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Ambien is one of the most commonly-used prescription sleep aids, but it can also lead to DUI charges. A Florida DUI Ambien lawyer can provide you with legal help if you have been arrested due to accusations of using Ambien before operating a motor vehicle.  

Katz & Phillips, P.A. has defended many clients accused of driving under the influence of Ambien. Every case is different, so give us a call to learn about how we can custom-tailor our representation to the specifics of your case. Our attorneys will provide insight into the representation we offer and will answer questions you may have including:

  • Can I really be convicted of DUI for using Ambien?
  • What kinds of DUI defenses are available for an Ambien DUI charge in Florida?
  • How Can a Florida DUI Ambien lawyer help?

Can an Ambien DUI Attorney Help Me Avoid Conviction in Florida?

Florida’s DUI laws prohibit driving while impaired by alcohol or controlled substances. Although the active ingredient in Ambien is not specifically listed as a controlled substance, defendants have been charged with the crime of DUI for using the sleep aid.  If you do not defend yourself, you could potentially be found guilty and lose your license. A DUI arrest can also trigger administrative action that can lead to the loss of your license if you do not act quickly to fight for your right to drive. 

You should not take these charges lightly, as an Ambien DUI conviction could change your life. You could face jail time and a possible criminal record, as well as fines and high insurance costs. Call a Florida Ambien DUI lawyer right away if you are charged so your attorney can help explore ways to defend yourself and fight against a guilty verdict.

Understanding Ambien and Its Effects on Driving

Ambien, known generically as zolpidem, is a widely prescribed medication for treating insomnia. Its primary function is to facilitate sleep by acting on the brain’s GABA receptors, inducing a state of sedation. However, this sedation affects more than just the sleep-wake cycle. It can significantly impair cognitive and motor functions, which are critical for safe driving.

Ambien’s impact on cognitive abilities is profound. It can lead to decreased alertness, slowed reaction times, and impaired judgment. These effects can be particularly hazardous when operating a vehicle, as quick decision-making and attentiveness are essential for safe driving. Users may experience memory lapses or a state of confusion, further exacerbating the risks.

In terms of motor skills, Ambien may cause drowsiness, decreased muscle coordination, and a general weakening of motor reflexes. This impairment can result in a driver’s inability to control the vehicle effectively, increasing the risk of accidents.

Risks of Driving Under the Influence of Ambien

Driving under the influence of Ambien poses serious risks, not only to the driver but also to others on the road. The sedative effects of Ambien can be likened to alcohol intoxication in terms of their impact on driving abilities. There have been instances where individuals, under the influence of Ambien, have been involved in traffic accidents without any memory of the event, a phenomenon often referred to as “sleep driving.”

What Kinds of DUI Defenses Are Available for an Ambien DUI?

When facing a DUI charge in Florida due to the influence of Ambien, there are several defense strategies that can be employed. These defenses focus on the specific characteristics of Ambien and its effects on the body, as well as the circumstances under which the alleged impairment occurred.

  • Timing of Ingestion Relative to Driving: One of the primary defenses is to argue that the Ambien was taken a significant amount of time before driving. This defense hinges on the fact that while Ambien can stay in the system for an extended period, its impairing effects may diminish over time. If it can be demonstrated that enough time had elapsed between ingestion and driving, such that the drug’s sedative effects had substantially worn off, this could be a compelling argument against impairment at the time of driving.
  • Lack of Observable Impairment: Another angle is to challenge the assertion of impairment itself. This could involve presenting evidence that the individual’s behavior and motor skills did not exhibit the typical signs of impairment associated with Ambien. Evidence might include witness testimonies, surveillance footage, or other documentation showing the defendant’s activities and behavior before being stopped by law enforcement.

Defense Related to Unconsciousness or Sleep Driving

Ambien is known to cause complex behaviors while asleep, such as sleepwalking or even sleep driving, where an individual engages in these activities without conscious awareness. In these cases, the defense could argue that the defendant was not knowingly or willingly operating the vehicle due to this side effect. This argument requires a strong evidentiary basis, possibly including medical expert testimony about the effects of Ambien and how it can lead to such unconscious behaviors.

How Can a Florida Ambien DUI Law Firm Help?

Katz & Phillips, P.A. helps those who have been accused of all types of impaired driving offenses. Our attorneys have worked prosecuting DUIs so we understand the law from both sides. We’ve now dedicated our careers to fighting for accused defendants.

Our legal team includes lawyers Board Certified in DUI defense and lawyers who are members of the National College of DUI defense. We have unparalleled knowledge of how to handle DUI charges and we’ll be there with you at every step of your case to develop a legal strategy.

To learn more about the specific legal services we can offer you, give us a call today.