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What to do to prevent police mistake my learning disability for me being on drugs and driving?

Calabasas, CA |

Last summer I was arrested for DUI when I wasn't under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They took a breath test and got a 0.00, then the police mistaked me for being on drugs and made me take a drug test. Test came back negative and case was rejected. The reason why they thought I was on drugs was because of my learning disability high functioning autism or asperger syndrome. Now I have a note from my regional center counselor that explains my disability. My question is that now that I have a note that explains my situation how can it protect me from being rearrested and hypathetically lets say I have to take medication or medical marijuana and drive days after taking the drug and get pulled over. Are the cops allowed to drug test me since my note explains why I might seem impared?

I understand that as a condition of me driving I need to take a blood breath or urine and that I have the right to refuse FST and PAS (over 21). I just want to prevent a misunderstanding so I don't get in trouble for doing something I didn't do. I got pulled over again this summer, but I showed the cop my letter and he let me go with no furthur questioning. I just want to make sure that either I don't get in trouble for something I didn't do or can avoid being arrested and also I read that a DRE can not examine those with a medical condition. Mine is similar. What I don't want is if I need to take medication and am not impared and take it days later to have them mistake me for being on drugs just cause of my behavior. Theres no case, just looking for more info.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. I would carry that letter with you at all times. Hopefully the police, if they stop you, will afford you the courtesy of reading the letter. However you may still get stopped and investigated if the police believe there is probable cause to believe your driving while impaired. Because, in the end, such a determination is essentially subjective, it's very hard to establish a violation. (Each situation is different and must be examined on its facts to determine if the police acted reasonably.)

  2. Let's be clear: no matter what diagnosis and disability you have, you do not have a legal right to drive under the influence of marijuana, medical, religious, prescribed, advised, or otherwise. Thinking that you have acquired that right will get you into a lot of grief and legal jeopardy. There is not one cop out there on the road that can be persuaded that you have that right, and there is no letter you can carry that will be persuasive (or correct) on that point.

    You may also be operating under some misconceptions about your rights to refuse a B/A if a cop pulls you over for observed driving impairment, but I will leave that issue to the DUI experts here.

    It is important to know that a disability is not a pass or bullet-proof shield against enforcement of the laws. If your meds put you under the influence to the extent of a driving impairment, you may need to avoid driving, plain and simple. No one injured on the road gives a damn that the person who crippled them was impaired because the medication -- much less the mj -- was medically advised.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

  3. I practice in Florida. However I agree with the attorneys who have responded to your question. First, I hope you are not continuously stopped. I agree that you should keep your note with you in case you are. The legality of the basis of a stop is determined case by case. If your medications cause impairment your note may not help you avoid a conviction. In FL, a disability of any kind can result in a driver being referred to a medical review board that determines whether a drivers license should be cancelled or revoked if the disability renders the driver unfit to drive. You should consult an attorney in your state to discuss the issue. Marijuana is not legal in FL.

  4. Carry the note (or a copy of it) with you at all time.
    Drive carefully.

    You have no right to drive using medication that makes you unable to drive safely, even if it is prescribed or even simply over the counter. If the medication actually makes it safer for you to drive than without it, having an advance note from your doctors to that effect would be a good idea.

    You are probably right to refuse the FSTs. They are not designed for people to pass them even without any impairment. You can't perform on a FST such that an officer will say "You pass. Thank you. You may go now."

    If any answer on AVVO helps you, mine or someone else’s, please mark it as "helpful" or "best answer" to help AVVO know which answers to show others.
    Thank you.

    --- Experienced DUI/DWI/OWI/Drunk Driving Lawyer in Madison, Wisconsin

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    --- Ten Days to Save Your License - Administrative Suspension and Refusals in Madison (Dane County) Wisconsin

    You have a difficult situation.

    Confidential information should not be disclosed in this Internet forum. I am a Wisconsin lawyer. The laws in each jurisdiction can be very different. I cannot give legal advice over the internet nor can I establish an attorney client relationship with you. You should NOT assume or otherwise conclude that there is an attorney -client relationship between any reader and this writer or his firm. These comments are only guideposts. They are not subject to any privilege protections. Indeed, these internet communications are neither privileged nor confidential. Accordingly, those using this form of communication need to be guarded in what they write. Because of the nature of these communications the information is general only and should not be relied upon in any specific case. This internet site is public forum, where the communications are not confidential or privileged. There may very well be merit to your defense or position in this type of situation. However, there are hardly sufficient details for an attorney to provide you with some path to follow. It is imperative that ALL of the facts in a particular situation be examined. No conclusion can be drawn from the communication that you have provided. There are some matters that are just better handled by an attorney familiar with the procedures of the courts in your area. Most, if not all, legal matters should not be handled via internet communication. At best, the responders on this site can give you a few hints and guidance. To deal with a legal problem, nothing is better than to consult with a lawyer who will give you some time and advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, there should be agencies in your area that can provide discounted, or even free, legal services. Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin Talking to the Police - Advice from Lawyers and Police:

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