Interviewer: If the drugs were part of the person’s prescription, does that mean that the case is going to be a lot easier?
Sam Sachs: It depends on what it is. If it’s an antacid they’re okay, if it’s a painkiller they may have a real problem. If it’s a tranquilizer they may have a real problem. Anti-depressants are a huge problem because people take them and they don’t mix well with alcohol. Some people have extremely bad reactions in so far as being able to operate vehicles or even walk. When they have one beer or one glass of wine while taking their anti-depressants, unfortunately some are foolishly told by their doctors, “Ah, it may be okay to have one drink occasionally.” However, they aren’t told it’s OK to drive.
Prescription Drugs Combined With Alcohol Cause Different Levels of Impairment for Different People
The labels on the bottle say, “Do not consume with alcohol” yet the doctor says, “Well you’re on anti-depressants and people have a glass of wine now and again it’s okay.” I know that because I hear that over and over again, but the doctors don’t say and “it’s okay to drive.” People just make that leap and only remember that the doctor said, “I could have a glass of alcohol every once in a while.” I’ve seen people on anti-depressants have one glass of alcohol that are not able to walk without falling into a wall. Other people can, but it depends on how it affects them.
Diversionary Programs Are Not Available to First Time Drug Related DUI Offenders
Interviewer: If it was the first time it happened to someone what is more than likely going to happen? Are there any first offender programs available?
Sam Sachs: There is nothing in the law that requires intensive treatment. What happens is you lose your license for varying periods of time. Depending on the circumstances, if you hurt somebody you might end up in jail. If it’s more than a first offense you’re going to be sentenced to jail, on a second or third offense. There’s no provision for rehabilitation and there is no first offenders treatment for DUIs and there are no plea bargains.
In Case of a Conviction, the Defendant Will Lose Their Driver’s License
You’re going to lose your license if you’re convicted. You’re going to have to go to a program called the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center where they screen people that have habitual problems. They can force you to go to 16 weeks of counseling, but they’re not looking to rehabilitate you, they are looking to punish you and take money from you. There are going to be fines and costs and there are going to be surcharges of $1,000 a year for 3 years just like with alcohol DUIs.
The Ignition Interlock Device Checks the System for Alcohol, it Cannot Detect Drug Usage
Interviewer: What about something like an ignition interlock device, are they going suggest something similar to that?
Sam Sachs: That’s interesting because you’re supposed to get an ignition interlock that checks for alcohol. The legislature sometimes doesn’t think these things through. Someone stoned out of their mind on pot, on a second offense, has to get an ignition interlock. What does that have to do with weed?