An estimated 30 million individuals in the United States take a nightly sleep aid such as Ambien. While these powerful drugs can assist you with falling and staying asleep, they can also lead to “sleep events.” While the most common sleep events are sleep talking, sleepwalking, and sleep eating, Ambien takers have also been known to engage in the dangerous activity of sleep driving. Not only can sleep driving cause serious accidents and injuries but it can also result in the driver suddenly waking up in jail with no recollection of how they got there.
Charges of DUID
Driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) is against the law in Colorado–and every other state for that matter. Many different types of illegal and prescription drugs can lead to DUID charges and sleep aids are no different. Sleep medications that may lead to sleep driving and DUID arrests include the following:
Unlike many defendants who drove under the influence of drugs, defendants in cases involving Ambien generally have no intention of violating the law. They simply have no control over their actions while they are on the sleep aids.
Does the “Ambien defense” work?
Courts across the country have come to different conclusions regarding using Ambien as a defense against DUID. For example, last year, a jury found Kerry Kennedy–son of the late Senator Robert Kennedy–not guilty after she took Ambien and was later involved in an accident. However, a few years before, Patrick Kennedy–the son of late Senator Ted Kennedy–was convicted after crashing his car on Ambien.
Many people try to claim that because DUID requires a voluntary unlawful action, they should not be held responsible for sleep driving. However, many Colorado judges have ruled that taking Ambien is itself a voluntary action and, therefore, so are the results of taking the drug. For this reason, the “involuntary act” defense does not work in many Ambien cases. Judges assert that anyone taking Ambien or other sleep aids should be well aware of the potential side effects of the drugs including sleep driving or other activities.
In most situations, the decision whether to find a person guilty of driving under the influence of Ambien will be up to the jury. You always want a defense attorney on your side who knows how to present an aggressive and convincing defense in Ambien cases.
Contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer in Denver if you are facing charges
The consequences of DUID can be severe in Colorado, especially if your sleep driving episode caused accidents and injuries to others. Even if you have no recollection of ever getting behind the wheel, you may end up facing possible fines, suspension of your driver’s license, time in jail, and more. Your first call should be to an experienced DUI defense attorney who has extensive knowledge of drugged driving laws in our state and of all applicable defense. Call the Tiftickjian Law Firm to discuss the details of your case at 303-DUI-5280 as soon as possible.