This is the fourth installment in a continuing series about the Ambien defense as used to defeat DWI Prescription Drug charges. As you can see, the defense is available in limited circumstances. We continue this week with the legal response to the Ambien defense. Please keep in mind that this post is educational in nature and is not providing legal advice. For specific information about a criminal case you are involved in, contact the Law Office of Kimberly Griffin Tucker for a free consultation.
#3: Intent is Not an Element to a DWI Prescription Drug Charge
In Texas, a person is guilty of a DWI Prescription Drug charge if he or she drives while taking a prescription drug, over the counter drug, or illegal drug. Under the scenario examined in Part II of the post with Susannah, she would be guilty of DWI Prescription Drug in Texas. Her sleep driving while under Ambien would not beat the charge.
#4: Ambien Defense Works Best When Bodily Injury Occurs
Unfortunately, the Ambien defense works best when bodily injury occurs, even a fatality, than if you crash into a parked car or tree. Intoxication Manslaughter in Texas means a person killed another person without malice, malicious intent, or premeditation. The punishment is less severe than murder. The jail sentence, probation terms, fines, and fees are smaller.
If Susannah had struck and killed someone while sleep driving, she may be able to argue the Ambien defense as an affirmative defense to the manslaughter charges. The reason the Ambien defense applies in a situation where an individual is injured is that Texas’ intoxication manslaughter crime apples in situations where the driver voluntarily intoxicates him or herself.
Sleep driving is an unconscious and involuntary action. The person took the medication and then went to sleep. Then she woke up, drove, and struck someone while still asleep or unconscious. The person’s actions were all involuntary. In this type of scenario, a dismissal or not guilty verdict of the DWI Prescription Drug Intoxication Manslaughter charge is more likely because there was no intent on the part of the defendant to intoxicate him or herself. A plea to lesser charges to resolve the arrest may be beneficial for both sides at this point.
Every DWI Prescription Drugs Case is Unique
A good DWI Prescription Drugs defense attorney will guide you through every step of the DWI/DWAI process, from arrest and arraignment to plea or trial. At The Law Office of Kimberly Griffin Tucker, P.C., we represent people accused of DWI Prescription Drugs in the Plano and surrounding areas of Denton County Texas. If you or someone you know has been arrested for DWI Prescription Drugs, contact us for a comprehensive case evaluation.