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DUI by Ambien® – Sleep Driving

Did you realize that you may commit the crime of driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI) even if you are taking medication prescribed by your physician.  Once again, the national media has brought attention to the public about people who “sleep drive.”

In mid July, 2012, Kerry Kennedy was arrested in New York after crashing her vehicle which some reported was caused by Ambien® induced sleep driving.  U.S. commerce Secretary John Bryson suffered a similar incident in June, 2012.

These two incidents made the news because of who was driving the vehicle, but many people have reported sleep driving, sleep eating, and other actions.  This term means that people drive or eat without knowing it and have no memory of their conduct after their actions.  ABC TV news presented a story on the same issue.

In a July 14, 2012 article published by Forbes magazine, it is noted that the FDA require the manufacturer of Ambien® to warn the 39 million people who take the drug that it may cause them to eat, have sex, or drive, without them being aware of their actions.

This effect seems to occur more often when Ambien® is used in combination with alcohol.  Nonetheless, with or without alcohol, driving under the influence of this intoxicant remains a criminal offense even if the person taking this drug is not aware of what they are doing.  In other words, no legal defense exists, at least in Tennessee and other states, because of this unexpected side effect.

Tennessee law states that, ultimately, the risk of driving under the influence remains with the driver.  People who take Ambien® should take special precautions to ensure they will not be driving until they have regained their full mental capacity. for more information about Tennessee drugged driving, sleep driving, DUI by prescribed medication or DUI by drugs, you may contact Steve Oberman.

About Steve Oberman

Steve Oberman
Since graduating from the University of Tennessee Law School in 1980, Mr. Oberman has become established as a national authority on the intricacies of DUI defense law. Steve is a former Dean of the National College for DUI Defense, co-author of a national treatise ("Drunk Driving Defense" published by Aspen/Wolters-Kluwer), and author of "DUI: The Crime and Consequences in Tennessee" (published by Thomson-Reuters/West). He has taught thousands of lawyers, judges, and members of the general public about the intricacies of this crime. Steve was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to teach at the University of Latvia School of Law in 2019. As a Tennessee DUI attorney, Mr. Oberman has successfully defended over two thousand clients charged with Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and/or drugs. In 2006, Mr. Oberman became the first DUI lawyer in Tennessee to be recognized by the National College for DUI Defense as a Board Certified Specialist in the area of DUI Defense law.

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