Salt Lake City, UT- What was supposed to be a fun field trip for a group of elementary school students, nearly ended in accident Monday and resulted in driving under the influence charges for a Utah bus driver taking a list of prescription drugs. Which gives rise to the question: prescription drugs and dui?
Police say Lycia Martinez was on several different prescription drugs when she began driving erratically on a busy Utah highway, nearly crashing into two vehicles. Witnesses said she was unable to maintain her lane and was weaving all over the road. An adult chaperone on the bus became so concerned about Martinez’s driving they called 911 to rescue them and the 67 children on the bus, CBS News reported.
Martinez, 39, was pulled over by a patrol car forty miles after the trip began, and was charged with suspicion of driving under the influence. According to reports, Martinez was taking several prescriptions including anxiety medications and muscle relaxants.
None of the students were injured and another driver took them to their destination.
“We really dodged a bullet,” Utah State Police Sgt. Blaine Robbins told The Associated Press.
Martinez was placed on administrative leave until the investigation is concluded. She is presumed innocent until she appears in court. If the DUI allegations are true, Martinez is like many people who don’t realize that having a prescription for a drug doesn’t mean you can’t be charged for driving under the influence.
Driving under the influence of prescription drugs is not technically illegal since there are scores of medications that have no mind-altering affects or cause a driver to be impaired. However, there are of people who take prescriptions that can cause mental and physical impairment, making a motorist unable to drive safely or react appropriately in a hazardous situation.
A recent study by the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) found that the number of drugged drivers using more than one drug, nearly doubled in over the past 20 years, increasing from 11.5 percent in 1993 to 21.5 percent in 2010.
“In 1993, about 1 in 8 drivers were using multiple drugs concurrently. By 2010, it was closer to 1 in 5. That’s a large increase in drug use,” study author Fernando Wilson, PhD, said.
In Utah, if you are convicted of driving under the influence you could spend time behind bars, lose your driver’s license and be required to pay costly fines. What’s more, a conviction will go on your criminal record and will stay there for years. This will affect your education, your career and can even make it difficult to rent.
If you are up against DUI charges involving prescription drugs, you need an attorney working aggressively to provide you with an unbeatable defense that will help you avoid conviction. Salt Lake City DUI attorney Scott Drunyon will fight for you and do what it takes to ensure you keep your freedom. His experience as prosecuting attorney and a criminal defense attorney will give you the leverage you need to avoid conviction.
Any person who drives for a living needs and aggressive Utah DUI attorney working in their defense strategy.