Xanax (alprazolam) is a commonly prescribed anti-anxiety drug by doctors and classified as a Central Nervous System Depressant like alcohol. According to a Waff.com report, the drug is a major concern as it continues to be the cause of a rise in DUI cases in Alabama. Experts say that except for the odor, anyone impaired by Xanax will exhibit the same symptoms as alcohol. The major question is how does law enforcement determine if motorists are impaired if they have consumed Xanax.
Xanax surpasses marijuana in leading causes of DUI cases
For the most part, Alabama’s roadways now have more drivers impaired by Xanax than marijuana, according to data from the Alabama Department of Forensics. Driving under the influence of controlled substances has increased significantly with Alabama being ranked at the top in prescribed drugs, which only adds to the risk of accidents. This is a problem that could get only worse.
Alcohol or drugs, it does not matter what that driver has running through their system. If you have been a victim of a sloppy and selfish driver, USAttorneys.com has sterling attorneys that are ready to rectify this situation and you can expect to find one in Calera AL.
Florence police officer Shane Blalock says there is no significant difference between drivers who may be impaired by Xanax or alcohol except the impairment in motor functions and the ability to walk and talk. These are indicators that troopers look for in any DUI suspect. According to Blalock, it is still mandatory for a standard breath test to be conducted. However, blood tests are routine if the officers concerned suspect that a driver has used a controlled substance.
Dependence on toxicology reports
For the most part, toxicology reports play a major role in the prosecution of DUI cases according to the Lauderdale County District Attorney’s office. What prosecutors look for is if the suspect has been using drugs like Xanax for recreational purposes or has abused the recommended level of therapeutic use. One of the classic examples was the recent case of Rogersville man, Matthew Ray Tidwell who was indicted on manslaughter and assault charges after a fatal DUI crash that killed his 7 year old daughter.
Tidwell ran his vehicle off the road in Lauderdale County while driving impaired. His indictment took four months due to a delay in the toxicology report caused by a forensics backlog. He is alleged to have used Xanax and codeine at the time of the accident.
According to an Al.com report, Xanax was also the cause of a fatal crash in 2012 that killed the 24 year old former high school softball star Emily Day. Athens woman Caren Gayle Rush was convicted of manslaughter at the end of 2014 for the accident. Since 2011, Xanax has pushed marijuana to third place in the leading cause of impaired driving in the state although alcohol remains the major cause for DUI related offenses.
Hire an Alabama DUI attorney
If you or your loved one has been arrested and charged with a DUI it is important to seek legal counsel from an experienced and aggressive Calera DUI attorney. Being arrested for a DUI in Alabama will lead to both administrative and criminal penalties and the penalties are assessed depending on various factors. Administrative penalties include suspension of the driver’s license for 90 days in the case of first time DUI offenders. In addition, the court may mandate substance or alcohol assessment and treatment.
Criminal penalties for first time offenders include a maximum prison sentence of 1 year and fines ranging from $600 to $1,200 in addition to other fees. Most notably, according to Calera AL DUI attorneys, a DUI conviction will remain on the offender’s record for five years and could have an impact on any future DUIs.