’t remember that night? You may be able to present the rare defense of involuntary intoxication, but you’ll need a skilled DUI defense lawyer to do it right.

The Challenge of Involuntary Intoxication Defense

Believe it or not, involuntary intoxication uses the same legal standard as an insanity defense: you must prove the accidental overdose or medication side effect caused you to lose the ability to tell the difference between right and wrong. To put it in plain terms, the defense is that you were out of your mind when you drove that night, through no fault of your own.

This will probably require a doctor—preferably your own—to testify the side effect caused you to lose the ability to tell you were impaired and shouldn’t drive.

Here’s another reason to have a talented lawyer in your corner: the State can contest your defense. And just because you present an expert to testify doesn’t mean the State has to do the same. The prosecutor will probably offer testimony from the police officer who arrested you and maybe other witnesses that you seemed to understand what you were doing at the time. But the prosecution could bring in its own expert, too.

Don’t Give Up—It May Not Be As Hard As You Think

While it’s challenging to present, involuntary intoxication as a defense to DUI can be successful. You just need a lawyer with experience in this unique DUI defense. And it may be your lawyer can so convincingly present the defense way before trial, even at your first hearing on the ticket, that the State may be willing to give you a plea offer you can live with, preventing the time, anguish, and expense of a trial. Read how we used this defense to achieve dismissal of a DUI with a plea to reduced charges in a case where our client got arrested twice in the same night.

If you’ve been stopped for DUI or DUAC and don't know why, call us immediately toll free at 888.230.1841 for a free meeting to start contesting the reason you got charged.


Rob Usry
Connect with me
Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a workers' compensation attorney.