DUI Case Entirely Dismissed Due to Toxicology Knowledge
Here is a case where a knowledge of "pharmacokinetics" was essential to the outcome. "Pharmacokinetics" is the study of what happens to drugs in the body after they have been ingested. Our client was stopped when he made a wrong turn onto a one-way street. The officer claimed to smell alcohol on his breath, but after his arrest, our client's breath tested at .000.
The arrest occurred around 1:30am. At about 4am, after testing negative for alcohol, our client was asked if he had any drugs in his system. He truthfully stated that he had taken his prescription medication that morning. What he meant was that he took his meds nearly 24 hours previously.
The officer wrote in his report that our client admitted that he had taken prescription medication "while he was drinking," on the morning of his arrest (i.e. after midnight that night). That's a lot different from saying he took his medication nearly a day earlier.
When the urinalysis results came back from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, they were entirely negative for his medications or for any metabolites from his medications. So what gives? Tom knew that the half-life of our clients' prescriptions was about 17 hours. So if the officer was right, and our man took his meds shortly before he was arrested, they would still be present in his system.
The officer had engaged in wishful thinking. When our client said he took his meds "this morning," the officer filled in the blanks with what he wanted to be true--that our client was mixing pills with drinking. But the lab results showed otherwise, and when the lab results were explained to the State Attorney's office, the case was dismissed.
Result? One happy client. Pharmacology and toxicology are just part of the training required for a lawyer to become a board-certified as a DUI Defender by the National College for DUI Defense. They are subjects in which Tom often advises other attorneys. He helps to teach them to DUI lawyers as a Faculty Member of the Summer Session of the College, held every July at Harvard Law School.
Practice area(s): DUI / DWI
Court: Manatee County Court