Q: I was driving and was going around a curve and my purse fell i picked it up and my truck swiped the light post.
I had no idea i had to call since there were no other vehicles or no people involved. I went to the closest store where i found out some one behind me had called and followed me and told the cops were i was. I was then approched by 5 officers who asked what happened and i told the truth and explained i didn't know i was supposed to call. Then they did feild subrioty tests on me and arrested me for leaving the scence with property damage and dui. The dui was only my prescriptions. I am wondering do they have a case since no cop saw me driving, they didn't even see me hit the pole. Its just the witness word. And the dui my prescriptions were the only thing in my system. The only reason the cops knew i hit the light pole is from the witness behind me that followed me tilll i pulled in the store and told the cops where i was so they came there then said i looked impaired. Well i had just gone to the methadone clinic and got my dose i also get seizure meds and benzos and anxiety and seizu
A: From what you describe it appears the government WOULD have a plausible DUI "case" against you.
You have a few different questions that need answers:
1) Did the police officer have a lawful basis to make contact with you? It sounds (without further information) that the civilian witness who followed you to the store also directed the police to make contact with you about the damaged light post and/or driving pattern. The first question I'd have to answer is whether the officers' contact with you was consensual or a basis of a traffic stop. If consensual, than your 4th amendment rights wouldn't be "activated" and therefore any statements and/or observations could most likely be used by law enforcement to further its investigation and allow them to request field sobriety exercises. If it was a investigatory stop, then it would depend on the information that was relayed to them by the citizen as well as their own observations prior to conducting the stop. Regardless, civilians can generally testify as to "wheel witnesses" or whom they believe was driving based on personal observation. Civilians can also testify to abnormal driving patterns and other acceptable lay observations (speed, stumbling, manner of speech, etc...) The civilian cannot testify as to the field sobriety exercises since they are standardized and must be administered and observed in a standardized fashion. So, overall, it appears the officers would have a lawful basis to make contact with you regardless of whether its a investigatory stop or consensual encounter.
2) Can you be convicted of being impaired by prescription drugs? In the state of Florida the answer is YES. It would depend on a variety of factors. The type of drugs, the amount of drugs ingested, when were the drugs ingested, how long have you been taking the prescription drugs, are there any unintended interactions with drugs that may have been ingested, can the State prove that drugs caused impairment, etc..
Please contact a qualified DUI attorney in your area that can answer these questions in more detail after reviewing the State's discovery as well as your medical history.
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