Prescription Drugs and Accidental Offenses
What happens when you commit a crime but do not remember even committing it because you were so inebriated by a legally prescribed medication that you took? While all of the details are not yet clear, a scenario in which this may have occurred played out recently when an 18-year-old Florida man was found walking down the street naked. He had been involved in a traffic collision and fled the scene without clothes, according to Oxygen. He then attempted to enter a parked police vehicle, found that the door was locked, so broke off the handle in frustration, then urinated on it. After that, he continued walking down the street, completely naked, until a police officer confronted him. When the man attempted to get into the driver’s door of the police car, he was arrested, then began violently kicking the door, which caused an estimated $1,700 in total damage to the two squad cars. He was arrested and charged with felony criminal mischief and misdemeanor criminal mischief, while further charges may be pending upon investigation of the crash he was involved in. However, something about this story does not seem right. Was he suffering from a traumatic brain injury caused by the collision or was he having a bad reaction to a prescription medication?
Willfully and Knowingly
In order to commit a crime, the offender must have had knowledge or should have had knowledge that they were committing a crime or putting another’s life in danger. Additionally, the offense must be willful. For example if you injure another person accidentally, you may not be punished unless it can be proven that a reasonable person would have known that these actions would likely cause serious bodily injury or death to another. Because a criminal offense must be committed willfully and with knowledge, it can be argued that a person who was suffering from a brain injury or was legally heavily medicated should not be punished.
Prescription Drug Use While Operating a Motor Vehicle
Throughout the nation, drunk driving fatalities are slowly decreasing. However, prescription drug-caused traffic crashes are killing more and more people each year, according to the New York Times. During a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration screening survey, 16.3 percent of nighttime drivers were found to have either legal or illegal drugs in their system. While it can be argued that during the commission of a crime you were not in control of your actions because of a prescription drug that you lawfully took, it is harder to argue that you should not be held responsible for a crash or fatality that you caused while driving on prescription drugs. If you took a painkiller, muscle relaxant, anti-anxiety medication, attention deficit disorder medication, or sleep aid before driving, with the intent to go drive, you will be charged with a DUI. Only under very rare circumstances could you successfully argue that you had no control over your actions while medicated, which is the only reason you got behind the wheel.
Contact a West Palm Beach Attorney
If you were charged with a crime, call the Skier Law Firm at 561-820-1508 today. Our West Palm Beach attorneys are prepared to protect your rights and assist you throughout each step of your case.