Prescription for arrest

April 27, 2012


If you get stopped and the officer starts asking you what medications you are on then you should immediately realize that your “ordinary” traffic stop has began to morph into something more.  What it is morphing into is a DWI arrest.


The Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program is the government’s latest craze in DWI arrests.  If you are taking any prescription medication and the officer finds that out you will likely be arrested for DWI.  


Unfortunately, under the existing law, the government does not have to prove that the active ingredient in your prescription is present in your system to convict you.  The active ingredient is the ingredient that relieves your pain or symptoms.  Instead, the government can convict you based on the metabolites of that active ingredient.  The metabolite - for a general understanding - is simply the waste product created when the active ingredient is processed and broken down by your body.  Simply put, it’s the food container your lunch came in after you ate your lunch.


The DRE program is the closest thing we have to strict liability in DWI law.  The burden of overcoming the governments assertions that the broken down chemicals could still cause you to be impaired takes time, knowledge, and skill.  If you get stopped and the officer begins asking you about prescription medications then it is time to tell him  you will not answer anymore questions without a lawyer present.  Do not admit to taking any kind of prescription medication, but do not lie either.  Remain silent and call me.  I will advise you the best way to proceed.