Driving Precautions to Take while Taking Ambien

Driving Precautions to Take while Taking AmbienOperating a Motor Vehicle While Taking Ambien in Washington

Millions of people across the country take the sleep aid Ambien, as prescribed by their physician, to help them sleep at night; however, one of the dangerous side effects of Ambien is “unconsciously” performing tasks, after taking the drug and falling asleep. The person takes Ambien and falls asleep, but he or she does not remain in bed. The person may get up and performs tasks such as making a meal, going shopping, watching television, or driving a vehicle. The next morning the person has no memory of the events during the night.

Is Sleep Driving Illegal?

The Food and Drug Administration defines sleep driving as “driving while not fully awake after ingestion of a sedative-hypnotic product, with no memory of the event.” Driving under the influence of drugs is illegal in Washington. Most people assume this means “illegal” drugs but this is not the case.

Even though you are taking a legally prescribed sleep aid, if you sleep drive while under the influence of Ambien, you can be charged with DUI in Washington. You can face the same penalties for sleep driving while taking Ambien as you can for driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.

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If I’m prescribed Ambien, what precautions should I take? What if I am pulled over and I’m given a breathalyzer test?

If you are taking Ambien, always take the prescribed dose and follow all of your doctor’s instructions. Purposefully taking more than the prescribed dose or failing to follow the instructions for taking the medication (i.e. not drinking alcohol) may result in being charged with a DUI.

If you are pulled over and you realize what is happening, provide the officer with your information.  Even though our observed impairment may be from the drug ambien,

the officer may request you to take a breath test.   Be sure to take this test as ambien will not register on the breath test and Under Washington’s implied consent law, you consent to a breathalyzer test, as a condition of obtaining a driver’s license and driving in Washington. If you choose to refuse to take the breath test, your driver’s license will be revoked for one year, and your refusal may be used against you in court.  If the officer sees you don’t register on a breath test, he may try to get a search warrant for your blood to test for drugs including ambien.  If the officer gets a search warrant you will have no choice whether to submit to a blood test.  Since there is no measurable amount of ambien in your system that presumes your intoxicated, the attorneys at the law offices of Barbara Bowden will have a lot of defenses to work with.

My office can help you fight the Ambien DUI charge but you should contact my office as soon as possible following your arrest. Invoking your right to remain silent and requesting your attorney is usually in your best interest if you are arrested for DUI.

Experienced Washington DUI Attorney

Driving under the influence of drugs carries the same penalties and minimum sentencing requirements as driving under the influence of alcohol. If you have been charged with DUI while taking the prescription medicine Ambien, contact The Law Offices of Barbara A. Bowden immediately. You may have valid legal defenses that could result in the dismissal of the charges or mitigate the consequences of a conviction.

Contact our office by phone or online to schedule an appointment. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help begin working on a DUI defense strategy to keep you out of jail and driving your vehicle.

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