Sleep Driving DUI
In Nevada, you can be charged with DUI or other criminal charges, even if you’re not conscious or awake at all. There are many causes for these circumstances, but this time, we’ll concentrate on the particulars when it involves hypnotic substances or drugs like Ambien & Lunesta.
The reasoning behind the charge
There are many legitimate reasons for this charge even though it may seem unfair. The following are the usual arguments used by the prosecution:
- Anyone who consumes substances that can affect a driver’s ability can be charged with DUI.
- The effects and potential side effects of the drug is clearly written on the packaging, therefore, it is implied that the defendant should not consume the medication in important moments (like driving) because they should already know about the drug’s properties.
- To that extent, it is also implied that the defendant has followed all the instructions from the drug’s packaging or manual. Most will discourage using medicine together with alcohol consumption.
- The defendant might not be using the right amount of dosage, or could be abusing it. For example, overdosing on it, or using it when it is not necessary. Usually, these hypnotic substances are reserved for people who have trouble sleeping, and some of the much more powerful drugs are for those with serious cases of insomnia.
Defending against the charge
The prosecution has several valid arguments, but it has to fulfill the following conditions:
- The fact that the act has to be voluntary. If the defendant was acting without their conscious consent, then they should not be held liable for the crime. The reasoning is similar to autonomous defense.
- The fact that the defendant was unaware. No one should be convicted if the defendant was unaware because it also implies that they could not have given their consent.
To a good criminal defense attorney, there’s a good chance of the charges being dropped if:
- The defendant usually drives responsibly, and certain circumstances that can support this idea. An example of this is the defendant having an important project the next day; most can expect that they’ll be going home early and not intoxicated.
- Someone spiked their drink. It’s quite possible that someone added drugs or alcohol to the defendant’s drink when they left it unattended.
- The defendant was following the instructions, consuming the medicine, and then went to bed. Somehow, they ended up driving unaware. This is one of the side effects of powerful medicine like Ambien in which people started sleep walking, sleep eating, and even sleep driving.
- If you took the medication, then went to bed and for some reason, you ended up driving.
- The defendant may have an unknown allergic reaction to the medicine, which amplified its effects.
If you need help and have been convicted of DUI especially if you believe they were mistaken, please contact a DUI defense attorney for a legal counsel.