The Challenge of Pursuing Impaired Driving Injury Claims Involving Legal Drugs
Rapper Rick Ross, founder of the Mayback Music Group, was recently arrested by Fayette County deputies on marijuana charges. Possession of marijuana is illegal in Georgia. The deputies found five joints in the car when he was pulled over near his Fayetteville mansion, according to the Atlanta Constitution-Journal (ACJ). The ACJ story also indicates that the rap mogul was initially stopped for illegal window tinting. A Fayette County Sheriff's Office spokesman reportedly told the ACJ that he smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle during the stop. While the article did not indicate whether formal charges have been filed, it did indicate that this was the rapper's fourth marijuana-related arrest.
Georgia Proactively Removes Drivers Possessing Illegal Drugs from Roadways
The prospect of drivers smoking marijuana behind the wheel is nothing short of frightening, primarily because drug intoxication can seriously impair a motorist's mental and physical driving abilities. Conviction for possession of marijuana in Georgia can result in a six month driver's license suspension for a first offense under OCGA Section 40-5-75. This statute permits suspension of a license for possession only, even if the motorist was not driving at the time of the arrest. This is due to the fact that Georgia laws are aggressive about removing drivers who use illegal drugs from our roadways.
Georgia DUI and drug possession laws provide a reasonably effective safeguard against automobile accidents caused by illicit street drugs and controlled substances, including those taken without a valid prescription. However, it is important to keep in mind that over-the-counter (OTC) medications and drugs taken pursuant to a valid prescription continue to threaten roadway safety in Georgia. Specifically, prescription and OTC drugs can adversely impact reflexes, alertness, decision-making, perception and judgment.
Challenges in Pursuing Personal Injury Claims for Impairment from Legal Drugs
When a driver disregards indications of these types of effects on warning labels or prescription documentation, this failure to heed such warnings can constitute negligent conduct justifying a personal injury claim. Although a driver can face criminal charges and civil liability for driving while impaired by prescription medications (even with a valid prescription) or OTC drugs, the process of proving that a driver is impaired is more complicated.
While every state defines a driver as being too intoxicated to drive based on a certain level of blood alcohol content, there is no defined level of particular prescription medications or OTCs under which drivers are defined as too impaired to drive. The task of proving a driver was too impaired to drive after taking these forms of lawful medications is further complicated by the fact individuals experience the effects of these drugs for different periods of time, depending on their weight, metabolism, and other factors. Since drugs can linger in the bloodstream, this also presents difficulties in terms of proving a driver was actually impaired by a legal drug at the time he or she was actually driving.
Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case!
If you or a family member has been the victim of an alcohol or drug impaired driver, our Auto Accident Attorneys guide each client through the legal process and strive to obtain the fullest compensation for them. Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located, our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.